We mentioned this in our social media and hinted to it as well but now the news is out, our very own Paul Charsley joins Ian James in leading Aston Martin’s return to racing in the US with the Heart of Racing Team.
Paul joins the team to operate as the Sporting Manager alongside Ian and the Heart of Racing team’s Aston Martin car. We’ve interviewed Ian on many occasions and he’s a terrific guy and driver. It’s clear to see why he takes the helm of Heart of Racing and why Paul has joined to assist. Here is the official press release:
Drivers Confirmed for The Heart of Racing’s Return to IMSA GTD
Dec. 19, 2019. Debary, FL. – The Heart of Racing returns to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class with full-season drivers Alex Riberas and Roman De Angelis. The pair will be joined behind the wheel of the #23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 by Ian James for the four endurance races. Completing the Daytona ROAR driver lineup is Aston Martin works driver Nikki Thiim.
Riberas, a driver for The Heart of Racing team in 2014 through 2016, secured his first WeatherTech Championship Victory when the team won at Sebring in 2015. Since then Riberas has enjoyed success finishing second in the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and in the 2017 Asian Le Mans Series’ GT class.
De Angelis joins the team following a very successful 2019 campaign. De Angelis made history in 2019 as the first driver of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Canada and USA series to win both titles in the same year.
James returns to the team as both Team Manager and Endurance Driver, a similar role to his duties with Team Panoz Racing this past season in GT4 America. “This is a very exciting opportunity for me and the team,” said James. “I have been working with Alex for years and he has proven himself to be one of the top GT drivers in the world. Roman has had an amazing season this year, and like in 2014 with Alex, this program tries to give young talent the opportunity to shine. I’m delighted that I still get to be behind the wheel and am grateful to Aston Martin for assigning Nicki Thiim to us, whose knowledge and experience of the car will be extremely helpful to get the team up to speed at the ROAR.”
“I am extremely honored to be asked to join the Heart of Racing Team in this role and be able to work with such a talented team and group of drivers, especially of course my good friend Ian James. I’m going to do everything I can to maximize my experience and knowledge to help push this brand new team and car ( the amazing GT3 vantage) to success. There’s a lot to do and a short time to do it but I believe we have all the right elements to achieve some top results in the season to come”.
“Also I can’t wait to give the many fans of TPF a little insight into the life of a team in top flight Sportscar Racing “
“Delighted to be back racing with this program. I have many great memories of being with this team and very much believe that we have the ability, given the car, the crew, and the driver line up, to start up where we left off – winning races and raising money for Team Seattle. The competition is fierce in the GTD class, but I’m confident in the team Ian has put together.”
Roman De Angelis:
“Endurance racing has always been my dream. To be making my second start in the 24 Hours of Daytona at the age of 18, as a full-season driver in the IMSA GTD class, is something that I would never have dreamt of. In addition, to be partnered with a brand so rich in racing history like Aston Martin, is an absolute dream come true. A few weeks ago, I was in a situation not knowing what I would be doing in the 2020 racing season which is a scary thought coming off a strong year last year. I cannot thank the Aston Martin Racing/The Heart of Racing team enough for putting faith in me, to not only be back in a race car, but to be put in such a high level of competition with a prestigious brand and well-prepared team is incredible. I am looking forward to working with the team for the first time at the ROAR, as well as working alongside new teammates, Nicki and Alex, and Ian James who I had the pleasure of co-driving with in last year’s Daytona 24. I am more than excited to build on last years’ experience of the 24, and to get started with the team on our 2020 campaign.”
So, what happens over here while Charsley’s out running the team? Who’ll step in as your racing expert? (Don’t look at me, I’ve never driven anything even remotely fast.)