An IMSA Championship in sight for Heart of Racing but a storm on the horizon at the Petit Le Mans season finale

Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Aston Martin’s Vantage GT3 heads into this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finale at Road Atlanta, GA, on the brink of a historic achievement for the British ultra-luxury sports car brand. Aston Martin Racing’s Seattle-based partner team The Heart of Racing begins the finale of North America’s premier endurance series leading the GTD Class Teams’ Championship with Roman De Angelis (CDN) on top of the class Drivers’ standings. Moreover, Aston Martin remains firmly in contention for the GTD Manufacturers crown.

Should the team – the reigning IMSA GTD Sprint Cup champion – be successful in its quest to clinch any of those titles following the 10-Hour race on Saturday, 1 October, it will be the first time that an Aston Martin has contributed to an overall IMSA championship class title.

It would also stand as this generation Vantage GT3’s most significant achievement among the car’s ever-growing collection of accolades; and beautifully complement Vantage’s excellent season of global GT racing. TF Sport’s GTE Am class victory in the most recent round of the FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] at Fuji Speedway, in Japan, earlier this month, ensures that only they or fellow Aston Martin partner NorthWest AMR can clinch the crown in Bahrain in November. It will be the fifth world championship title for Aston Martin since WEC was formed a decade ago, and the second for the Vantage GTE – based on the highly-acclaimed four-litre V8 turbo-charged road car it derives from.

The Heart of Racing’s two-car team, which runs a Vantage in the GTD Pro class for Alex Riberas (ESP) and Aston Martin Racing works driver Ross Gunn (GBR), and another for the GTD class leader De Angelis and the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Maxime Martin (BEL), has been in a rich vein of form this season.

De Angelis and Martin – who makes his last start as an Aston Martin Racing works driver after a stellar five-year stint that has included multiple world championship and IMSA race victories and the 2020 FIA GT World Manufacturers’ title – have enjoyed a run of five podiums in six races. That includes two class victories at Watkins Glen and Mosport and three second places. Such results have ensured that Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy graduate De Angelis enters the final round, where he will again be joined in the #27 Vantage by Martin and Team Principal (and fellow Watkins Glen victor) Ian James (GBR), with a 45-point lead over nearest rival Stevan McAleer.

The Heart of Racing’s Gunn and Riberas have not given up on a top-three finish in the new-for-2022 GTD Pro category either and will be joined in the #23 Vantage by another team regular Tom Gamble (GBR) as they seek to add to their victories in Long Beach and Watkins Glen earlier this season.

The Heart of Racing is not the only team fielding an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at Road Atlanta. Magnus Racing returns for its fifth outing of the season, having predominantly focused on long-distance events in its first year with the British brand. Having started 2022 with a brilliant second place in the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours, Americans John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly will aim to finish the season on a similarly high note in their striking carbon black and green striped #44 Vantage.

The 25th Annual Motul Petit Le Mans is scheduled to begin with free practice at 0950 EST (-5 Hours BST), on Thursday, 29 September. The 10-Hour race will start at 1210 EST, on Saturday, 1 October.

Source material - Aston Martin Racing
Photo credits - Jamey Price / Team
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