Aston Martin and Heart of Racing put Vantage on the podium at Grand Prix of Long Beach
- Aston Martin Vantage GT3 takes third IMSA podium of season at Long Beach
- Marco Sørensen and Roman De Angelis finish second for Heart of Racing
- FIA WEC GTE LM champion Sørensen flies to GTD pole with record lap
- ORT by TF best of three Vantage GTEs in 6 Hours of Portimao
- Aston Martin customer teams look forward to European Le Mans Series opener at Barcelona next weekend
Sunday, 16 April, 2023, Long Beach Street Circuit, USA: Aston Martin’s multiple championship-winning Vantage made it three podium finishes from the opening three rounds of North America’s ultra-competitive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with another strong performance at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, in California.
While reigning GTD class champions Heart of Racing saw their dynamic duo of Roman De Angelis (CAN) and Marco Sørensen (DEN) finish second on Saturday, three further AMR partner teams contested the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at the 6 Hours of Portimão, in Portugal.
The demands of the tight and bumpy Long Beach street circuit could not be in more stark contrast to those of the Daytona International Speedway, where Heart of Racing’s De Angelis and Sørensen were part of a winning crew that headed a one-two result for Vantage in the GTD category in January. But despite this the Aston Martin proved the perfect machine to tackle the bay-side circuit with three-time FIA World Endurance GTE champion Sørensen storming to pole position in a time 0.2 seconds under the previous lap record.
Sørensen led the opening stint and handed over to De Angelis as he reached his minimum mandatory drive time after 37 of the 100 minutes. Running side-by-side with another car, the 2022 GTD champion ran in close contention for the rest of the race and finished second.
The result put the duo second in the GTD points standings with Heart of Racing second in the Teams’ standings and Aston Martin second in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Aston Martin works driver Ross Gunn (GBR) qualified second in the GTD Pro class and finished fourth in the race in the #23 Heart of Racing car he shared with Alex Riberas (ESP). The pairing hold fifth in the GTD Pro points.
Less than 24 hours later it was the turn of the three partner teams contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship [FIA WEC] to do battle in the 14-car LM GTE Am field in the 6 Hours of Portimao.
The highest-finishing Vantage GTE was that of the ORT by TF entry – run by 2022 GTE Am world champions TF Sport. The trio of Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Dinan (USA) and Charlie Eastwood (IRL) finished eighth.
The FIA WEC continues with the 6 Hours of Spa – the final warm-up ahead of the centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans – on April 27-29 while the IMSA season continues at Laguna Seca on May 12-14.
Before either race, however, attention will turn to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which hosts the opening rounds both the European Le Mans Series and the Le Mans Cup next weekend (April 21-23).
Three Vantage GTEs are entered in the ELMS with two for TF Sport. The team’s #95 car features an all-British line-up of Ben Tuck, John Hartshorne and double 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Jonny Adam. A French trio is aboard #72 with Aston Martin works driver Valentin Hasse Clot alongside Arnold and Maxime Robin.
Joining them is new AMR partner team GMB Motorsport, who step up after winning last year’s Le Mans Cup GT3 crown with Danish trio Jens Moller, Gustav Birch and Nicki Thiim; the latter a multiple WEC GT world champion and Aston Martin works driver.
Hasse Clot and Arnold Robin will be on double-duty in Spain as they pilot Racing Spirit of Leman’s Vantage GT3 in the Le Mans Cup.
Huw Tasker, AMR Head of Partner Racing, said: “Heart of Racing’s form in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is a shining example of the continuing potential of Vantage in the world’s most prestigious endurance championships. Our teams in WEC, endured a tough day you will have those kinds of days in motorsport. Now we move to Barcelona, where we’re excited to see what Vantage can achieve in this year’s European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup.”