Inception Racing claim their first Championship title of 2022
Four races, two weekends, one winner. Inception Racing claimed their first title of 2022, sealing the deal as Asian Le Mans GT Champions in the final race of the series.
The day prior saw the team three for three as they claimed their third consecutive podium with a second-place finish to extend their Championship lead by 13 points as the series looked to conclude on the afternoon of Sunday 21.
With Saturday’s second qualifying finish of fifth, Brendan lined up on the grid behind their championship title rival, Rinaldi’s #55 Ferrari.
A clean getaway for both #7 and Optimum Motorsport’s #42 saw Nick in the latter of the two McLaren’s jump up five places through the field to 13th.
A full course yellow disrupted what had been fairly uninterrupted stints for the drivers, seeing them both pit to change over to Ollie and Andrew. Shortly into their driving time, the yellow flag was waved as Konrad Motorsport’s LMP3 found itself stranded at turn 5. Andrew looked to box for a tyre change and refuel whereas the #7 team opted for the opposing strategy, gambling to stay out seeing them move up to third.
Running just outside of the points, Andrew moved up to P11 after TF Sport’s #95 Aston Martin Vantage served their drive through penalty for violating track limits. Yet another yellow flag fell over the race, with D’Station’s Aston stranded on the right hand side of the main straight. Andrew stayed out for an extended stint which saw him move up to seventh, with Ollie pitting to complete the #7 team’s final driver change to Ben.
With 85 minutes of the race remaining, the safety car was deployed causing the pit entry to be closed. An hour of the race remained and with the entry to the pits open, all cars headed in to box. For one final time, Joe entered the cockpit of #42 with less than an hour remaining due to Andrew’s driver time having been extended due to earlier full course yellows. However, upon pit exit, Joe received a drive through penalty for exiting whilst the red light was shown, which he served one lap later.
The timing of the full course yellow and safety car had meant that Ben’s maximum driver time was very marginal. He crossed the line in fifth pushing right through to the chequered flag, taking the points that Inception Racing needed to win the Championship, finishing with less than three-tenths of a second inside of his maximum permitted drive time.
As a result, Inception Racing have an automatic invitation to Le Mans alongside the trio’s full-season WEC invitation with Project 1.
For the Asian Le Mans rookie trio of Nick Moss, Joe Osborne, and Andrew Watson, it was a sixth place Championship finish, just two points behind Oman Racing’s #69 Aston.
“It was such a great moment and a huge relief after a tough race, we wanted this one so badly. The team made the tough decision to take a bold strategic move in the race and we made it across the line less than three-tenths of a second before the maximum allowed stint time of 65 minutes. That’s how on it these guys are! We are so lucky to have the best in the business.”
“That’s the first championship of the year done, and lots learnt for everyone involve. The Asian Le Mans Series was super competitive and as ever, thanks to everyone at Optimum Motorsport. Nick had a wicked start and Andrew was rapid.
“Congratulations to the sister McLaren for winning the Championship, Ben, Brendan, and Ollie were faultless. There’s plenty more racing to come in 2022!”