There Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTDs see out IMSA 2023 from Petit Le Mans this weekend

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Once the two GT4 series have ran their hearts out to conclude their season commitments this year at Road Atlanta, Georgia it will then be the turn of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship to do likewise around the 2.5 mile as they run their annual Petit Le Mans event.

Like the name suggest, this event was created to emulate the historic event that has just celebrated its centenary this around the Circuit de La Sarthe in Le Mans, France. ‘Little Le Mans’ was at the time the American Le Mans Series equivalent and homage to that event that started back in the late 1990’s.

Joining up together for one last time this season, all five classes of the IMSA Weathertech Championship will again do battle with a provisional fifty-four cars listed on the entry (although some have now fallen by the wayside since) amongst the GTP, LMP2, LMP3, GTD Pro and GTD classes.

Amongst that lot, just three Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTD powered crews will take part from both the Heart of Racing and Magnus Racing teams. We would have thought that the Andretti AMR GT3 might have tried to enter this round considering their apparent intentions to be full season entries next season – maybe they did but couldn’t get in, we don’t know.

For the #44 Magnus Racing team of John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, the again have only been down as Endurance Cup round entries (plus whatever takes their fancy in-between) only where the crew presently sit fourth in their GTD Championship with still enough points available by the end of this weekend’s events to lift the crown should they finish high upon the podium and with those ahead faltering at some point.

Then there is the #27 Heart of Racing AMR Vantage GTD of Roman de Angelis, Marco Sorenson and Ian James who sit at the top of the GTD Endurance Cup leader board going into this final round with a margin of just one point from the chasing Mercedes AMG GT3 crew behind.

Whilst the 2023 GTD Sprint Cup Champiosnhip has already been settled with the #27 Heart of Racing crew this time finishing second to the dominant BMW crew of Bryan Sellars and Madison Snow, the #27 pairing will have a fight on their hands this weekend to finish second again to the Sellars/Snow/BMW combination within the main GTD Championship stakes. The points gap to the P1 team is now insurmountable.

Unfortunately, it is a similar thread for the #23 GTD Pro Heart of Racing AMR entry of Ross Gunn, Alex Riberas (and David Pittard for this event) presently rest at the foot of that championship table after mid-season BoP adjustments to their Vantage effectively threw them out of the championship battle after a heroic mid-season charge after something of a dodgy start.

They sit P5 overall and some 373 points behind the somewhat consistent performing Lexus and with only 302 points being available – a decent championship finish is still possible albeit not the overall crown.

Practice for these guys kicks off on Thursday with three Free Practice sessions before Qualifying on Friday and the start of the final ten-hour race starting at 11:40hrs local on Saturday.

Unfortunately, other prior commitments will keep as away from the screen but if you live outside the mainland USA, you should be able to stream the race live via the IMSA TV link on their website. Good luck to all and have a safe race – it’s been fun ‘being there’ with you!

Photo credits – Teams / Series / Michelin / social media / J Price Photo
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