Simple errors cost Heart of Racing dear at Laguna Seca

Monday, May 02, 2022


The IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championships second visit to the west coast of America this weekend didn’t prove to be so successful for the Heart of Racing team as early pace petered out into something of a procession by the end of the fourth round of the season from the Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Having taken their maiden GTD Pro class win with their #23 car last time out at Long Beach as well as being on track for a GTD podium finish (until a Safety Car restart claimed the #27 car), their early pace around the dusty, undulating circuit of Laguna Seca looked promising for the team as both the Ross Gunn/Alex Riberas and Roman de Angelis/Maxime Martin cars took early top spot positions in class during the Qualifying session for yesterday’s one hundred and sixty minute race.

Eventually settling for third in GTD Pro and fourth in GTD, it was left to Riberas and De Angelis respectively to push their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTD cars forward during the early stages of the race.

Battling around a track already difficult to pass around, any wide turn would be instantly punished with soft sand and gravel ready to ‘welcome’ the cars or ruin the tyres making the balance between a fine pass and being stuck off track a fine one.

With this time a clean opening lap, Riberas was comfortably able to secure his third spot in class whilst De Angelis swiftly made his way up to order to run P3 in class by the end of the opening twenty minutes but trouble for some was again not too far away.

With the second placed Mercedes AMG GT3 becoming a victim of their own accident, smashing into the wall going up the hill and into T6, the resulting Safety Car period forced the hand of many to pit – certainly for fuel, more if they needed but with the two Heart of Racing cars amongst those who dashed for their pit boxes at the first opportunity.

A loose tyre from the #23 cars in front however – collected by the #27 car on its way back onto track lead to an unforced drive through penalty for the Canadian which resulted in them losing their P3 slot to him eventually emerging back in eleventh.

With Riberas now effectively ‘stuck’ P5 in class and De Angelis having made up just two places with just an hour to go, it was time for both crews to pit one last time for full service and driver change. As Martin would take charge of the #27 car, Gunn’s entry to the #23 car would also be noted for rolling backwards in its pit box whilst the refuelling was underway and that would further delay the Englishman as all he had to look forward to was a processional race in fifth to the chequered flag.

Likewise for Martin, after De Angelis’s earlier pace, all he could do was to bring the #27 home for some points in GTD in P7 overall.

The Championship now moves onto Mid-Ohio in just two weeks’ time.

Photo credits - Team
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