Electrical issue denies inception racing chance to shine in Paul Ricard 1000KM
Having secured pole position at the season-opening race at Monza inception racing were seeking a strong performance as Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS Endurance Cup travelled to Paul Ricard – the venue that saw the Optimum Motorsport run team finish first and second recently in GT Open. Unfortunately, early race contact caused an electrical issue, and this resulted in a 12-minute plus pitstop, eliminating those high expectations.
As a recent winner at the French venue and very much part of the team in GT Open, Nick Moss joined the regular GT World Challenge pairing of Brendan Iribe and Ollie Millroy in the #70 McLaren 720S GT3 for six-hour 1000KM endurance round.
The team worked through the Friday practice sessions, ahead of qualifying on Saturday morning where the trio of drivers recorded an average lap time around the 5.771KM circuit good enough for tenth position in the Pro-Am class.
Brendan again took the starting duties, losing out on the opening lap due to contact, before showing his race-craft to carve his way back up to seventh position; passing Karim Ojjeh, Sarah Bovy, Jan Kasperlik, Duncan Cameron, and Hiroshi Hamaguchi. Nick jumped in just past the one-hour mark, lapping at almost identical pace to Brendan, fending off challenges from behind for much of his stint before pitting 64-laps into the race.
With refuelling and the tyre change complete, the #70 McLaren simply would not re-fire for Brendan to begin his second run of the race. Over 12-minutes elapsed before he was able to return to racing action and consequently, any hopes of a strong result had now been dashed. The team later traced the battery issue to an incident right at the start of the race, where contact ultimately led to the electrical failure.
Brendan and then Nick completed their running as darkness descended, handing over to Ollie for the final two hours of the race. The team’s pro-driver was right on the pace of the front-runners, but with multiple laps lost, it was to no avail as he took the chequered flag after 174 laps ninth in class, 34th overall.
The team now travel to the United States to compete next weekend in rounds five and six of GT World Challenge America at Virginia International Raceway. Given the Pro-Am win last time out in the championship at COTA, Brendan and Ollie will be seeking another haul of silverware.
Bas Leinders, Team Manager – On Paul Ricard and the next round at Virginia
“We were optimistic for a strong race pace. Unfortunately, we were not able to achieve the result we had hoped and worked so hard for, as an electrical issue halted us in the box for an extra 12 and half minutes. Brendan was hit from behind at the start, pushing him in a spin, and we suspect something electrical got damaged and started a chain reaction, resulting ultimately in a battery problem. It was still a good rehearsal however for Brendan and Ollie before the next GT World Challenge Europe race, which is the 24 Hours of Spa.
“We are now heading to the United States again for our second race in the GTWC America Championship. Our race weekend at COTA was an almost perfect start and to repeat the result at Virginia would be amazing. All the inception racing team members set the bar very high, and we want to continue to deliver the best car and organisation possible to compete at this high level. We will be aiming to try and win both in GT America and GT World Challenge America.
“It’s a new venue for us as a team, including the drivers, and having looked at some on-board video, Virginia International Raceway seems a proper old school track, fun assured!”