Three years after its last involvement in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, Heart of Racing is readying a return to the GT Daytona class with a new union involving Aston Martin.
Former Alex Job Racing/Heart of Racing driver Ian James is leading the assembly of a brand-new full-time program, where Heart of Racing will become a standalone entrant using crew members specifically hired to run the program.
A call to James was not immediately returned.
Under the Heart of Racing banner, businessman and philanthropist Gabe Newell used the IMSA effort to raise significant funds in conjunction with Team Seattle for the Seattle Children’s hospital during the most recent racing campaign that ran from 2014-2016 with AJR.
The move not only brings Heart of Racing and Team Seattle back to the WeatherTech Championship paddock, but also returns Aston Martin to the grid where the British marque made its last GTD appearance in 2016. Heart of Racing will rely on the twin-turbo V8 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 model for James and a driver roster to be named in the coming weeks.
For James, the chance to reunite with Newell comes after his most recent endeavor in GT racing where he both drove and managed the Panoz Avezzano GT4 effort in World Challenge.
With Panoz having wound down its factory program at the conclusion of the 2019 GT4 America championship after capturing the Sprint, SprintX, and Teams titles, the Briton’s ability and availability to lead Team Seattle on and off the track should accelerate its debut in IMSA’s hotly contested GTD category.
Signing Aston Martin to partner with the new team is another accomplishment for James, Newell, and the other, unnamed principals at Heart of Racing. The team is expected to make its debut at the January 3-5 Roar Before The 24 at Daytona International Speedway.