Challenges of a new car at a season opening 24hr for the Heart of Racing team

Monday, January 29, 2024


The Heart of Racing scored a fourth-place finish in the GTD PRO category of the Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend. The No. 27 Heart of Racing GTD entry had a promising start to the race as the team looked to defend its 2023 win at Daytona International Speedway but was forced to retire early after encountering a technical issue before the halfway point.

Leading up to the famed 24-hour race, the team worked on different setups and pit stop practices through three practice sessions on Thursday. After opting out of the fourth practice session on Friday to have more fresh tires ready for the race, the team was set for Saturday’s 1:40pm Rolex 24 At Daytona start. 

Alex Riberas, Ross Gunn, and Mario Farnbacher piloted the No. 23 Heart of Racing GTD PRO entry, finishing fourth after starting 11th in class. The race ran at a near-record pace, with the team losing some ground when it was forced to replace the nose during a pitstop after the No. 23 Heart of Racing entry suffered damage while avoiding contact with a crashed prototype.

But with good pit stops, efficient strategy, and consistent race pace, the No. 23 Heart of Racing team was able to fight its way back to cross the finish line in fourth position.

“Wow. Definitely a tough race for the No. 23 crew. But overall, an extraordinary effort by everyone. I mean, we didn't have the pace to be top 10 today, and we somehow managed to finish fourth, which is a phenomenal result. It shows the fighting spirit of this team and of this entire organization, shows that we can definitely look at bigger things in the future. Hopefully we make a step forward in Sebring with a more competitive race” said Riberas afterwards.

The No. 27 Heart of Racing GTD team started from the 18th row on the grid with Team Principal Ian James behind the wheel. James passed the wheel to Roman De Angelis on lap 95 in eighth. The young Canadian drove the Aston Martin Vantage to lead the race for 30 laps before Zach Robichon took over the wheel.

On lap 329, Marco Sorensen had control of the Aston Martin Vantage when an electrical issue came about, forcing the No. 27 Heart of Racing entry to the pits. After troubleshooting for a few different items, the team pulled the Aston Martin back to the garage where they continued to try to diagnose the problem for an hour and a half before concluding that the car needed to be retired. 

Roman De Angelis added “The time I was in the car was fun, it was my first race stint of the year. I had a bit of a break since the last time I was in a race so I really enjoyed that. I had a really fun stint battling with people and we were in a pretty good place at that time but had some misfortune with the issues with the car and had to retire. It is kind of a shame but we learned a lot about the car. It’s unfortunate to miss out on some points that hopefully, we won't be missing later on in the year but just keep working from here at Sebring.”

Source material – HoRT

Photo credits – J Price / D Gibson
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