Ian James has described The Heart of Racing’s double victory in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen as a “very proud moment” as the Aston Martin squad became the first team to win in both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD classes in the same race.
James shared the GTD class-winning No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Roman De Angelis and Maxime Martin, with the sister Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas-driven No. 23 entry taking top class honors in GTD Pro.
It came after drive time infractions for the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M4 GT3 and No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, which had both crossed the line first in their respective classes.
What’s more, Heart of Racing’s Pro-Am crewed No. 27 car finished ahead of its sister GTD Pro class No. 23 Aston, marking another first in series’ history.
“It means I can pay Alex and Ross less next year after beating them today!” said James, who also serves as team principal.
“Typically the Pro cars are a little bit ahead of us just because they all have stellar lineups and not a mix of drivers.
“These long races, it’s interesting, you just keep turning the laps down and keep hitting your marks.
“It was an unusual way to beat them but it will definitely last for a long time, the gratitude and enjoyment of beating the superstars in the other car.”
Silver-rated driver De Angelis brought the No. 27 Aston across the line on fumes, after stretching the fuel mileage to its maximum following the race restart from a one-hour long red flag period due to weather.
“Having to finish and watch fuel and everything was pretty intense,” said De Angelis.
“We thought that we were going to be OK to push with one lap to go and I got the fuel light far before [the] ‘we weren’t going to make’ it point.
“Running out [of fuel] in the last corner… It was just a very stressful race but I’m so happy to be a part of this team and all the success we’ve had.”
Gunn, meanwhile, was running sixth in the GTD Pro class with just five laps to go, prior to a series of late-race stops from his competitors for splashes of fuel.
“We were out of sequence on the pit stops because of earlier issues in the race,” the Aston Martin factory driver explained.
“That was in a way lucky for us because on the previous last pit stop for a lot of people, they pitted about ten laps before us.
“We knew that with 35 minutes remaining we could run to the end with no issue whereas a lot of our rivals were having to either fuel save massively or had to do a splash.
“To be honest, I wasn’t really kept in the picture that much as far as what was happening.
“I crossed the line and thought I was P5. Then I was told I was P2 and then about ten minutes after the race I was told we were P1.
“I’ll never forget that for sure.”
James added: “When we started this team in 2018, I never thought we could have two cars winning on the same day.
“It’s really a testament to everybody that works on the team, the dedication and hard work, the drivers what they do and Gabe Newell, who makes it happen for us. He makes our dreams come true.
“Yeah we kind of lucked into it at the end with drive times, fuel and stuff like that but we decided to save fuel with two hours to go. It wasn’t like there wasn’t a plan to get to the end.
“Even without the red flag we were looking pretty good than most the other cars.
“Obviously to be in the twilight of my [driving] career to be up here winning a race of this stature and to get to drive guys like Maxime and Roman and Ross and Alex in the other car…
“It’s just a very proud moment.”
Jonathan Grace contributed to this report