Ross Gunn said getting TRG and co-driver Derek DeBoer quickly acquainted with the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is the main target heading into his Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS campaign.
Gunn will team up with Bronze-rated DeBoer aboard a Pro-Am entered Aston Martin. The season kicks off at Sonoma Raceway at the end of March.
DeBoer, a long-time TRG competitor in Pirelli GT4 America driving machinery from the likes of Porsche and Aston Martin, steps up to full-season GT3 competition for the first time in his career.
For the Petaluma, Calif.-based squad, the move represents a return to GT3 competition for the first time since 2018.
As a result, both team and driver embark on a new challenge by campaigning Aston Martin’s current-gen GT3 challenger.
Gunn told Sportscar365 he considers it an important objective to make sure that both the Kevin Buckler-led operation and its veteran driver get familiar with the new car as quickly as possible.
“It’s very exciting to be racing in America,” Gunn told Sportscar365. “I’ve had the last few years of racing in IMSA, so I know the majority of the tracks.
“It sounds like [TRG] have big plans coming back with Aston and it’ll be interesting to see how they go this year.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a new year, learning the car for them with the Aston GT3 and my job as a works driver is to help them get up to speed as quickly as possible.
“Of course, they’ve got a big history in GT racing, and they’ve done a lot over the years, but the level in GT racing nowadays is at an all-time high.
“You’ve got some incredible teams, incredible drivers, manufacturers that are on board and part of my job is to try and help them get as competitive as possible as quickly as possible.”
Gunn further explained that there’s a lot of ground to be gained for the new pairing by getting closely involved with coaching DeBoer.
DeBoer’s lenghty sports car racing resume only contains a single previous start in GT3 machinery, having contested the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona in a TRG-entered Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.
“I’ll be trying to coach him and help him as much as possible, because in Pro-Am racing, the bronze drive time is probably the most critical time of the race,” Gunn said.
“The difference between the ability level of the drivers is massive, whereas the pro drivers are very much covered within a few tenths.
“So when you’re in a Pro-Am lineup, your main responsibility really is to help your surroundings and not yourself so much, which is something that I’ve been able to get used to over the years.
“I’ve raced in Pro-Am lineups all over the world in many different categories and series.
“Although I still feel like I’m very much at the start of my career in general, I have a lot of experience in that field to hopefully help them achieve their goals this season.”
WeatherTech Championship Takes Priority in ‘Busy Year’
Gunn labels 2023 as the “busiest year” of his career, as his program is split between three different series with the British marque.
In addition to his program with TRG, he is also signed up for a full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign with The Heart of Racing and will dovetail that with a season in Intelligent Money British GT Championship with Beechdean AMR.
“It’ll be a super busy year,” Gunn explained. “I’m at that age where I’m still wanting to race as much as possible and keep gaining as much experience.
“Fundamentally I love what I do, and I’m very fortunate to do this as a full-time job. So long may it continue.”
While there are no clashes between his WeatherTech Championship and GTWC America commitments, British GT events at Portimao and Snetterton clash with races at Lime Rock Park (WeatherTech Championship) and VIR (GTWC America), respectively.
Gunn said that a decision is yet to be taken with regards to those clashes, but underlined that his program with Heart of Racing will take priority in any arrangements.
“That’s a decision that will be taken by Aston Martin at some point in the year as to where they want me to be placed,” he said.
“IMSA is my priority championship, so that will take priority over everything.
“After that, it’ll be down to Aston Martin Racing to decide where they want to put me. But that’s a decision that they’ll have and they’ll take at some point during the season.”