inception racing IMSA bound for Motul Petit Le Mans!
It is a fresh, exciting new challenge for inception racing this coming weekend as they join the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for one of their biggest races of the season, Motul Petit Le Mans, which takes place at the stunning Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The Optimum Motorsport run team has plenty of experience with its #70 McLaren 720S GT3, but none of the IMSA Series nor the 2.54-mile Georgia circuit. 43 cars, 15 in the GT Daytona class, will compete in the ten-hour event, with inception racing aiming to quickly get up to speed and to understand the nuances of the series, with a view to its 2022 campaign.
Brendan Iribe is joined by Ben Barnicoat, who returns to the team for the first time since the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ben also successfully competed in the Asian Le Mans Series earlier in the year, earning their position in the 2021 Le Mans field. He brings valuable knowledge to the team from his test at the venue in 2020.
Ollie Millroy is not taking part in the event as scheduled due to family commitments and is, therefore, replaced by Danish Silver graded racer, Frederik Schandorff. The 24-year-old comes from a single-seater background before jumping into GT3 equipment in 2018. Since then, he has secured multiple wins and championships, including the 2021 International GT Open Pro Cup and the 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Silver Cup.
The action gets underway with Thursday practice, with qualifying taking place on Friday. The race gets underway at 12:10 GET Saturday, 17:10 UTC.
Ben Barnicoat on the challenge of Petit Le Mans
“This is our first race in IMSA - for me, the team, Brendan - so there will be a huge amount to learn. The rules are different from what we’re used to in European championships like GT World Challenge and GT Open, but there are some similarities to the Asian Le Mans Series, where we first started the season. The team have proven to be extremely adaptable to carrying challenges all season, so I’m confident that we’ll be able to take this in our stride.
“Road Atlanta is an incredible circuit – certainly way up there in my list of favourites - and I’m fortunate in that I was able to test the 720S GT3 there back in March of last year, so I will be pulling on that experience quite a bit this weekend as neither Brendan nor Frederik have driven this track before.
“The plan for the week will be to prioritise Brendan and Frederik in terms of seat time at such a challenging track as I have driven here before and that means I’ll have to dig deep when I get my turn! That’s the best route to take to make sure they are both comfortable and up to speed.
“There are 43 cars in total in the field, 97 metres if you were to spread them out evenly, so managing the traffic and making sure we don’t get caught up in other peoples battles will be a huge part of this race and making sure we keep it clean to be there for the final hour. With 15 GTD cars in the field, there will be some natural attrition, so again, o be there into the final hour should yield a good result.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge, my last race of the season, and it’s great to be back out with inception racing and we’ll aim to go out on a high.”
Shaun Goff, Team Principal
“This has been a fantastic season already and we have ticked off so many boxes and we’ve all worked really hard. It’s a massive team effort and we’re now looking forward to our first involvement in the IMSA series.
“It’s an outstanding event in its own right, super-competitive, and we’ll certainly be gathering information so we can look at opportunities for next year in the series. If we can hit the ground running and mix it with the established teams as it’s a different way of racing there, then we will have done a good job.”