FIRST TIME FOR ROMAN DRIVING THE TEAM’S ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GT3 AND HAD THE HONOR OF QUALIFYING THE CAR ON SATURDAY
The newly re-established The Heart of Racing team ticked all testing boxes with their new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at this weekend’s ROAR Before the Rolex 24 test at Daytona International Speedway.
The Heart of Racing team returned to Daytona International Speedway this weekend to compete at the ROAR Before the Rolex 24. This was the first outing for the program after a three-year hiatus, and for 2020 the team have chosen to make the change and compete with the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. This weekend the car was in white with green accents, but the team look forward to showcasing their new blue-checkered livery designed by Gray Newell.
For former The Heart of Racing drivers Ian James and Alex Riberas, as well as new full-season driver Roman De Angelis, this was the first time racing an Aston Martin. The team were joined by Aston Martin Works Driver Nicki Thiim and the crew were supported by Aston Martin Racing engineers
In the qualifying session on Saturday, designed to secure pit lane position, Roman De Angelis was in the hot seat and secured a lap time of 1:47.769. At this time, pit and garage positions are still to be confirmed.
“All in all, I think it was a very good weekend”, said De Angelis. “We progressed as a team well bearing in mind, we had a brand-new platform to work on and not only for us, but for the North American market. It was great to finally be together with the team, my teammates did an awesome job all weekend helping me get used to the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Really looking forward to going into the 24-hour race strong and I think we have a good chance to at least fight. That’s what we came here to learn, and that’s what we’re coming out with so I’m looking forward to getting going later in the month.”
The team now return to their Florida base to regroup and get ready for the most grueling race on the calendar, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Wednesday 22, to Sunday 26, January 2020.
“We achieved everything we wanted to achieve this weekend,” said James. “We each got seat time and made the most of all test sessions. It’s a new car to us, one I’m very excited about, but that also comes with challenges. I am very confident in the team though and happy with what we have learnt about the car this weekend. Looking forward to the race.”
“First of all, it’s a very special feeling to be back in Daytona, and not only that but to be back with The Heart of Racing, raising money for Seattle Children’s Hospital. With Aston Martin as a partner it just doesn’t get much better than this. It’s been a dream for me to get back with this team and it has come true, so I feel very lucky and privileged to be here,” said Alex Riberas. “We made a lot of improvements to the car. It’s hard being here for the first time driving the [Aston Martin] Vantage GT3 but I feel like the team put a really good effort into understanding the dynamics of the car work and trying to understand everything prior to the race. We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m feeling very positive about how the team is managing everything and I’m looking forward to a big challenge for the Rolex 24 and I’m very happy overall.”
“What a good weekend meeting The Heart of Racing for the first time,” said Nicky Thiim. “Obviously as the factory driver I’m trying to get to know the guys as fast as I can and give them as much information as I can to learn the car which is also new for the team. I have to say, a brilliant job from everyone, and I know I probably have to say it, but I really feel like the chemistry within the team, it feels really good together, especially between the four drivers – already big respect. What I’ve noticed and what I really like is how calm everyone is, everyone knows their role, and that just makes it so much easier to work together. Really brilliant effort by everyone, pretty much no issues and we used the whole of every practice session to get everything as race ready as we could. We got the maximum out of it, as much information as we could, and I cannot wait to come back for the race.”
Content and livery image: The Heart of Racing
Title image: Patrice Marchessault / PMstills Photography
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