Lakeshore-born race car driver competing at Daytona this weekend
He hails from the Municipality of Lakeshore but this week, 21-year-old Roman De Angelis is on holy ground for a race car driver — set to take to the iconic track of Daytona International Speedway this weekend in the Rolex 24.
He says he’s been racing since he was eight years old and, weeks away from turning 22, he still loves it just as much.
“It’s definitely a strange thing to call a job because it doesn’t really feel like it,” De Angelis says.
This will be his fifth time competing in the Rolex 24, an endurance race spanning an entire day.
(Source: romandeangelis.com)De Angelis is one of four drivers making up the team that will pilot #27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage.
He says the experience behind the wheel in a race like this is indescribable.
“It’s strange at the level of what’s going on how little you’re thinking about,” he says.
“There’s cars everywhere, there’s people everywhere, lights, fireworks, a Ferris wheel – and you mix that in with actually having to drive.”
De Angelis says beyond all the distractions – there’s a sense of calm.
(Source: romandeangelis.com)(Source: romandeangelis.com)“There's a lot going on, but it's very quiet and calm,” he says. “It's just you – and you’re driving.”
This past weekend, De Angelis piloted the car to a seventh place finish in qualifying — but says, given the 24 hour span of the race, where you start doesn’t mean a whole lot.
“You’ll be shuffled from front to back multiple times throughout the race,” he says. “So lots of time to make up the six spots that we need.”
De Angelis still calls Lakeshore home, despite racing all over the world.
(Source: romandeangelis.com)He says he expects to see some family and friends at the race this weekend and those who can’t make it can stream it live on the International Motor Sports Association website.
The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Looking to the future, De Angelis isn’t going to strictly say where he wants to steer his life — but knows racing will be a part of it.
“What I would dream to do is to continue to race at a high level, wherever it may be, for a long time and continue to have this as my as my job,” says De Angelis.
“I obviously love doing it.”
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