Inception Racing’s move to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has been made for the team to compete at the “highest level possible” according to team manager Bas Leinders.
The UK-based squad is set for a full season campaign with a McLaren 720S GT3 in the GTD class for Ollie Millroy and Brendan Iribe after taking part in selected Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS races in 2021.
It comes after the Optimum Motorsport-run organization made its WeatherTech Championship debut in last year’s Motul Petit Le Mans, a race that was short-lived after a multi-car GT pileup that took a number of cars out of action.
“Personally I like to perform at the highest level possible, which is what I’ve always done in my career before,” Leinders told Sportscar365.
“But also for Optimum [Motorsport] and team owner Shaun Goff, he sets his ambitions high.
“We have some clients who want to do the same thing, like Brendan Iribe who wants to push himself as a driver and gain more experience.
“It’s always difficult to win, but he has done two years of GT Open and won the Pro-Am title last year.
“He could do that again, but he just wants to challenge himself. We, as a team, encourage that.
“That is why we have chosen IMSA, because Daytona, Sebring, Petit Le Mans, and some other great tracks like Watkins Glen. Just a combination of everything. It’s just great.”
After a globe-trotting season that also included participation in GTWC Europe, International GT Open, the FIA World Endurance Championship and Asian Le Mans Series last year, Inception’s primary focus will be on the WeatherTech Championship.
Leinders explained that the nature of the series should fit the team’s objectives this year, competing in the highly competitive GTD category.
“[IMSA] is a bit more intense because there are more races and more endurance races,” he said. “So we had to adapt a little bit.
“But then again, we’ve got a lot of experience of having a very busy program and finding solutions and organizing.
“We have a great team which has been great stable for three years, I would say.
“This is my fifth season with Optimum and then in the last three years we got some new, motivated young guys who really go for it. And some experience with our technical director, so it’s a good plan together.
“We work well together and we like working together. That helps to overcome difficult situations, because they occurred last year.
“You need to pull together and find situations.”
As was the case last year, the team will continue to utilize a base near Austin for its U.S. operations, with the majority of its crew being fly-ins from the UK.
“We will prep the car before and after the races as needed,” said Leinders. “Sometimes we will stay a bit longer or come out earlier to prep the car, and then travel to the various races.
“The core team is UK-based, so we will fly out back and forth. Some of the crew that is doing IMSA will do other championships with us.”
Optimum Set for ‘Less Varied’ Program in 2022
After tackling numerous championships last year, Leinders said he’s looking forward to a more focused approach this year, with additional programs in GT Open and Michelin Le Mans Cup so far only confirmed.
“I was involved in all of the races last year,” he said. “There were some one-off races, but I had to study and know ten different sporting rules.
“There is not one championship that is exactly the same, pit stop-wise. One is fuel first and then tires.
“Even fuel after the tires in GT Open. How many people, one wheel gun, so it’s different every time. That was quite difficult.
“But luckily we didn’t run into any big issues, but that was a struggle for the team.
“We needed to brief the team every weekend, taking another half an hour to explain what is the procedure in the pit stops, to not have a drive-through penalty.
“So this year will be a bit less, but Optimum is still going to do GT Open and Michelin Le Mans Cup.
“I’m not going to be present at all those races all the time. They will have individual team managers but I will oversee it. It will be easier, but at the same time, very busy.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report