Aston Martin Confirms IMSA Program Plans

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A pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT3s will be in the field for the Rolex 24. (IMSA Photo)
A pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT3s will be in the field for the Rolex 24. (IMSA Photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Aston Martin Racing is expanding its presence in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The British sports car manufacturer is returning to the GT Daytona class this year, with two  Aston Martin Vantage GT3s on the entry list for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Jan 25-26.

One of those two entries, fielded by Aston Martin partner Heart of Racing, will contest the full season in the GT Daytona category.

Aston Martin Racing has entered a Vantage GT3 supported by NorthWest Healthcare in the Rolex 24, alongside Heart of Racing’s entry. This works-run No. 98 car will be driven by factory drivers Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Ross Gunn, as well as new addition Andrew Watson, who will be racing in place of injured driver Paul Dalla Lana.

“This is such a great opportunity for me,” said Watson. “I am very grateful to Aston Martin for the chance to continue to prove what I can do. I know the Vantage GT3 well, having raced it in Europe last season. It’s all come about quickly but my focus is on preparation to ensure I do the best job possible and deliver a result for the team. I’ve never raced in America before so for the first event to be the Rolex 24 is mind blowing. We’ve got a great line-up and we should be competitive.”

Heart of Racing’s line-up will feature two Aston Martin drivers in its Rolex 24 crew. Aston Martin has secured the services of Alex Riberas as its AMR North America driver. The Spaniard is a multi-race winner at the GT Daytona level and has a wealth of experience having previously raced internationally for several manufacturers prior to signing with Aston Martin.

“I am extremely excited about joining Aston Martin, one of the strongest organisations in endurance racing,” said Riberas. “I have had a glimpse of their professionalism and their ambition to achieve great results, so to be a part of such an effort is definitely a dream come true. During the 2020 season my main focus will be in IMSA, where I will have the honour to represent AMR in their comeback year in the series. With the latest Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and the new AMR partner, Heart of Racing, we have everything we need to compete at the front of one of the most competitive fields in GT3 racing. The Rolex 24 simply cannot come soon enough.”

Riberas will join Aston Martin works driver and current FIA World Endurance Championship GTE leader Nicki Thiim in supporting Heart of Racing drivers Ian James and Roman de Angelis at the Rolex 24. Riberas and De Angelis will then form the regular season line-up for the rest of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where they will be joined by James for the longer endurance events.