Tough days at the office for the AMR crews in the headlining rounds of the WEC and IMSA

Sunday, April 21, 2024


It was another tough day at the office for the three Aston Martin Racing powered teams competing in this weekend’s latest rounds of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and World Endurance Championship where collective efforts didn’t necessarily get represented by reward.

Over at the street-based circuit of Long Beach California, it was the turn of Heart of Racing and a guesting visit from the Flying Lizard Motorsport team to represent the brand at the latest round of the IMSA Championship where just the GTD class raced with the topflight GTP class around the challenging street circuit.

With the demands of the WEC also getting in the way of regular crew line ups, the #27 Heart of Racing saw Roman De Angelis be paired with a guesting Magnus Racing driver in Spencer Pompelly for this one-hundred-minute sprint and with them qualifying second in class, the potentials of another podium at this round looked good.

For the #28 Flying Lizard crew of Elias Sabo and Andy Lee however, this was just another tentative step forward for Sabo and the team as they looked for seat time and experience within the GT3 class having stepped up from GT4 last season. The choice of a street circuit was certainly a brave one to make but the results would ultimately reflect their determination to learn.

Having completed the opening stint through the multiple periods of caution, De Angelis would hand over the #27 car with under an hour to go but contact from another car for the #27 would see that car nose and tail into the barriers which resulted in race ending suspension damage for the team. Whilst it was bad news for them, the #28 Flying Lizard would eventually come home in tenth which in itself, was a tremendous achievement.

Then over in Italy, we had both the Heart of Racing and D’Station Racing Aston Martin Racing Vantage LMGT3 crews of Ian James, Alex Riberas, Daniel Mancinelli and Clement Mateu, Erwan Bastard and Marco Sorensen respectively as each competed within the second round of the WEC from Imola.

Like their IMSA equivalent, the #27 WEC entry also started from second on their grid whilst the #777 D’Station was further back in P12. Fortunately, both cars avoided the ensuing carnage within both the LMGT3 and Hypercar classes as the race went green under the bright but very cool skies of western Italy.

Despite initially dropping places at the start, the #27 would circulate for much of the six-hour race just outside of the top of the top three, cycling through places in class higher and lower as the those around them also pitted. The #777 was doing much of the same finishing the first hour just behind the #27.

Track time was however lost as both cars picked up penalties for either unsafe releases or lapses in discipline during any of the multiple periods of caution. The #777 would pick up an additional ten seconds added to a stop for an unsafe release as well as a further five seconds for breach of pit lane protocol whilst the #27 would get picked up for speeding under a Full Course Yellow (a drive through penalty) as well as a further ten seconds added to their race time for having the engine running at their final refuel. These were in addition to a reprimand each for running their Goodyear tyres below the stated minimum.

As the sun turned to rain during the race, neither car was able to support any late race push as their decreased BoP position and success ballast took their toll over the six-hour race. Despite losing a further position in the final laps (as well as the later time penalty being added), the #27 would eventually finish fifth and the #777 tenth for some more much needed Championship points.

The next round of the season will the annual Le Mans 24hr dress rehearsal from Spa Francorchamps in just over two weeks’ time.

Photo credits – Teams / AMR
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