Optimistic season-opener: Fourth place at Rolex 24

For several years now, Mario Farnbacher hasn’t been able to imagine life without the traditional Daytona 24 Hours season-opener. However, 2024 sees a new beginning for him: from now on, he’ll be at the start of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as a regular driver for the Heart of Racing team. And that right away with a first success: a fourth place at the season opener in Daytona.

Together with Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas, he’ll be driving the newest version of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the endurance classic’s 62nd edition. After 24 hours the trio was delighted to celebrate a GTD PRO class fourth place at the new British car’s racing premiere in the 24 Hours.

“All in all, we are very satisfied with the weekend. We put in a good performance that we can build on”, said the 31-year-old. “Unfortunately, it emerged from the word go, that we wouldn’t be able to quite keep up with the frontrunner pace. But we didn’t give up, kept fighting and were finally rewarded with a fourth place in this highly competitive GTD PRO. Of course, it’s always annoying to narrowly miss the podium, but basically our delight about this successful debut is far greater,” said the 31-year-old.

It was also Farnbacher’s return to the Heart of Racing team. Up till 2016, the German had been at the wheel for the Ian James squad several times. And the return went almost without any problem for the trio: only a contact during the night forced the team to change the front part of the car. Apart from this brief pit stop, the trio drove a faultless race and managed to stay out of any incidents.

“The entire team did a fantastic job and provided us with a top-prepared car. Naturally, I had to learn quite a bit about the new car and the new team as the upfront test phase was limited. I think we’ll now be heading in the right direction at the next race in Sebring and can make an all-out attack,” the Heart of Racing pilot added.

The next IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup race is scheduled for 16. March when the 72nd 12 Hours of Sebring is on the agenda.

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