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Kimura Replaces Iribe in Team Project 1 Lineup for Fuji

Takeshi Kimura drafted in as late substitute for Brendan Iribe at Team Project 1…

Photo: MPS Agency

Takeshi Kimura has been drafted in as a late substitute for Brendan Iribe in Team Project 1’s GTE-Am lineup for this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at Fuji.

Iribe, whose Inception Racing program is run by Project 1 in the WEC, has been ruled out of the six-hour race in Japan due to a “last-minute family matter” according to Inception team manager Bas Leinders.

Japanese Bronze-rated driver Kimura duly received the late call up to join Iribe’s usual co-drivers Ben Barnicoat and Ollie Millroy in the No. 56 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Kimura has prior WEC experience at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with his Car Guy outfit, which has partnered with Kessel Racing to field a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo in recent years.

The 51-year-old currently drives a Ferrari in the European Le Mans Series and has also appeared in Super GT and Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS this season.

“It’s just a last-minute family matter for Brendan which he needs to attend to; no more specifics on that,” Leinders told Sportscar365.

“I’m not sure if [Kimura] has driven a Porsche or not. But driving a Porsche is not as difficult as it used to be. They are quite easy to drive and he knows the track very well.

“I think he’s a decent replacement for Brendan.”

The No. 56 Porsche started the season with a third-place finish at the 1000 Miles of Sebring but it retired from the next two rounds at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.

A 10th place finish at the 6 Hours of Monza brought it back into the points but the back-to-back mid-season retirements have left it out of the GTE-Am championship mix with two rounds to go.

In addition to its WEC program, Inception is competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup with McLaren 720S GT3s run by Optimum Motorsport.

“It’s been a bit more difficult than we hoped, especially after Sebring where we had a very good start with a podium,” said Leinders.

“It’s a tough championship and the level is high. Not every race went as we planned, but most of our championships are going well.

“WEC has been a bit more difficult, but we still hope we can get a good result with the No. 56 in the last two races, and with Kimura in the car here to get us in the best possible position.”

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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