2023 GTD Winners target strong start to 2024 IMSA campaign with double-Aston Martin effort
Daytona, Fla. (15 January 2024) – The Heart of Racing Team (HOR) will look to make a strong start to the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech program as the championship once again opens with the traditional Rolex 24 At Daytona this January 27-28 (1:30 pm ET on NBC). The team won the GTD class in the 2023 edition of the race, and has been hard at work to prepare for another strong run with both team entries this year at Daytona International Speedway.
That effort will take its first official step forward this weekend with the ROAR Before the 24, as IMSA sets the grid for the race with Sunday’s qualifying session slated for the full 60-entry field of GT and prototype machines.
Returning to the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin GTD PRO entry will be Alex Riberas and Ross Gunn, the duo will be joined by multi time champion Mario Farnbacher. Riberas and Gunn secured a front row starting position in last season’s qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Though Farnbacher will be making his debut with HOR during his eleventh Rolex 24 At Daytona start, the German is no stranger to the team as he co-drove with Riberas and Ian James in 2014 – 2016. The trio will be seeking their first win of the famed 24 hour race.
The Heart of Racing will also look to defend its 2023 GTD class victory with the No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage with Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen, Zach Robichon, and team principal Ian James. De Angelis, Sorensen, and James were a part of the 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona win helping lead the way to finish the season second in championship points standings.
Robichon joins the Rolex 24 At Daytona winning team with a Daytona victory already on his resume, having scored a GTD victory in the 2022 event. The Canadian will be making his sixth Daytona International Speedway start as well as his debut outing with the Heart of Racing Team.
While the Heart of Racing Team’s IMSA program is in full swing in the United States, the team will also be competing in the Creventic 24H Series for the 24 Hours of Dubai (January 26-28), the same weekend as the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The ROAR Before the 24 weekend will see five on track test sessions before qualifying Sunday afternoon. The green flag for qualifying waves at 1:55 pm ET live Sunday on the Peacock App.
Alex Riberas: “I’m definitely so excited to go back to Daytona. I cannot wait to be back with the team and enjoy taking the challenge of racing at Daytona for 24 hours. I think it’s a very special race for everybody in the paddock with it being the first event of the year. Everyone has super high hopes and expectations so the environment is always very unique and there is no better place to be at the start of the season. I’m looking forward to having Mario with the team. We are ready to give it all we have and hopefully make the most out of every situation.”
Mario Farnbacher: “I’m really looking forward to joining the Heart of Racing team. A big thank you to Ian (James) and Gabe (Newell) and my teammates for welcoming me to the team. A lot of them I knew from the past and it will be good to work with them again. There are a lot of things to learn this year and improve and it all starts with Daytona. I think we are a team that everyone will have to keep an eye on this year. We are ready for the challenge, but first we need to have a good ROAR.”
Roman De Angelis: “Starting the year and the first race being the 24 hours at Daytona is always such a special feeling. With a few months off and lots of time to prepare, new cards, new teams and teammates. It’s a great catapult into what I hope is another amazing year. Having had great success in Daytona last year we really hope to do the same as always, but as we know most of this race isn’t in our hands. I think my main focus is to improve on myself from last year in some areas we’ve evaluated with the team, which is always good to have some main areas to focus on and set a goal towards.”
Zach Robichon: “It’s always a big task to start the year at Daytona. With the biggest race of the year being the first one, it is super important to hit the ground running. Joining HOR will take some adjusting, but the team’s track record from the last few years speaks for itself. Last year’s race winners and the 2022 GTD championship didn’t happen by chance! I’ll look to my teammates to get comfortable as quickly as possible and I’m looking forward to seeing what can be done.”