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GTD 2022 Season Review: As Summer Heated Up, So Did De Angelis and No. 27 Aston Martin

The Heart of Racing Team Won the GTD Championship, Rallying from a Slow Start


By John Oreovicz


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) provided one of the most competitive classes in the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the title up for grabs right into the final laps of the campaign. But that’s nothing new; GTD has typically delivered down-to-the-wire racing since its inception.


Sharing the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with various co-drivers, Roman De Angelis used a midseason hot streak this year to pull ahead in the points chase. The 21-year-old Canadian built enough of an advantage that a challenging run to seventh place Saturday in the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta was enough to secure the rising sports car star’s first WeatherTech Championship title.


A DNF for De Angelis and teammates Ian James and Tom Gamble in Round 2 – the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – made for an early nadir to the effort. The comeback kickstarted in June when De Angelis and Ross Gunn finished second at Detroit. Three weeks later, De Angelis, Maxime Martin and James won the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.


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The following week, De Angelis and Martin made it back-to-back wins with a victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park that counted only for IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup points. Finishing second with Martin in the GT-only events at Lime Rock Park and VIRginia International Raceway then gave De Angelis the cushion he needed to prevail as champion at Michelin Raceway.


“I’m really happy to come out with the championship, and my teammates deserve it as much as I do, even though it only says my name on the points,” De Angelis said. “It was a difficult season, even in comparison to last year. I think we had a lot of good results and consistency last year, whereas this year we had the pace but we couldn’t put together a string of luck until midway through the season. We started to pick up momentum around Mosport (CTMP) and Watkins Glen.


“Definitely a lot of highs and lows.”


The No. 27 team’s win at Watkins Glen was memorable because the team’s GTD PRO entry driven by James, Gunn and Alex Riberas was awarded that class victory after the BMW that crossed the line first was demoted to the back of the class for a drive-time violation.


“I think getting a championship out of a lot of chaos and the different results we had this year shows how strong the GTD field was,” said De Angelis. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be with the team since they started with Aston Martin in 2020, and there’s definitely been a lot of growth within the team. Obviously, we now have a two-car program, and a lot of other things going on.


“Every year we keep growing and getting better and better, and that’s showing in the results. Hopefully, there is more growth that I continue to be a part of.”


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Jan Heylen and Ryan Hardwick earned second place in the championship in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, with wins in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. But those were the only two podiums the team achieved all year, and a fourth-place finish at Michelin Raceway with endurance driver Zacharie Robichon left them 23 points short of De Angelis’ total.


“This is the second time in two years that we’ve come just a handful of points shy of the championship,” Wright Motorsports owner John Wright said. “While it’s heartbreaking, it makes me so proud that each year we’re right there in the fight to the very end.”


Stevan McAleer (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) went winless but finished third in the standings, ahead of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3. A victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course boosted Auberlen’s win total to 65, career best among IMSA drivers in its top-level series, but it was not enough to overcome the early 200-point deficit that a DNF at Daytona put the team into.


Similarly, Russell Ward and Philip Ellis claimed two late wins at Road America and VIR in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes, but they ended the year fifth in the standings, 184 points behind De Angelis.


BMW claimed the GTD manufacturer championship, with The Heart of Racing earning honors for top team. De Angelis and the Heart of Racing nearly pulled off a repeat championship in the Sprint Cup, finishing second to Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW. Brendan Iribe, Jordan Pepper and the No. 70 inception racing McLaren 720S GT3 won the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.