Roman De Angelis was left nearly speechless after getting the news that he and co-driver Ross Gunn inherited the GT Daytona class victory in Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle following a post-race infraction for CarBahn by Peregrine Racing.
De Angelis and Gunn finished second on the road in their No. 23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 although a post-race audit by IMSA demoted the Jeff Westphal and Richard Heistand-driven Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo to last in class due to the car not meeting the minimum refueling time during its full fuel load stop.
It marked both drivers’ and the Ian James-led team’s first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win, albeit it under unusual circumstances.
“It’s been a really good weekend but a win’s a win,” said De Angelis. “Whether you take it after the race or during the race, it’s always going to say that we won the Detroit Grand Prix in 2021.
“I’ve always dreamt about winning an IMSA race, let alone competing in one. I still don’t really know what to say. It hit us all really quickly.
“To say that we won the Detroit Grand Prix and that The Heart of Racing finally won their first race with the Aston Martin is just unbelievable. I can’t be more proud and happy of the whole team.”
Gunn, an Aston Martin factory driver, took over second position in the closing ten minutes of the 100-minute contest when gearbox failure led to the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Bill Auberlen stopping on track.
It brought out the race’s second full-course caution and led to a three-minute shootout to the finish.
“We’ve had a really strong weekend,” said Gunn. “We didn’t expect it to be our best circuit but we hit the ground running and the team did an awesome job setting up the car.
“Of course, it’s not the circumstances that you want to get your first IMSA win but a win is a win.
“We’re very happy and we want to take this momentum forward to Watkins Glen.”
De Angelis added: “As the race went on, the car came to us. Once we got our tires up to temperature, we were able to reel in the Audi a little bit.
“When Ross got in the car, he did an amazing job also to get us back in the podium position that just changed into a win.”