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Inception Ferrari Withdrawn after Free Practice Accident

Optimum-run Inception Ferrari withdrawn from 6H Monza after FP2 accident…

Photo: MPS Agency

Inception Racing has withdrawn its Ferrari 488 GTE Evo from the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Monza due to damage sustained in a Free Practice crash.

Brendan Iribe’s accident at Variante Ascari during the second Free Practice session on Saturday resulted in chassis damage that forced the team to withdraw from its maiden WEC event.

The Optimum Motorsport-run Inception car was due to be driven by Iribe, Ben Barnicoat and Ollie Millroy as part of the crew’s preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Confirmation of its retirement was made in a letter from team manager Bas Leinders to the WEC stewards which read: “In Free Practice 2, our car number No. 71 sustained severe damage to the chassis which is not possible to repair before the race tomorrow.

“We are therefore forced to withdraw the car from the WEC 6 Hours of Monza.”

Inception Racing’s retirement leaves 36 cars on the grid for Sunday’s race and brings the bumper GTE-Am field down to 15 cars.

The Inception program is led by Optimum, but the British squad is also receiving support from Kessel Racing which has provided crew members and the Ferrari chassis to an organization that typically runs McLaren 720S GT3s around the world

“Inception/Optimum is the technical partner for all the McLaren projects,” Leinders told Sportscar365.

“We do many championships and we have multiple cars etc. When this came along, it was clear that we don’t know the Ferrari. Even though we could rent a Ferrari, it takes quite some effort. We already had some effort put in with our American program.

“Quite quickly discussions opened with Kessel to have a technical collaboration. But we have our engineer who is helping with strategy, and three mechanics and tire guys from us, who work in conjunction with Kessel.

“So it’s 50/50 staff. It’s not Kessel with an Inception badge: it’s a collaboration between the two. If it goes well, we may continue next year at Le Mans with a Ferrari GTE.”

Inception Racing qualified for an automatic invitation to this year’s Le Mans after finishing fourth in the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series GT class with a McLaren.

A separate crash at the end of FP2 resulted in extensive front-end damage to the No. 60 Iron Lynx Ferrari, which joined the Inception car on the sidelines during FP3.

However, an Iron Lynx spokesperson indicated that the Italian team is working to repair its car in time for qualifying this evening.

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

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