Race Weekend Central

Paul Dalla Lana Retires; The Heart Of Racing To Assume NorthWest AMR’s WEC Entry

Aston Martin announced Monday morning (April 24) that Paul Dalla Lana, a Canadian businessman and gentleman racer, has retired from motorsports, effective immediately. Dalla Lana reportedly needs to use the time that he was racing to focus more on his businesses. As a result, NorthWest AMR as we know it is no more.

Dalla Lana’s career as a gentleman driver in major series dates back to at least 2009, when he debuted in Grand-Am’s Koni Challenge (now IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge) in a BMW for Turner Motorsport in the Street Tuner class. He made his top-flight debut in 2010 when he drove in six races for Turner Motorsport in their BMW M6 in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

Dalla Lana won the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship in 2011 and finished third in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class in 2012. Afterwards, Dalla Lana turned his attention to the then-new FIA World Endurance Championship.

Dalla Lana has competed full-time in the WEC since 2014 after running a limited schedule in 2013. He has 17 career GTE-Am class victories and won the 2017 GTE-Am championship

The Heart of Racing, which currently competes full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in both the GTD Pro and GTD classes with Aston Martin, will take the team’s full-time FIA World Endurance Championship entry and make their WEC debut this weekend at Belgium’s Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

“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 team is taking over the NorthWest AMR entry, they will continue to compete under that name even though it will actually be The Heart of Racing running the car. That includes using the No. 98.

The Heart of Racing’s driver lineup in the GTE-Am class will consist of James, Alex Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli. Riberas is full-time in IMSA’s GTD Pro class for the team, while James races the GTD car in the MIchelin Endurance Cup races. 

Mancinelli is new to the team. American sports car fans might recognize him from when he raced full-time in what was then Pirelli World Challenge GT in a Ferrari for TR3 Racing in 2017.

The Heart of Racing had originally filed their own entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, using No. 27. It ended up getting the last spot on the reserve list. Monday’s move means that the reserve list has been cut from 10 teams to nine.

The Heart of Racing has not indicated that the new WEC project would negatively affect their IMSA or SRO America programs in any way. As of now, the team has the aforementioned two cars in IMSA, plus two full-time entries in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America SprintX and another car in GT America powered by AWS. They have also fielded a Mercedes in Creventic events.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via