The Heart of Racing Wins at Road America

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The Heart of Racing Wins at Road America

Newell scores fourth in Nashville 

Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (6 August 2023) – The Heart of Racing (HOR) scored back to back IMSA wins in the No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage. The No. 27 Heart of Racing entry worked its way up to second before a mechanical issue plagued the team.

The No. 23 Aston Martin team of Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas set the fast lap during the first practice of the weekend with a 2:05.206-second lap. Riberas continued the high speed momentum into Saturday’s qualifying session, breaking the GTD PRO track record at the National Park of Speed with a 2:02.918 second lap, surpassing the previous record by over two seconds to earn pole position.

Riberas was first up behind the wheel of the No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage leading the GT field to the IMSA SportsCar Weekend green flag. The Spanish driver was able to keep the lead when handing the Aston Martin over to Gunn.

“Definitely not an easy win by any means,” said Riberas. “I think today was really a matter of optimizing every phase of the race and that’s what ended up achieving this outcome. I feel super proud of the team, especially after rebuilding the car and making sure everything was ready. It feels amazing. I think things are starting to click for our side and it just feels like everything is a bit more enjoyable. Ross did a phenomenal job. To be honest the race was a bit opposite of what we expected, there was only one caution and that played well into our strategy.”

After falling back to fifth during pit stop rotations, Gunn drove up to second place when he started battling the No. 3 Corvette for the lead. Gunn was on his tail when the Corvette was called down pit road to serve a penalty leaving the lead to Gunn.

“The team did an excellent job and I’m incredibly proud of them,” said Gunn. “Aston Martin provides cars that are all pretty close together, but we have found something that’s really working well for us. Throughout the whole season we’ve had a package that has been quick enough and competitive enough to compete at the front, but things just hadn’t clicked. I’m so happy that now things are starting to work and we really want to keep this momentum going.”

Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen, pilots of the No. 27 Heart of Racing GTD entry, looked to find more speed through both of Friday’s practice sessions. De Angelis qualified for the pair setting the fifth fastest lap time of 2:04.397 seconds.

“I started fifth and handed the car over in second,” said De Angelis. “I thought we were in a decent position, but just seemed to lack pace compared to the No. 23 car this weekend. We started dropping back a lot and towards the end of the race. I was really pushing in the first stint, and I think a lot of people were fuel saving so it made it a bit difficult. At the end everyone started pushing hard and we seemed to struggle a lot. We’ll see what we can figure out for VIR.”

The No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage team started out very strong, with De Angelis going from sixth to second before handing the Aston Martin over to Sorensen on lap 49. Sorensen battled mechanical issues that kept him from being able to shift to sixth gear. The Danish driver lost pace and crossed the finish line in eighth.

“It was kind of one of those stints you want to forget about,” said Sorensen. “We had some issues on the car that made us really, really slow. That’s something we have to start looking into because it’s the second weekend in a row, even though we still won at Lime Rock, we still didn’t have the full pace. This race it seems we highlighted that a bit, the Heart of Racing is such a good team that we’re going to kind of figure it out and go to Virginia and come back a little bit stronger.”

The Heart of Racing IMSA team will be back in action at VIRginia International Raceway for the second GT standalone event weekend of the IMSA season, August 25-27.

While the IMSA teams were in Wisconsin, 621 miles south in Tennessee Gray Newell competed on the streets of Nashville with SRO GT America powered by AWS. After Friday’s morning practice session was cut extremely short due to standing water on track, Newell found pace in the afternoon scoring the fourth fastest lap in the GT4 category.

Saturday morning saw qualifying rained out with race one’s grid determined by the fastest lap times from Friday’s second practice session. After a bit of delay due to rain earlier in the day, race one began as the sun started to set over Nashville. Newell was able to maintain his fourth place starting position for the first five laps of the race, but unfortunately a mechanical issue forced Newell to pull off in a run off area. As Newell was pulling off a SRO3 car went to pass Newell and hit his rear bumper. Newell was unable to finish the first race.

Race two went to green Sunday afternoon with Newell starting from a fourth place starting position. Newell was battling for third with a Cayman when the Cayman’s tire blew causing a full course caution. The field went back green with just under 25 minutes remaining in the 40 minute race. With 16 minutes left on the clock Newell was passed, forcing him back to fourth, just four minutes later another full course caution slowed the field came out. Newell ran out of laps as the field went back to green flag conditions with just three minutes remaining, Newell crossed the finish line in fourth.

The Heart of Racing SRO GT America powered by AWS and the Pirelli GT4 America series will be on track at Road America August 18-20.