Vantage come of age as GT3 and GT4 platforms secure series wins at IMSA finale at Road Atlanta

Sunday, October 02, 2022


The Heart of Racing and 21-year-old Roman De Angelis (CDN) clinched the GTD Class Drivers’ and Teams’ titles of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in a tense 25th Annual Motul Petit Le Mans 10-Hour finale at Road Atlanta, GA.

The result marks the first time the British sportscar brand has won an overall championship in IMSA – North America’s most prestigious endurance series – and comes just weeks after Vantage was confirmed as a GT world champion for the fifth time in 10 years. 

The Heart of Racing – the 2021 IMSA Sprint Cup champion – was made to fight hard for its first overall title, indeed the result wasn’t secured until the flag fell on a spectacular season. This year’s Petit Le Mans proved eventful with frequent Full-Course Yellow periods, during which the fortunes of the nine GTD Class title contenders ebbed back and forth.

The #27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3, driven by De Angelis, Maxime Martin (BEL) and Team Principal Ian James (GBR) started the race with a slender 48-point lead over the Team Korthoff Mercedes with 350 points available; the #27 crew focusing on being in the mix come nightfall. But the tension ratcheted up when they encountered a small technical issue around half distance, which required a steering-wheel change that dropped them off the lead lap and down to the fringes of the top 10.

But after that the Aston Martin ran faultlessly, and in the seventh hour the team’s persistence was rewarded when Team Korthoff ran into technical issues of its own. It was then a matter of staying close enough to the Wright Motorsports Porsche (which then became the team’s principal rival) to maintain a points cushion; which thanks to the #27 Vantage’s seventh-placed finish following a last stint charge from Martin, was a margin of 23 points in the end.

For De Angelis, who was named the 2021 Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy graduate at the beginning of this year, the title capped a superb season in which he was supported for the most part by Belgian ace Martin. The Teams’ Championship, meanwhile, was a just reward for a stellar campaign by The Heart of Racing, which recorded two GTD class wins and three podiums from the final seven rounds of the 11-race season. 

The sister #23 Heart of Racing Team Vantage GT3, driven at Road Atlanta by team regulars Ross Gunn (GBR), Alex Riberas (ESP) and supported by Tom Gamble (GBR) finished fourth in the new-for-2022 GTD Pro Class. The car ended the season with two victories, including a win in the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen.

There was further title joy for Aston Martin on Friday when VOLT Racing’s Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman won the super-competitive IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS Class Drivers’ and Teams’ titles with their Vantage GT4. It is the second time in three years that the highly-decorated Vantage GT4 has swept Aston Martin to championship glory, having also won the IMPC Manufacturers’ title with KohR Motorsport in 2020.

Source material - AMR

Photo Credits - Jamey Price / Teams
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