- IMSA champion and Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona winner Heart of Racing wins both GT classes in Round 7 of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
- Vantage and Heart of Racing record tenth IMSA class win for Aston Martin
- Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas clinch first GTD Pro victory of the season with dominant overall win in the all-GT IMSA race
- Reigning GTD champion Roman De Angelis and FIA WEC LM GTE Am champion Marco Sørensen take first win since Daytona
Sunday, 23 July, 2023, Lime Rock, USA: The Aston Martin Vantage recorded a landmark tenth class victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the premier endurance racing series in the United States of America, with a brilliant double-class win for the Heart of Racing team in the GT-only race at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut, on Saturday.
The North America-based squad, which is the reigning IMSA GTD class champion and the Rolex 24 Hours class winner with Vantage, dominated the race in the GTD Pro category with drivers Ross Gunn (GBR) and Alex Riberas (ESP). Starting from pole, the duo led 146 laps of the 168-lap race and set the fastest lap on the path to their first win of the season.
The victory was an emotional one for the team, which did an incredible job to build-up and ship a brand new #23 Vantage GT3 to Lime Rock in less than a fortnight, following Gunn’s high-speed accident in the previous round at Mosport when a rival made contact with the Briton. The crash underlined a sequence of misfortune for the GTD Pro entry, but Saturday’s victory emphasised the pace and competitiveness that has been present all season.
“We needed this win,” said Gunn. “The team deserves it after all the hard work we’ve put in, especially after the past two weeks, and this one is for all the guys that spent so much time in the workshop building up a new car. It’s proof of how resilient this team is. We’ve had the pace all-season long but we’ve been searching for a clean race, when everything fell into place and it’s happened here. The Vantage was awesome in qualifying and I knew, if we carried that pace into the race we were going to be strong. I’m very happy for Heart of Racing and Aston Martin, and my team-mate Alex, and I know that we can win again this season if we can take this momentum on into Road America.”
The Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD class winners – reigning champion Roman De Angelis (CAN) and co-driver LMGTE Am world champion Marco Sørensen (DEN) – driving the #27 Vantage GT3, recorded HoR and Vantage’s tenth win since introducing the car to the IMSA series fulltime in 2020.
It was the first victory for the #27 since Daytona and was achieved after the car took the lead in the second hour, following a penalty for the championship-leading BMW. Sørensen then soaked up the pressure from two Porsches to see out the win. The victory brings the crew within 86 points of regaining the GTD class lead with four races to go in 2023.
It was the second GTD class win for Heart of Racing at Lime Rock, with the team having finished no lower than second in the last three years on the 1.5-mile circuit. The triumph also marks its second IMSA double – the first having come at Watkins Glen in 2022.
“This was another new circuit for me to learn this year, and I think it went well!” said Sørensen. “It’s a great challenge to learn all these circuits in the US. The team did another fantastic job with the strategy and the Vantage is always competitive in IMSA. We were a little lucky, and it was unfortunate for the team that got the penalty, but we’ve had our fair share of bad luck as well this season and these things often work out that way. Now we have closed the gap in the championship it’s time to turn-up the pressure and chase the title in the last four races of the year.”
Heart of Racing team principal Ian James, said: “What a day for Heart of Racing and Aston Martin. To take victory in both classes here at Lime Rock is an amazing accomplishment and down to the outstanding pit stops by the crew and faultless performance by the drivers. Racing brings highs and lows; this is one of the good days.”
Huw Tasker, AMR Head of Partner Racing, said: “The Heart of Racing really deserves this result. Not only after the difficult race in Mosport and the long hours put in to recover and build-up a new #23 car, but also because it demonstrates what a hugely competitive and resilient force it has become in IMSA. Vantage is an established GT champion around the world and it’s fantastic to see it on top in both classes for a second time and this time in IMSA’s ‘GT-only’ event.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now moves on to Road America, for the IMSA Sportscar weekend, 3-6 August.