Sep 28, 2022, 14:30 PM

Aston Martin Vantage on the brink of history as The Heart of Racing Team seek titles in IMSA finale

  • Vantage GT3 on verge of its biggest success in North America ahead of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Petit Le Mans finale
  • Roman De Angelis aims to win Aston Martin’s first IMSA class overall title
  • Aston Martin crowns dominant year as partners confirmed as only 2022 FIA WEC GTE Am contenders following TF Sport’s Fuji victory
  • The Heart of Racing Team leads IMSA GTD class Drivers’ and Teams’ standings; Aston Martin hunting Manufacturers’ crown
  • Vantage GT4 leads the way ahead of IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge finale
  • Le Mans 24 Hours winner Maxime Martin set on leaving in a blaze of glory

28 September 2022, Road Atlanta, USA: Aston Martin’s Vantage GT3 heads into this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finale at Road Atlanta, GA, on the brink of a historic achievement for the British ultra-luxury sports car brand. Aston Martin Racing’s Seattle-based partner team The Heart of Racing begins the finale of North America’s premier endurance series leading the GTD Class Teams’ Championship with Roman De Angelis (CDN) on top of the class Drivers’ standings. Moreover, Aston Martin remains firmly in contention for the GTD Manufacturers crown.

Should the team – the reigning IMSA GTD Sprint Cup champion – be successful in its quest to clinch any of those titles following the 10-Hour race on Saturday, 1 October, it will be the first time that an Aston Martin has contributed to an overall IMSA championship class title.

It would also stand as this generation Vantage GT3’s most significant achievement among the car’s ever-growing collection of accolades; and beautifully complement Vantage’s excellent season of global GT racing. TF Sport’s GTE Am class victory in the most recent round of the FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] at Fuji Speedway, in Japan, earlier this month, ensures that only they or fellow Aston Martin partner NorthWest AMR can clinch the crown in Bahrain in November. It will be the fifth world championship title for Aston Martin since WEC was formed a decade ago, and the second for the Vantage GTE – based on the highly-acclaimed four-litre V8 turbo-charged road car it derives from.

The Heart of Racing’s two-car team, which runs a Vantage in the GTD Pro class for Alex Riberas (ESP) and Aston Martin Racing works driver Ross Gunn (GBR), and another for the GTD class leader De Angelis and the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Maxime Martin (BEL), has been in a rich vein of form this season.

De Angelis and Martin – who makes his last start as an Aston Martin Racing works driver after a stellar five-year stint that has included multiple world championship and IMSA race victories and the 2020 FIA GT World Manufacturers’ title – have enjoyed a run of five podiums in six races. That includes two class victories at Watkins Glen and Mosport and three second places. Such results have ensured that Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy graduate De Angelis enters the final round, where he will again be joined in the #27 Vantage by Martin and Team Principal (and fellow Watkins Glen victor) Ian James (GBR), with a 45-point lead over nearest rival Stevan McAleer.

The Heart of Racing’s Gunn and Riberas have not given up on a top-three finish in the new-for-2022 GTD Pro category either and will be joined in the #23 Vantage by another team regular Tom Gamble (GBR) as they seek to add to their victories in Long Beach and Watkins Glen earlier this season.

The Heart of Racing is not the only team fielding an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at Road Atlanta. Magnus Racing returns for its fifth outing of the season, having predominantly focused on long-distance events in its first year with the British brand. Having started 2022 with a brilliant second place in the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours, Americans John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly will aim to finish the season on a similarly high note in their striking carbon black and green striped #44 Vantage.

Three more Aston Martin Vantages, this time of the ultra-successful GT4 variant, will participate in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge finale, which supports Petit Le Mans. Among them will be championship leaders Alan Brynjolfsson (USA) and Trent Hindman (USA) in the Volt Racing #7 Vantage GT4, who top the points in the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ standings following a victory at Laguna Seca in the Spring and a steady podium run elsewhere.

They will be joined by series debutants Accelerating Performance, fresh from victories in the SRO-run Pirelli GT4 America and GT America series at Sebring last weekend with driver Moisey Uretsky (USA) – who is joined this weekend by Justin Piscitell (USA) in the #39 machine. Aston Martin stalwarts Automatic Racing once again field their #009 Vantage GT4 for Americans Ramin Abdolvahabi and Casey Carden.

Huw Tasker, Head of AMR Partner Racing, said: “This is a hugely significant weekend for Vantage. We are incredibly proud of our partners The Heart of Racing and the work we have all done to bring Roman, the team and Vantage to the brink of overall GTD championship success. It’s a clear statement of the potential of the GT3 and its ability to contend for the most important GT series in the world, and clearly demonstrates what can be achieved through the partnerships we nurture with our customers. Not only that, but the Vantage GT4 is showing once again in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, just as it has everywhere it competes around the world, that it is among the very best options available for gentlemen drivers and up-coming talents in GT racing. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Maxime for the huge contribution he has made to the Vantage programme. He’s been an integral part of Vantage’s development and actually gave the GT3 car its race debut at the Nürburgring in 2018 alongside Darren Turner. He won the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans with us and played a vital role in our Manufacturers’ World Championship in 2020 and came close to clinching the Drivers’ title as well. We wish him well in the future.”

The 25th Annual Motul Petit Le Mans is scheduled to begin with free practice at 0950 EST (-5 Hours BST), on Thursday, 29 September. The 10-Hour race will start at 1210 EST, on Saturday, 1 October. The two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge finale takes place at 1310 EST, Friday, 30 September. Follow IMSA’s official website for live updates on all events and for any changes to the weekend schedule.