Inception Racing out of luck at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
The fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship took place at Laguna Seca at the weekend (29 April – 1 May) and proved to be a tough event for the Optimum Motorsport run Inception Racing squad, with a loose diffuser forcing an early retirement from the event.
The demands of Laguna Seca were a completely new challenge to team and drivers alike, and with limited practice available in the two official sessions, understanding and managing tyres on the longer runs were crucial factors in gaining a strong result. Brendan qualified the #70 McLaren 720S GT3 in 12th position on Saturday afternoon, just a second off the ultimate GTD pace around the 3.602-kilometre circuit, and duly took starting duties in Sunday’s 160-minute Sprint event.
It was a trouble-free start with Brendan quickly slotting in behind the tenth-placed #16 Wright Motorsports entry. Indeed, he shadowed Ryan Hardwick throughout his stint, rising to ninth in GTD and just 16 seconds off the class lead. A full course yellow on lap 21 proved timely and sent the field to the pits for service and driver changes.
Frederik Schandorff took over from Brendan and was soon back on track, recording what was at the time the fastest lap of the race. He was however called in for a drive-through penalty, courtesy of an alleged pitstop violation.
It was at this point that one or more of the diffuser mounts failed, likely due to the relatively prevalent use of kerbs around the Californian circuit. This ultimately led to the retirement of the #70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S and an unfortunate conclusion to the fourth round of the IMSA championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The team now prepare for this weekend’s challenge at Circuit Spa Francorchamps, round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Bas Leinders, Inception Racing Team Manager
“The retirement was caused by the diffuser coming loose after a possible kerb strike. The race pace was actually good and then we received a drive-through penalty for an infringement that did not happen. Good speed, just not our day.”
"This was a new event for all of us and to be honest it wasn't the easiest of weekends. The car performed really well on the new Michelins, but we're struggling more on used tyres. Tyre degradation seemed very high and we've been working very hard in that area to help us make that step in race conditions.
"In the race, the car was super-quick and Brendan did an amazing job in pushing the pack ahead. After the stop, I set the fastest lap so the speed was definitely there for a good result.
"We could see from the video that we [both] we running the kerbs, but we were unlucky this time with the diffuser [failure]. I'm now looking forward to being back with Inception Racing for the next one!"