The Heart of Racing Finish Fourth in Petit Le Mans

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The Heart of Racing Finish Fourth in Petit Le Mans

The team’s GTD entry scores fifth place finish 

Braselton, Ga (16 October 2023) – The Heart of Racing Team (HOR) finished out the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with two top five finishes at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta during the 26th Annual Motul Petit Le Mans weekend.

The No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin entry with a stout lineup of Alex Riberas, Ross Gunn, and David Pittard scored a fourth place finish following a tough fight through Saturday’s ten hour race.

Riberas started the race for the trio from sixth in the GTD PRO lineup and maintained his position through the first caution period which took place after the first lap completed. Through his 75 lap stint, Riberas saw four caution periods before handing the Aston Martin off to Pittard. The British driver was able to maintain the sixth place position through his 40 lap stint who then passed off to Gunn.

Working his way through the GT field, Gunn was able to work his way to sit fourth when Pittard took the reins once again during the seventh caution period of the day. Riberas took over the Aston Martin on lap 242 working his way up to sit second over the next 62 laps. Through a mixture of pit rotation and caution periods, Gunn crossed the finish line fourth.

Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen, and Ian James teamed up in the No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 entry, securing a fifth place finish.

James qualified the No. 27 Aston Martin on overall GT pole during Friday’s afternoon qualifying session.

James raced out front in the lead for the opening 15 laps before pitting during the second caution period. James was behind the wheel for the first 52 laps before passing the controls to the Aston Martin to Sorensen. Unfortunately due to two procedural penalties, the team fell back in the field. Sorensen was able to drive his way to third when James took the English machine back over.

On lap 242 De Angelis made his first laps of the day after taking over for James. After an incident with another GT car that was no fault of De Angelis’, the No. 27 team that had worked its way up to sit third fell towards the back of the pack. Sorensen took the Aston Martin back over on lap 287 working his way through the field to sixth when he handed it back to De Angelis. Similar to the sister car, De Angelis fell victim to caution periods that hindered his time to make more passes and ultimately crossed the finish line in fifth.

Though the season has ended for SRO and IMSA competition, the Heart of Racing Team will run in the 8 Hours of Bahrain during the World Endurance Championship for its final competition outing of the 2023 season.


Alex Riberas: “Definitely a very challenging race to finish the season. As someone on the team described it, it felt like today we brought a knife to a gunfight but honestly, looking back after this entire effort, I feel very proud of the whole team. I feel like we maximized everything that we had on all phases of the race. We pretty much over performed with the equipment that we were given today. That’s all we could do. No major mistakes, no flaws, pretty much perfect execution by everyone, so very, very proud of this group of people. We have to regroup, get stronger as a team and come back next year with a fresh energy and a new car which is always very encouraging.”

Ross Gunn: “First of all, I want to say a massive thank you to the Heart of Racing for all their efforts this year. It’s been a very long season starting in January and we didn’t have luck on our side for the majority of the year. We ended the race and the championship with a pretty solid result, which I think was probably the maximum that we could achieve this weekend. Of course, it would have been better to be on the podium, but I didn’t really position myself 100% correctly on that last restart which cost me the chance of getting P3. It’s been a tough year but an amazing effort by everyone – no one gave up on the team. We’ve had some bad results but the reaction and the comeback from everyone is something to be really proud of. I’m really proud to be a part of the team and to do my small bit and hopefully I can look forward to coming back next year.”

David Pittard: “It feels a little bit bitter, really, to be so close – after everyone put in so much hard work and effort throughout the whole weekend to just be shy of a podium is a big shame. The entire team, Alex, Ross and Joe our engineer did a mega job to get us back into contention. I have to say sorry for making a mistake at the first stop, which dropped us back. But we got back into contention when it got to the business end of the race, three hours to go, which was really good. But you kind of have to say driving standards were pretty poor this weekend in general – meaning, there were a lot of caution periods at the end there which hindered our process. Big thanks to the team for building strong Aston Martins and for all their hard work throughout the whole year to put us in a position to win. It’s a shame not to reward the team with trophies and champagne.”

Roman De Angelis: “The weekend started out well but then we really struggled in the race. But everyone – Marco, Ian, Alex, Ross and David and the rest of the team all did an amazing job. Obviously we wanted to win the endurance championship, but didn’t manage to do that but as a team and a group of drivers, we did everything we could – sadly, it just didn’t go our way. There was lots of contact because of other drivers not being very wise with their choices and we kind of got stuck in the middle of it. But still good season, with some good results. Everyone did an amazing job and optimized what they could so hopefully we come back and could be stronger next year.”

Marco Sorensen: “The overall weekend was okay, but we lost out on the endurance championship and I think, for us, that was obviously what we wanted here. So for me, Roman and Ian, this is kind of a hard pill to swallow. But I think we did what we could as a team today, and we did everything as a team – and that’s what matters. The season is over and it’s a bit sad but that’s how it is.”

Ian James: “Well, a little frustrated with the result but, overall everybody put max effort in. The last race of the year and both cars got to the end of  the race in one piece. I don’t think we were fast enough to win, but we could have been on the podium, but these things happen and we’ll bounce back stronger next year.”