Ross Gunn says he has high hopes for his first season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having recently been confirmed as a full-time driver with the GT Daytona class-contending The Heart of Racing outfit.
The 24-year-old Aston Martin factory pilot will team up with Roman De Angelis for the remainder of the season, it was announced in the build-up to this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge presented by the TLX Type S at Mid-Ohio.
While starting the season with the Florida-based team, Gunn’s full-season participation in the No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 had not been confirmed until after the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, where he teamed with De Angelis and team principal Ian James for a third place class finish.
Gunn, who has been a standout among AMR’s factory roster in the FIA World Endurance Championship admitted that he’s been trying to find his way into the WeatherTech Championship “for years.”
“I’ve always seen it as a series that’s in a very similar level to WEC in terms of competition and teams and everything,” he told Sportscar365.
“It’s great to be here. I feel like I’ve got a good team and teammate with me and also co-driving the endurance races with Ian.
“Our aims are pretty high. We’ve had a good start to the year and picked up good points and we want to continue that trend for the rest of the year.”
Gunn is one of the few AMR factory drivers to have landed a full-season seat on behalf of the British manufacturer following its exit from factory WEC competition at the end of last year.
Both 2019-20 GTE champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen are yet to secure full-time rides, while Gunn, who enjoyed success with Paul Dalla Lana’s GTE-Am effort in recent years, has been given the nod for the North American program.
“I’m very thankful for AMR for pushing me into this position,” Gunn said. “They have a lot of great drivers on the books with them. I’m sure they’ll be out racing very, very soon.
“It’s a bit of a transitional year for everybody.
“I feel like I performed very well in the last two years in particular and I think that’s helped my case to continue with a really high-level program like this.
“I just need to make the most of it. I’ve got a program in Europe with TF Sport and see where we are at the end of the year.”
Gunn said he’s been doing a “little bit of everything” in his preparation for the season ahead, from sim work to leaning on the knowledge of James and De Angelis, who were full-season co-drivers in the car last year.
“[It’s been] mainly simulator because all of the tracks bar two are brand-new to me,” he said. “I’m having to make sure I come here fully prepared and there’s no excuses.
“Roman and Ian have a lot of experience around these circuits so I’m trying to be as much of a sponge as I possibly can. That’s the most important thing because while I’m here to perform and do a good job for the team I’m also need to learn.
“So far it’s been very good. They’re very easy to understand and I’ve enjoyed the process so far.”
Gunn and De Angelis head into Sunday’s first sprint race of the season effectively second in the GTD standings, 41 points behind leader Patrick Long as the team seeks its elusive first victory.
Maro Engel, who is classified second in the championship courtesy of his roles in the opening two Michelin Endurance Cup races, is not present this weekend.
“Our mentality is the same as it’s always been: to not make a mistake,” Gunn said. “If you make a mistake in this championship and drop points in a race it will really, really hurt the championship.
“So far we’ve stayed out of all trouble. We haven’t had any issues in the first two rounds and that’s our aim.
“Of course with the sprint races there’s a bit of a different mentality where you want to be a little more aggressive and go for moves. But it’s in my nature to never go too far.
“Points are very important and that’a our aim this weekend. Of course we want to win but we want to get as much points as we possibly can for this track.”