Next stop Daytona and the Roar before the 24

Monday, January 17, 2022

With the first ‘locally’ based racing events of the year now safely behind us, we can now look forward to the first nationally based series to get under way this season as the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship (and supporting series) hold their official Roar Before the 24 Test at the Daytona International Speedway this weekend which is again just one week ahead of the season opener at the Rolex 24.

2022 will also be a very notable year for the Championship as gone have the GTLM sportscar cars from the multi-class racing entry, only to be replaced with a more sustainable form of top flight and factory assisted racing with its new GTD Pro grid that will run alongside the usual GTD Class for the Pro-Am line-ups.

Not resting upon their laurels from their IMSA Sprint Cup Championship win last year with drivers Roman de Angelis and Ross Gunn, the Heart of Racing Team has already confirmed entries for each of their Aston Martin racing V8 Vantage GTD’s into full season campaigns in both the GTD Pro and GTD classes. Each car will also make use of the services of various AMR factory drivers along the way – not just at the Rolex 24 that will again feature as the opening round of the 2022 IMSA season but also throughout the season.

Amongst a confirmed GTD Pro entry of thirteen cars will see the Heart of Racing #27 car run with drivers Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas (full season) with Maxime Martin assisting during all rounds of the Endurance Cup (including the Rolex 24) whilst in GTD, the #23 car will run with an extended driver line up of Roman de Angelis, Tom Gamble, Ian James and Darren Turner before the car reverts back to just De Angelis and Martin for the Sprint Cup season.

Joining them at Daytona will also be the latest Aston Martin recruits as the Magnus Racing team convert to the AMR Vantage GTD platform for what has been indicated so far as an Endurance Cup only programme. Again running the usual Magnus crew of John Potter, Andy Lally with new recruit Spencer Pompelly, they will be joined at the Roar and the Rolex 24 with Le Mans winner and multiple British GT Champion Jonny Adam to help them along the way.

Having already tested at the Daytona circuit upon receipt of their new car in early December, the Roar will be a much-needed test platform and performance comparison for the team ahead of the actual season opener the following weekend.

Finally, but certainly by no means least we had the rather late confirmation of the attendance at the Roar and Rolex 24 of the #98 Northwest Racing AMR Vantage GTD with drivers Paul Dalla Lana, David Pittard, Charlie Eastwood and Nicki Thiim behind the wheel.

Serving as another precursor event ahead of the team’s World Endurance Championship commitments this season (that start after the next IMSA round at Sebring in early March), this is a driver line up marked with full intent to succeed.

All cars and drivers across the capacity 61 car Dpi / LMP2 / LMP3 / GTD Pro / GTD classes are of course mandated by IMSA Sporting Regulations to be present and indeed enter lap times at the Roar test, so in only a few days we will be getting out first glimpse of these beasts as teams jockey up in the later Qualifying Race on Sunday to determine the starting order for the Rolex 24 next weekend. 

Unfortunately however, it does appear that the Vantage GTD platform has been made much heavier that before with an expected 30kg addition to its declared BoP base weight going into this weekend.

Photo credits – CSJ Motorsport / F Lagunas / Teams

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