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Inception to Miss Detroit But Enter All Other GTD Races

Inception forgoes Detroit on triple-clash weekend but ambitious plans in place for Petit…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Inception Racing will miss the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round in Detroit due to a clash with two other events but plans to contest all other GTD class races with its McLaren 720S GT3.

The operation funded by American entrepreneur Brendan Iribe and run by British team Optimum Motorsport will be focusing on the Paul Ricard 1000 km and the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day on the weekend of June 4-5.

The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup race in Le Castellet occurs on the same day as IMSA’s 100-minute race at Detroit Belle Isle.

Early June presents a triple clash weekend for Inception, which has committed to McLaren GT3 entries in the WeatherTech Championship and GTWC Europe Endurance Cup, plus the FIA World Endurance Championship with a Porsche 911 RSR-19 in the GTE-Am category.

The plan for that weekend is to enter the six-hour GTWC race with its Europe-based McLaren on the Saturday before the drivers and key staff fly to Le Mans for Sunday’s test where Team Project 1 will be on-hand to crew the Porsche.

Meanwhile, there is then an ambitious plan to enter both the IMSA and GTWC Europe season finales on the same weekend in early October.

The team has a U.S-based McLaren that it uses exclusively for its North American programs and will run that at Motul Petit Le Mans while simultaneously fielding its Europe-based McLaren in the 3 Hours of Barcelona.

“We are not doing Detroit, because we will be in Paul Ricard and the next day we will be in Le Mans,” team manager Bas Leinders told Sportscar365.

“We can cut ourselves in two, but not in three.

“That’s unfortunately not possible because of Paul Ricard there. In the morning we can take a flight to Le Mans.

“We can take off from Le Castellet airport at 7 a.m. and can be there [at Le Mans] for half-past 8.

“For Petit Le Mans, we will try and do both. Petit Le Mans is on Saturday and the qualifying and race in Barcelona is on Sunday. We don’t bring the same chassis back and forth.

“We have two cars and all the equipment separate, so it’s all separate programs. Brendan will do both, but it’s just about who can do what and where.”

Iribe is Inception Racing’s main driver and is expected to compete in all of the team’s races.

Leinders said that the rest of the driver lineup for the Petit Le Mans/Barcelona weekend is not defined and will be determined based on championship progress.

His plan is to have a driver fully stationed at Barcelona to dial in the McLaren during the test and practice sessions before Iribe arrives in Spain on an overnight transatlantic flight in time for qualifying on the Sunday morning.

Ollie Millroy and Frederik Schandorff are partnering Iribe in GTWC Europe Endurance Cup this year, while Schandorff is his co-driver for the IMSA Sprint Cup races and Jordan Pepper typically joins the lineup for the WeatherTech Championship enduros.

The WEC crew consists of Iribe, Millroy and Lexus factory driver on loan Ben Barnicoat.

“It will all depend on how the championship standings are,” Leinders explained. “After Spa [in July] I will decide what is the best way.

“My aim is that Brendan is champion. It’s not necessarily that the drivers will stay the same: the important thing is that he is champion.

“So whatever mixes best in order for him to achieve both titles, we will see what is best and who will go where.

“Of course Brendan will probably have to leave Petit Le Mans before the end of the race, in order to make it in time.”

Despite not being on the initial entry list, Inception will be present for this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with Iribe and Schandorff as drivers.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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