Ninth place finish and fastest GTD lap time in IMSA sprint cup first round at long beach

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Inception Racing’s #70 McLaren came nail bitingly close to a podium finish in the first round of IMSA’s Sprint Cup in Long Beach, only for a drive through penalty to dash all hopes of that sweet taste of champagne.

A shorter weekend of running than usual for the team meant that Friday’s practice was the only chance for the drivers to get acclimatised to the streets of California. The duo of Brendan Iribe and Frederik Schandorff clocked the fifth fastest GTD time in the morning’s session, with Fred later topping the class timing sheets in the afternoon.

Friday evening saw Brendan at the wheel of the McLaren for qualifying, heading out under the setting west coast sun to place the car tenth in class for Saturday’s 100-minute race, just nine tenths off the pace of the fastest GTD time.

From his tenth place starting spot, Brendan successfully held position from those charging through from behind within the opening laps of the race, staying clear of all trouble as cars began to find themselves in the concrete-lined walls of the 1.968-mile course.

In a race where strategy is vital, the team elected to bring Brendan into the pits after just 35 minutes of his stint for Frederik to take over and complete his drive with the maximum allotted stint time of 65 minutes.

Fred started off strong, making passes on what is notoriously a difficult circuit to overtake on to run in seventh as 45 minutes remained on the clock. However, the race fell under yellow flag conditions due to loosened curbs at turn 5 which had spewed across the tarmac.

After all was rectified and the field went racing once more, the Heart of Racing’s #27 Aston Martin Vantage found itself stuck out on track, seeing the McLaren move up within class. The Dane found himself battling with the front-runners of the GTD class, only to make contact with the #32 Mercedes as he fought for P4 on the hunt for that third-place spot. The incident saw him receive a drive through penalty, thus seeing him fall down the pack and take the chequered flag in ninth place.

Albeit not the result the team had hoped for coming into the weekend, claiming the fastest GTD class lap time is still a massive achievement for Inception Racing in their first ever street circuit.

There’s now a two week break in IMSA’s 2022 calendar, with track action to be resumed on April 29 for the fourth round (the second round of the IMSA Sprint Cup), the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship presented by Mobil.


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