Roman De Angelis was so surprised by his Garage 59 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour call-up he thought it was a “joke”.
The Canadian will share the No. 159 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Andrew Watson and Oliver Hart at this weekend’s Intercontinental GT Challenge season opener.
Making his Mount Panorama debut at 18 years old, the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada champion is one of 25 drivers arriving from the Rolex 24 at Daytona last weekend, where he competed in The Heart of Racing Aston Martin.
In the midst of studying engineering at college, De Angelis “didn’t really find” out about Bathurst until two weeks ago and made the late decision to compete in back-to-back events.
“I went through last weekend figuring out what I would do with school, how I would do with flights and everything like that,” he told Sportscar365.
“Met with my school last Monday and made the decision Monday night when I was going to do Bathurst or not; a week from when I was flying to Australia was when I made the decision basically.
“So fresh in my head, I’m really excited; I didn’t have much time to prepare mentally for it but it was a bucket list race for me and to have two of my favorite races that I’ve always wanted to do back-to-back is pretty cool.
“I almost honestly thought it was a joke when I got the email whether I wanted to do it or not; it just didn’t seem real to me.
“It’s kind of the same feeling when I got my full-season IMSA deal this year and the Daytona deal last year.
“I think maybe when I get back home it will sink in; it’s such an amazing race.
“I watch it every year, all-pro lineups. We’re in the Silver class so there will be less pressure but it would still be cool to win our class and stand on the podium.”
De Angelis Working on Additional Outings
De Angelis admitted he’s progressed ‘quicker than he thought he would’ through the ranks, debuting at Daytona last year as a one-off with WRT Speedstar Audi Sport before scoring a full-season IMSA drive with The Heart of Racing in an Aston Martin.
He said his Bathurst drive is the start of a “really big year” as he works on adding to his racing program this year.
“My dream was to do Daytona and I got to check that off last year so to now have a full-time GT ride is pretty amazing,” he commented.
“It happened pretty quick but the progression was always something that I guess I never really saw happening as quick as it did but when it did it was kind of like, ‘Oh my God we made it’.
“I think in general I don’t have a lot of GT3 experience. I’m still trying to get comfortable with ABS and everything like that so now I think any time in the car is positive.
“Just learning [Bathurst], still learning a new car with the engine in the front versus the engine in the back in the Porsche. All the experience will add up.”