David Heinemeier Hansson says the timing was right for a full-time return to the North American sports car racing scene as he prepares for an assault on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class with 3GT Racing.
The Dane has focussed his racing efforts on the FIA World Endurance Championship since finishing second in the 2012 American Le Mans Series LMP2 championship with Conquest Racing, but has watched the progression of IMSA from afar with a jealous eye over the past several seasons.
Heinemeier Hansson said the combination of momentum behind the series, a strong team, and the desire to pursue fresh challenges made the decision to come to IMSA full time an easy one.
“I’ve raced in the WEC for many years now and it seems like if you want to do GT racing right now, IMSA really has a good thing going on,” Heinemeier Hansson told Sportscar365. “I think IMSA in general is just on a great upswing.
“I love the WEC, I love going to Le Mans, I love going to all those tracks, but I also like to mix it up.
“In my time racing, I’ve raced pretty much with a different team, in a different car, with a different make, in a different category every year.
“Part of that is that I do this for fun. I don’t do it to be a professional, I just do it to entertain myself and part of that entertainment is that you mix it up and try something new.
“I’ve been kind of envious of the people who get to race in IMSA, especially the NAEC.
“I love Sebring, it’s my second favorite track in the world after Le Mans. I love Petit Le Mans. I’ve never been able to drive Watkins Glen yet which everyone tells me is amazing.
“This opportunity came around at the right time with the right offering and the right components so I felt like it was a good time to give it a go and come back to IMSA and the U.S..”
Over the course of his career Heinemeier Hansson has sampled a wide array of makes and models, but outside of a single test five years ago, GT3 machinery was brand new to him before signing on with the Gentilozzi family run team.
He said the early returns have been positive but noted driving the Lexus RC F GT3 has taken some adjustment, especially regarding the ABS system.
“It’s a really interesting change,” he said. “In some ways the car is better than any other I’ve driven before.
“In terms of braking the ABS system, which I’ve never truly run before, is a truly bizarre thing.
“You can simply just floor the brake pedal and the car magically just stops at the same spot every time.
“Prior to getting into the car I had my reservations. I think managing and perfecting the braking phase is a key component of racing, but it’s fun to try something else.”
DHH Exploring Le Mans Options
Heinemeier Hansson indicated he would like to add a seventh career start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his resume, but said he’s reluctant to add too much more to his plate given the strenuous nature of the IMSA schedule.
The 2014 GTE-Am class winner at La Sarthe noted that as long as the program has a chance to win the race he does not care if it comes in Prototype or GT machinery.
“For me, getting to Le Mans is very high on the wish list,” he said. “I’m still working on that part of the program and we’ll see if that lines up with something that requires additional races.
“IMSA is already a very long calendar with eleven races and the number of track hours is staggering. We’ll see.
“This is not what I do for a living, this is a hobby. There are also limits to just how much you can indulge that.”