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Heart of Racing Ready for Triple Duty at Le Mans

24 Hours of Le Mans, Road to Le Mans and Fun Cup action for Heart of Racing Team on the same weekend…

Photo: The Heart of Racing

Heart of Racing Team is preparing for a multi-faceted effort at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the American squad set to compete in three different championships at the Circuit de La Sarthe on the same weekend.

In addition to its LMGT3 entry in the 92nd running of the French endurance classic, in which team principal Ian James will share the No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo with Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas, the team will also be present in two of the series on the support bill.

The team’s partnership with SPS Automotive Performance that has mainly competed in 24H Series races will be in action on the Road to Le Mans races while Heart of Racing is also set to feature in Friday’s Fun Cup race, which returns to the Le Mans support bill for the first time since 2021.

“It’s kind of a cool event,” James told Sportscar365. “I think we’re probably the only team that’s represented in three events here at Le Mans this weekend.

“We have the two Hannahs [Grisham and Greenemeier] that race in SRO [America] with us in the VW Fun Cup, a four-hour race on Friday.

“And then Gray Newell will be in the Road to Le Mans. One of our Mercedes-AMGs, we’re doing that race, and then obviously the three of us here in the big race.”

Newell’s co-driver in the Road to Le Mans races, Valentin Pierburg, has significant experience at the wheel of Mercedes-AMG machinery, notably taking a Pro-Am class win at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa in 2022.

“Valentin has a history with SPS, who we do a partnership with on running the Mercedes, so that made good sense,” James said.

“And because [Gray is] probably misclassified as a Silver in the FIA ratings, we needed to bring a Bronze in beside him.

“So Valentin’s a Bronze, but it’s more of an experience for those guys around the track and the event.”

James explained that the operations of two GT3 efforts will be entirely split during the week, with effectively no crossover.

“[The Road to Le Mans team] will be running out of our box during the race, but it is pretty separate operation for this event, especially,” said James.

“Normally, we have quite a few people interlaced with that program. But here, it’s separate.”

For the Fun Cup effort, where GT4 America Am-class race winners Grisham and Greenemeier will drive together, Heart of Racing has enlisted the support of series specialists M3M Racing, based out of Belgium.

The partnership began last year, when Heart of Racing contested the 25-hour Fun Cup race at Spa-Francorchamps .

“We will be doing [that] again next month,” James said. “We do it in the two-seater car. So we get to bring guests along and we rotate 35 to 40 guests through the car during the 25-hour race.

“We thought this was a good opportunity for the Hannahs to get a chance to drive around Le Mans.

“Even at Spa, the draft is worth nearly 20 kilometers an hour. So I can’t imagine what this is going to be like here.

“But for sure, they’re two of the lightest drivers and that’s a big deal in the Fun Cup. So they’ll go well, I’m sure.”

In addition to Heart of Racing’s own efforts, the team’s longtime driver Roman De Angelis is making his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in Algarve Pro Racing’s Oreca 07 Gibson in LMP2.

“It’s never good when your boss and your teammates are in another class and you have to pass them!” De Angelis told Sportscar365.

“So I have to behave myself a lot in traffic against those guys. Now I’m the problem so I have to be pretty careful about what I do.

“I don’t want Ian, Alex and Dani to be too upset with me. I’m going to give them tons of room.”

John Dagys contributed to this report

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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