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WeatherTech Championship

Pepper Credits Acura for “Massive” Fuel Save

Inception Racing driver on 1 hour and 25-minute final stint en route to GTD victory…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Jordan Pepper credited the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo for helping with a “massive fuel save” for his Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3, which ran the final 1 hour and 25 minutes on a single stint en route to GTD class victory.

Pepper and Brendan Iribe both scored their first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victories in Sunday’s Lexus Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio, also giving the UK-based Optimum Motorsport-run squad and McLaren its maiden wins in IMSA competition as well.

The South African, who was subbing for the European Le Mans Series-bound Frederik Schandorff this weekend, drove from ninth to the eventual class lead during his mega fuel-save stint.

Pepper got around the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 of Bill Auberlen — IMSA’s winningest driver — with ten minutes to go and took the McLaren to top class honors in dramatic fashion.

“I think I got a massive help from the Acura holding them up and burning fuel,” Pepper told Sportscar365. “I was able to hang in with a massive fuel save of 20 or 30 percent sometimes.

“I could hang on the pack so when we got the all-clear to go for it, we went for it.

“We took the gamble on the yellow. That didn’t pay out so we had to do something bold.

“If we ran out of the fuel in the end trying to win it, so be it. In the end we managed to make it, so it was awesome.”

Bronze-rated Iribe, in his first season of IMSA competition, praised Pepper’s fuel save abilities for the win.

“Jordan did such a good job” Iribe told Sportscar365. “I’m not sure how he made it on fuel. I don’t think any of us are! He was fuel-saving the entire time just lifting and coasting on every turn.

“I think the Acura backed some people up and he took advantage of that because people were slowed down so he was able to fuel save but still stay with everybody.

“It’s just an incredible experience. I love this track; It felt really good. I need to learn how to handle traffic a little bit better. I felt good with the other drivers until I got swarmed by prototypes and then it got really tough.

“I just kept hearing [Ollie Millroy and team manager Bas Leinders] in my head saying keep it clean.”

Pepper, who has driven for the team on multiple continents and in various championships around the world, said the first win in WeatherTech Championship competition was long-awaited after several mis-steps earlier this year.

“I think we lost a few already this year,” he said. “To get this one, where we’ve gone out and won it… We’ve given a few away and we’ve gone and grabbed this one victory.

“Sometimes you just got to do what you can. Maybe I was a bit aggressive on some of the moves. But at the end of the day we won here at Mid-Ohio so I’m super chuffed.

“I can’t think of anything better for Brendan, Inception Racing, for McLaren, for the whole crew.

“You have no idea how hard this team works. Multiple championships, all around the world. They are going to prep this car and be back on a plane, back to another event.

“To give them this win is so incredible.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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