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Adelson, De Angelis Motoring to Long Beach with Momentum

No. 120 Wright Porsche and No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Drivers Want to Build on Promising Sebring Results


By Mark Robinson


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Fresh off impressive performances in the latest IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, a pair of veteran Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) teams integrating new elements in 2024 are looking to carry that momentum to the next race.


Wright Motorsports is fielding a pair of full-season drivers new to the WeatherTech Championship this year, yet that didn’t hold the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) back from finishing third at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac on March 16. The Heart of Racing Team is still figuring out the new Evo version of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 yet managed a fourth-place result at Sebring in the No. 27 entry. As a result, drivers from both teams are looking ahead to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with renewed vigor following their Sebring successes.


Adam Adelson is paired with long-time driver coach Elliott Skeer in the No. 120 Wright Porsche. While the duo has raced together in other series, including last year with Nolasport in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, both made their WeatherTech Championship debut in January in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Teaming with Fred Makowiecki and Jan Heylen, they finished seventh before Adelson, Skeer and Heylen survived the bumps and surprises of Sebring to reach the GTD podium.


Adelson, who logged the opening three hours in the car, used the words “incredible” and “amazing” several times describing what it felt like to finish third in just his second series race. He battled through opening-lap contact with another car and a drive-through penalty for running the red light at pit exit before turning it over to Skeer and Heylen.


“To be able to have qualified the car, taken the start and did my first ever triple stint from the start all the way to the end of my minimum drive-time requirements makes it even more special for me,” Adelson said, “just because I felt like what I did out there on track and surviving what I survived and enduring what I endured really helped us get that result – more than my participation in some other races may have helped get good results. It’s just an incredible feeling to participate in my second-ever WeatherTech race, my favorite one on the calendar at least as a fan, and to walk away with hardware.”


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Roman De Angelis is in his fifth full season with the Heart of Racing Team. The seven-time race winner and 2022 GTD season champion teamed with fellow Canadian Zacharie Robichon and team principal Ian James at Sebring for the fourth-place showing, following the car’s early retirement at Daytona due to mechanical issues with the new Aston Martin Vantage making its debut.


“I don’t think we had the outright pace of the (winning) Mercedes and the Porsche and even the (second-place) Ferrari in the GTD class, so honestly myself and the team were very happy with the fourth-place result,” De Angelis said. “If you consider all the events that happened in Sebring in those 12 hours like it always does, it’s a bit of a messy race. If you could be sitting in the top five at the end of the race and gather some good points with a car that rolled into the trailer without any damage, it’s always a good outlook.


“We’d like to win races and we’d like to get trophies, but there’s one trophy at the end of the year that kind of matters the most that people remember,” De Angelis added. “So, we’re just trying to build some points up after our struggle in Daytona and just keep progressing and keep getting good results.”


The No. 27 Aston Martin still sits a distant 14th in the GTD standings, 330 points behind the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 that’s won the first two events. The No. 120 Porsche is third in class, 155 points in back of the leader. But with eight races remaining and GTD fields ranging from 17 to 22 cars the rest of the way, no one has given up championship aspirations.


De Angelis believes the way the Aston Martin handled the notorious bumps of Sebring makes it a contender for the similarly rough street circuit in Long Beach.


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“Actually, Long Beach is probably a bit smoother (than Sebring),” he said. “In the past we’ve had good success there – the (GTD PRO) car won there before, we had a podium there last year – so we know that the team understands what needs to be done in order to have a fast car at Long Beach. Once again, we’re just going to go into that weekend and gather as many points as we can without making any mistakes.”


Adelson, meanwhile, is relying on the homecourt advantage since he lives in Los Angeles, as well as the 100-minute race length.


“Sprint format is really where I have all of my experience,” he said, “so I feel like the mentality of just full pedal to the metal for the entirety of the races is honestly the one that I’m more comfortable with and have more experience with.


“I have a special affinity towards street tracks,” Adelson added. “I love them, I love the high-risk nature of them and the precision driving that they require. And it’s my home race too; I live in Los Angeles and it makes me even more excited to be able to sleep in my own bed, take my dog for a walk in the morning and then show up at the racetrack. It gives you an additional level of relaxation and mental clarity that I feel like you might not be able to get when you’re traveling.”


The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach begins with practice and qualifying on Friday, April 19. The race airs live at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 20 on USA Network. Tickets are available at gplb.com.