Alex Riberas and Roman De Angelis have been confirmed as full-season drivers in The Heart of Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Aston Martin factory driver and current FIA World Endurance Championship GTE points leader Nicki Thiim will join the team for next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, with team manager Ian James set to climb behind the wheel for the four-round IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races.
Riberas, a driver for The Heart of Racing from 2014-16 under its previous guise at Alex Job Racing, makes his IMSA return after a planned full-season program with Moorespeed was called off mid-season this year.
The 25-year-old Spaniard is expected to also take an increased role within Aston Martin as a North American-based factory driver.
“I have many great memories of being with this team and very much believe that we have the ability, given the car, the crew, and the driver line up, to start up where we left off – winning races and raising money for Team Seattle,” Riberas said.
“The competition is fierce in the GTD class, but I’m confident in the team Ian has put together.”
De Angelis is coming off a dominant season in Porsche’s single-make series, becoming the first driver to win the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada championships in the same year.
The 18-year-old, who made his WeatherTech Championship debut in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona alongside James in a WRT Speedstar-entered Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, is now set for his rookie season in GT3 competition.
“Endurance racing has always been my dream,” De Angelis said. “To be making my second start in the 24 Hours of Daytona at the age of 18, as a full-season driver in the IMSA GTD class, is something that I would never have dreamt of.
“In addition, to be partnered with a brand so rich in racing history like Aston Martin, is an absolute dream come true.
“A few weeks ago, I was in a situation not knowing what I would be doing in the 2020 racing season which is a scary thought coming off a strong year last year.
“I cannot thank the Aston Martin Racing/The Heart of Racing team enough for putting faith in me, to not only be back in a race car, but to be put in such a high level of competition with a prestigious brand and well-prepared team is incredible.”
James, who will take on a dual role as team manager/driver, said it’s a “very exciting” opportunity for he and the newly formed team. which will be based in Florida.
“I have been working with Alex for years and he has proven himself to be one of the top GT drivers in the world,” James said. “Roman has had an amazing season this year, and like in 2014 with Alex, this program tries to give young talent the opportunity to shine.
“I’m delighted that I still get to be behind the wheel and am grateful to Aston Martin for assigning Nicki Thiim to us, whose knowledge and experience of the car will be extremely helpful to get the team up to speed at the Roar.”