Ross Gunn said he and Roman De Angelis were focused on securing the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup title despite Saturday’s drive potentially taking points away from their season-long haul.
The Heart of Racing duo recorded a fifth place GT Daytona class finish in the Sprint Cup season-ending Michelin GT Challenge, enough to be crowned champions in the season-within-a-season championship.
It came after a roller-coaster day for the No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 that ran as high as fourth and could have potentially capitalized on a final-lap skirmish between Jack Hawksworth and Patrick Long for third.
“Today was a tough race,” said Gunn. “It was very tough. I made a bit of a silly mistake in the pit stop, which I was very angry with. But we kept fighting.
“The beauty of Virginia is that you can see 10 or 20 seconds down the road, so you can see where everyone is. I knew we had it in the bag.
“When things went off on the last lap with the two cars in front of us I knew that I shouldn’t really stick my nose in to at least clinch this title.”
When asked by Sportscar365 if he considered making a run for a potential podium finish to help their season-long points situation, Gunn admitted that it was “very tempting.”
“This track is very narrow in places and it doesn’t take a lot to have an incident or for somebody to have a mistake,” he explained.
“We saw a few incidents today. For sure it was in the back of my mind but I wanted to get this title secured.
“Potentially, it’s hurt the other title a little bit but our aim this weekend was to clinch this [Sprint Cup] title. We’ve done that and we’re very proud of everybody.”
Gunn and De Angelis head into next month’s season-long title-decider third in the standings, 177 points behind Pfaff Motorsports’ Laurens Vanthoor and Zach Robichon, who claimed GTD victory on Sunday.
“The team did an amazing job the whole race to ensure to be in a position [where] we could be to win the Sprint title but also grab points for the overall, which we’re still fighting for,” said De Angelis.
“I couldn’t be prouder at everyone at The Heart of Racing.”
Gunn added: “It’s a massive honor to be in this championship in the first place but to do it with such a great bunch of people and great team and have such a successful year, it’s been an amazing journey.
“Roman has done a phenomenal job. He’s a real star of the future and he’s going to go a long, long way. He’s made my life much easier this year with putting me in positions to fight for race wins and podiums.
“We go to Petit with an outside chance of winning the overall. A lot of things can happen. We’ll do the best job we possibly can and see how it goes.
“Anything can happen at Petit. We’ll be turning up there 100 percent ready to go and we’ll see how it goes.”