Canadian businessman and gentlemen racer Paul Dalla Lana announced his retirement from racing on Monday (April 24), according to a statement released by Aston Martin. According to reports, Dalla Lana needs to stop racing and devote more effort to his enterprises. The outcome is the end of NorthWest AMR as we know it.
At the very least as far back as 2009, when he made his Grand-Am debut in a BMW for Turner Motorsport in the Street Tuner class of the Koni Challenge (now IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge), Dalla Lana has been a gentlemen driver in major series. In 2010, he competed in six Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series races for Turner Motorsport in a BMW M6.
Dalla Lana finished third in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class in 2012 after finishing third in the 2011 Continental Tyre SportsCar Challenge title. After that, Dalla Lana focused on the then-emerging FIA World Endurance Championship.
After running a reduced programme in 2013, 2014 was Dalla Lana's first year of full-time competition in the WEC. He is the reigning GTE-Am champion and has 17 career class victories.
This weekend at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, The Heart of Racing, which competes full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Aston Martin in both the GTD Pro and GTD classes, will take the team's full-time FIA World Endurance Championship entry.
“The Heart of Racing team has had ambitions to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the FIA WEC for some time,” said Ian James, The Heart of Racing’s team principal, in a press release. “We are an ambitious group and to add WEC to what we have been fortunate to achieve in our other programs over the past three years is an honor. Going for the Rolex 24 at Daytona/24 Hours of Le Mans double is very exciting. I’d like to take the opportunity to wish Paul well in the future, and to thank him for giving us the chance to take over his entry for the rest of 2023. It will be a baptism of fire in Spa, but we hope to continue the successful heritage of the [No.] 98 plate in WEC.”
Since The Heart of Racing is now in charge of the NorthWest AMR vehicle, it will continue to participate under the NorthWest AMR banner. The use of the No. 98 is included in this.
Ian James, Alex Riberas, and Daniel Mancinelli will comprise the Heart of Racing's driver lineup in the GTE-Am class. While Riberas competes regularly in the IMSA GTD Pro class, James drives the team's GTD vehicle in the Michelin Endurance Cup.
Mancinelli has recently joined the group. Sports car enthusiasts in the United States may recognise him from 2017 when he drove a Ferrari full-time for TR3 Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge GT.
The first entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans used No. 27 and was submitted by The Heart of Racing. In the end, it was the one that made it onto the reserve roster. The change on Monday reduced the reserve list from 10 clubs to 9.
There has been no word from The Heart of Racing that the new WEC project will have a detrimental impact on their IMSA or SRO America initiatives. The squad now fields the aforementioned pair of IMSA entries in addition to two full-time entries in the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX presented by SRO America and a third vehicle in the GT America powered by AWS. A Mercedes has also been entered by them in Creventic competitions.