The Heart of Racing Makes History at Lime Rock Park

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The Heart of Racing Makes History at Lime Rock Park

Lakeville, Conn. (22 July 2023) – The Heart of Racing (HOR) team made history at Lime Rock Park this weekend during the FCU Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by Liqui Moly. The team secured wins in both GTD PRO and GTD competition for the second time in IMSA WeatherTech Championship history after being the first team to score a double win at Watkins Glen International last year.

Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas debuted a brand new Aston Martin Vantage this weekend after an incident at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park left the previous chassis undriveable. The No. 23 Heart of Racing team was quick out of the transporter, scoring the third fastest lap in first practice. Gunn went on to break the track record in GTD PRO competition during qualifying at Lime Rock Park after scoring a fast lap time of 50.593-second lap earning the No. 23 team’s first Motul Pole Award of the season.

“It’s indescribable to get this win,” said Gunn. “It feels so good because this year has been probably the hardest year of the three years that I’ve had with the team and, a lot of the time it’s been things that have just been happening that are out of our control. So, it’s amazing to get this win. The guys deserve it so much, particularly after the last couple of weeks and what happened at Mosport. It feels amazing. Everything came together, the pit stops were mega, and the strategy was perfect. Alex drove an immaculate stint. I’m so happy. I’m going to remember this for a long time.”

Gunn was first up behind the wheel of the Aston Martin Vantage, he was able to quickly build a two second gap between him and second place before diving into the pits on lap 32 for fresh tires and fuel. Just ten laps later the track went under caution, the No. 23 team strategically chose not to pit during the seven lap caution period cycling Gunn and the Aston Martin to the front of the pack once again. When the track went back green Gunn created a six second lead on the field over the course of the next 43 laps before passing the Aston Martin to Riberas to continue on the lead. Riberas went on to cross the finish line for the team’s first win of the season.

“Racing at Lime Rock is always tough,” said Riberas. “As Ross said, we didn’t feel like our car was particularly strong, but around here track position is crucial. So it was great work from the team to be able to do the last pit stop and come out in front that was key to our victory. The hard part was when we caught the car to lap them and the guys behind were able to make up some ground but I was able to get by ok and then kept going. After that it was all about controlling the rear left tire. It was difficult in the last segment of the stint but I think we were not the only ones to have that struggle. But this is great for the team to win again like this and hopefully we can build on this.

Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen teamed up once again to score their second win of the season after battling to find the correct setup for the No. 27 Aston Martin during Friday’s two practice sessions. De Angelis qualified for the duo, claiming the fourth fastest lap during the fifteen minute qualifying session with a 51.283-second lap time.

“It’s been a long few weekends for us so far this season and we haven’t had the best results,” said De Angelis. “I think we’ve always had a strong car and a good lineup and a great team. So to finally get to win today for both cars and have it on Ian’s 50th birthday, it’s amazing. So hopefully the streak of bad luck is over and we can start getting points back and win the championship. We knew we had a good car obviously with the sister car being on pole and it has been a great track for us historically. I think taking the win and the points was really important.  Being at the halfway point now and kind of crossing over to the end of the season.  There is a lot of racing left and we are focused on the championship.”

De Angelis was quick to move up the field, almost immediately moving up to third. When the first caution slowed the field, De Angelis came into the pits for tires and a splash of fuel with a spectacular pit stop the team gained another position off pit road restarting from second. Shortly after the caution came out De Angelis went to the lead after the leader got penalized for an incident on pit lane. De Angelis was able to defend the lead and hand the Aston Martin over to Sorensen on lap 95 during green flag conditions for the final pitstop of the two hour and forty minute race. Sorensen was able to continue to fend off two Porsches to cross the finish line for the team’s second win of the season.

“Yeah, it’s really big,” said Sorensen. “We’ve been waiting for this since Daytona! We’ve had good pace at other races, but it just didn’t work out. I think we went into this weekend thinking okay, this has got to kind of be the turning point for us now. So we got those points today and it puts us in a position to keep on fighting all the way to the end. Obviously the goal is to take the championship. I was trying to save the tires as much as I could in the beginning, but still, keeping the two Porsche behind was definitely a challenge today. I have to say, it didn’t really feel like we had full on pace. But towards the end, it kind of stabilized and then from my side it was just about not making any mistakes. This feels great, we’ve been having a really quick car the whole year, but also had some bad luck. So hopefully this is the start of some good luck.“

Not only was the double win special, it also landed on HOR’s team principal, Ian James’ birthday.

“It’s great for this to happen on my birthday, but I’m just happy for the team after all the effort they’ve put in this year,” said James. “We started off great at Daytona with a No. 27 car, but the No. 23 car has had a lot of bad luck. We’ve shown glimpses of brilliance but then we’ve shot ourselves in the foot on other occasions. The No. 23 car was destroyed in Mosport, so the team had to build a brand new car from a new shell. So it was a lot of work for the crew. We ran it for the first time when we got here. And from there, the crew and driving teams for both cars just executed perfectly and I couldn’t be prouder – what an awesome birthday gift for me.”

The Heart of Racing will be back in action at the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America in just a few short weeks August 4-6.