Team Adds New-But-Familiar Faces to IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Rounds
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2024 season is rapidly approaching for The Heart of Racing (HOR), which will utilize an updated driver lineup along with the latest iteration of Aston Martin Vantage GT3-spec machinery. The team is pleased to announce that multi-IMSA WeatherTech Championship winner Mario Farnbacher will join Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) entry as an endurance and reserve driver. Zacharie Robichon will join the No. 27 Heart of Racing GTD reigning Rolex 24 winners of Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen, and HOR Team Principal Ian James.
Gunn and Riberas will team up for the duo’s third season together, with the GTD PRO drivers having scored victories at Long Beach Street Circuit, Watkins Glen International, Lime Rock Park, and Road America as well as taking podium finishes at Lime Rock Park, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A friendly fan favorite outside of the car, Farnbacher has proven to be intensely competitive when he is behind the wheel, with multiple championships and victories to his credit. He is also a familiar face for many in The Heart of Racing family, having served as a co-driver with Riberas and James for three seasons (2014-16). The trio scored three wins and five additional podiums over the three-season span.
Farnbacher moves to HOR after several successful seasons as an Acura and Honda Performance Development (HPD) driver, scoring the 2019 and 2020 WeatherTech Championship GTD championships with Meyer Shank Racing.
“I’m super excited to join The Heart of Racing Team,” said Farnbacher. “You could even say I’m heading ‘back to my roots.’ I pretty much started my American racing career with Ian (James) and Alex (Riberas) in 2014. I had three amazing years with those guys and I’m excited to get to race with them again. I’ve known Ian for a long time now, a big thank you to him and Gabe (Newell) for giving me the chance to join the No. 23 (GTD) PRO car. I’m really looking forward to the challenge. The Vantage GT3 is different from the Acura NSX that I have been driving, but I think the package of the Aston Martin is great. I think we will be really competitive even with the evolution with the new Vantage GT3. The IMSA test in December will be my first time in the Aston. I’m looking forward to getting to know the car and how it operates. I’m happy to be where I’m at right now and I can’t wait to get the season started!”
The No. 27 Heart of Racing GTD entry will continue to be piloted by 2022 WeatherTech Championship GTD champion and 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Roman De Angelis. Following a strong 2023 season, the Canadian racer has seen his driver ranking adjusted to Gold as he takes on a new role with the team in his fifth season with the organization.
Joining De Angelis for the famed Florida race will be his 2023 season teammate Sorensen and James, the trio was joined by Darren Turner in 2023 to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the GTD category. The De Angelis/Sorensen duo went on to win at Lime Rock Park and score a runner up finish at Long Beach Street Circuit and the pair finished the 2023 season second in the GTD championship points standings.
The newest addition to the No. 27 Aston Martin team, Robichon is no stranger to the 3.56-mile speedway road course. Robichon has five starts at Daytona International Speedway with a Rolex 24 win in the GTD category in 2022. In 2021, the Canadian secured the WeatherTech Championship GTD championship with Pfaff Motorsports with wins at Sebring International Raceway, Road America, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and VIRginia International Raceway.
“I’m thrilled at the chance to join the Heart of Racing for this year’s Michelin Endurance Cup,” said Robichon. “They’ve had lots of success the last few years and I’m hoping to be able to add to their impressive list of results this coming season. It will be a big change for me, but I know the team will help get me up to speed quickly. I’m especially looking forward to sharing the car with Roman this year. We’ve hoped to have the opportunity to race together for many years now and I believe the time is right! I can’t thank the team enough for trusting me as we head to a new year.”
As the team looks to continue to build momentum from a strong 2023 WeatherTech Championship season, the addition of Farnbacher and Robichon to the team is providing even more reason for optimism ahead of the 2024 season.
“We are thrilled to have Mario and Zach join our team for Daytona,” said James. “Mario has shown he has the pace and has won several championships in different series and we believe he will be a great addition to The Heart of Racing Team. Zach is another IMSA championship winner and Rolex 24 winner, we couldn’t be more excited to have him join the team.”