Monterey, Calif. (14 May 2023) – The Heart of Racing (HOR) team rallied to a double top ten team finish during the fourth IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The No. 23 Heart of Racing GTD PRO Class Aston Martin piloted by Alex Riberas and Ross Gunn scored one of their best starting positions this season, kicking off the race from second in class. Riberas was first up in the Aston Martin, maintaining podium position throughout his stint. The No. 23 took the lead after a strategy call for just a splash of fuel during the third full course caution.
“We did almost everything right, but this sport can be very unforgiving sometimes,” said Riberas. “At the start we were able to get ahead of the GTD car, a Porsche, which was a priority for me to stay in touch with the leaders. The car felt great out there and we were able to take the lead because of a few good calls from the team, despite having older tires. With 40 minutes to go it looked like the victory was ours. Then one simple mistake had a massive consequence today, but we will regroup. We have a lot of potential and I think everybody can be really proud of what we showed today. We will go for it again at the Glen.”
Gunn got in behind the wheel of the No. 23 Aston Martin under green flag conditions on lap 56. Just eight laps later a full course caution came out while Gunn was in the lead.
Looking to make the most of track position on the restart, the team effort was handed a setback after being assessed a procedural penalty that forced a call to the penalty box with just 40 minutes remaining. The No. 23 team fought to the finish, coming home fifth in class at the checkered flag.
“As a team we worked really well to set up a really quick car in the race. It was really nice to drive,” said Gunn who set the fastest lap of the race. “We had really good pace throughout, so it’s just unfortunate that the race was taken away from us by a mistake. I wouldn’t say that it was miscommunication, but things happen like this in motorsports… and it hurts a lot since we lost out big time. We are looking forward as a team. We had amazing pit stops and Alex drove really well, we are so close to putting it all together. We will try again at Watkins Glen.”
Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen teamed up once again in the No. 27 Heart of Racing GTD entry. De Angelis qualified the Aston Martin second in class during Saturday’s qualifying session.
De Angelis was first behind the wheel during Sunday’s MOTUL Course de Monterey. He was able to quickly take the lead on the first lap. After leading twelve laps a full course caution slowed the field as the No. 27 headed to pit lane.
“We had first in class turn one and thought we had a pretty good race ahead of us, but we had a little bit of bad luck in the pit stops,” said De Angelis. “We were down to tenth at one point and then back up to third, we were a bit all over the place. We just didn’t win the race on strategy, so we’ll take a look into it and see what we can do better next time. I love Watkins Glen! We won there last year so hopefully we can do that again.”
Sorensen took the reins of the No. 27 Aston Martin on lap 59 under green flag conditions. Sorensen was able to keep the car in the top portion of the field battling tough handling conditions to finish eighth.
“I think we had the car in a good spot,” said Sorensen. “We had okay pace for being here in Laguna Seca, but I had to follow another car and it heated up the front of the car so much that it was interfering with the ABS, so it made it really difficult to drive by the end. In the last 20 minutes it was just about holding on and not going off track. Today was character-building: it wasn’t a nice race, but we’ll come back next time.”
The Heart of Racing IMSA program will head to Watkins Glen International next for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen June 23-25.