Ian James says he’s “super proud” of The Heart of Racing’s runner-up class finish in last weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, marking the program’s best result to date.
The new-for-2020 GT Daytona operation scored its fourth top-five result in the final five IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races of the season after being “legitimately” in the fight for the podium all race long.
James, who doubles as the team manager, shared driving duties of the No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Roman de Angelis and Aston Martin factory driver Darren Turner.
“Anybody that knows racing it’s all about momentum,” James told Sportscar365.
“We’ve been gradually getting better and better and learning about the car and the processes and fine-tuning the team.
“This is just a testament to that.
“We got a bit of luck there in the end with the incident but we were in the hunt all day.
We had a fuel rig issue and lost about 40 seconds in one of our stops.
“We were legitimately in the fight for a podium all day. I’m super proud of everything that we have achieved here in the team.”
While having a challenging start to its campaign with a race-ending accident in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and skipping the following two rounds due to safety-related COVID-19 concerns, James said their persistence has paid off.
“We’re lucky to have a couple of great owners in Gabe [Newell] and Yahn [Bernier],” he said. “We took a cautious approach to returning post-COVID outbreak.
“It was hard. We didn’t go to the track for five months and we lost a little bit of direction just because we weren’t working on things we needed to.
“As soon as we got back at it, we hit it hard. I think everybody in the class sees that we’re somebody to worry about for next year.”
“We’re ready to capitalize on this and hope to be on the top step next year.”
Turner: “Good Way” to End Season
Aston Martin ace Turner, who joined the team for the final three Michelin Endurance Cup races of the season, said the second place result was great way to finish what he said has been a “strange” season.
Turner was initially due to complete the FIA World Endurance Championship season until getting replaced by Augusto Farfus following the 6 Hours of COTA round in February.
Coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Englishman ended up not mounting a full-season program in any series.
“It was a really good way to finish the season, and for me personally it was fantastic to have another good result at Sebring,” Turner said. “I am just really happy for everyone.
“It’s been a strange season. We started the year on the podium out in COTA and then COVID-19 came along and completely interrupted everyone’s plans.
“But it did give me this wonderful opportunity to finish the season with three races in IMSA, thanks to The Heart of Racing.
“I’ve really enjoyed racing with Roman and Ian, and the team has been fantastic.”
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report