Heartbreak as Inception Racing denied celebrating IMSA Mid-Ohio race victory
Inception Racing travelled to Mid-Ohio for Sunday’s (15 May 2022) fifth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and yet another new challenge for both the team and drivers alike. It proved to be quite an event, with Jordan Pepper and Brendan Iribe seemingly securing the team’s first win in the series in the #70 McLaren 720S GT3, only to be put back of class post-race for the car being underweight.
Jordan had an unenvious task as he pitted just ahead of the sole full course yellow with still 70-minutes on the clock. His task, save enough fuel to get the car home and that he did in great style.
It was a Dixon-esq performance from the South African racer; saving more fuel where others did not, before unleashing his undoubted speed when it counted to secure a sensation victory, the first for the team and for McLaren in the championship.
Late on Sunday evening though, the team were denied victory from the results following post-race checks in which the car was found to be 2kg underweight.
Brendan took the start, battling hard with the #51 Acura of Aidan Read, trading position more than once. The race settled into a rhythm quickly and with a surprising dearth of yellows, the American racer chased Russel Ward in the #57 entry, who soon had issues of his own, promoting Brendan to sixth position as he pitted on lap 32.
Jordan ran ninth initially after his pitstop, before closing a 20-second margin to the VasserSullivan #17 entry which was soon in trouble. With the yellow flags finally unfurled, Jordan pitted with 70-minutes of the 160-minute event remaining.
It seemed an impossible task for Jordan as he started to work his way up the order. On lap 68 of 110 he moved sixth ahead of Windward and the Heart of Racing Team cars and this soon became fifth just eight seconds behind the GTD class leader.
With 30-minutes remaining, Jordan pushed hard, clearing all but the race leader by lap 105. Next time around, the race lead was his having passed the Turner Motorsport BMW. It was a sensational performance, but ultimately it didn’t count on this occasion.
Bas Leinders, Team Manager
“In the end, we were 2kg underweight which we do not have an explanation for yet as we always leave a safety margin for this reason. The rules are the rules and I am glad to see that IMSA are very strict on this as it provides the platform for great racing.”
“We boxed early as there was a caution and then it was the case of a massive fuel save. We were a bit lucky in that the Acura ahead was holding the group, so that we could stay in contact with the leaders whilst saving enough fuel to get to the end. Great job of Jordan and the team and we will be back stronger at Watkins Glen.”
"It was intense, as they gave me a fuel number at that last stop and I was thinking if I can save more than 0.2 of a litre than they allowed me, then we can push at the end. I felt that would work out.
“As soon as they gave me the all-clear to go for it, then it was game on for the win then. Opportunities to win in IMSA are very hard to come by, so it was race on, and I loved the battles and I look forward to more Sprints and Endurances here in IMSA!"