Third place finish in WEC season opener and crucial points haul in IMSA’s second round
Team Project 1 and Inception racing claimed their first podium together in the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship opening race of the season, the 1000 miles of Sebring whilst Saturday’s second round of the IMSA Championship saw the team claim a crucial amount of points after a fifth-place finish.
It was Brendan that took on qualifying for the team, heading out into the short 10-minute session on Thursday evening to put the #56 Porsche 911 RSR on the third spot of the grid for the start of Friday’s eight-hour race.
Starting strongly, Brendan made a clean getaway during his opening stint before handing over to Ollie. After showing his strong pace and moving up through the field to fourth, the Briton handed back over to Brendan who once again, headed out on fresh tyres for another 60-minute stint.
Having jumped into the cockpit of the Porsche again, Ollie’s second outing around Sebring was disrupted by the first red flag of the race caused by the #7 Toyota Hypercar which crashed into the tyre wall. Fortunately, the driver walked away unscathed, and racing was resumed with four hours left on the clock.
With just over two hours go the race remaining, Ben Barnicoat headed out, re-joining the field in second position following Ollie’s mega performance. After 17 laps, Ben pitted to hand over to Brendan in order for the latter to complete his minimum required driver time.
The safety car was deployed and the pit entry closed due to growing concerns of incoming thunderstorms. With less than 30 minutes remaining, the decision was made to not restart the race thus seeing the trio take their first World Endurance Championship podium.
After losing out on the IMSA qualifying session due to a brake disk failure, the team started Saturday’s Mobil 1 12 Hour at the back of the grid. Brendan once again headed out first, yet suffered a puncture in the opening few laps, seeing the #70 McLaren pit earlier than anticipated with Ollie taking to the wheel after an hour of the race.
Handing over to Jordan after two hours, the team looked for further success having moved up to 13th within GTD. The team capitalised on the numerous full course yellows that followed, pitting as the field bunched up to change over to Brendan then once again, back to Jordan.
The temperature began to drop, but the action on track certainly began to heat up as with less than five hours to go, Jordan headed into the lead. The Twelve Hours of Sebring serves as the second of four races included in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, with separate points being awarded at designated junctures in the race. At Sebring, points are awarded at the four- and eight-hour marks as well as the race finish. The leader in each class earns five points at each juncture, four points for second place, three points for third and two points for all other competitors.
Running through their usual pit stop and drive change procedures, the team boxed, and Jordan headed into the car for the final hour, re-entering the field in fifth and chasing down a podium finish. As the chequered flag was waved, the team settled for a fifth-place finish, collecting yet another points haul towards their 2022 IMSA campaign.
With Michelin Endurance Cup points from the Sebring eight-hour mark added to those earned at the Rolex 24, the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 heads into the lead of the GTD championship.
Ollie Millroy on WEC podium
“The race was really good fun, it’s my first race in the Porsche RSR and my first time in Sebring too. We’ve all worked together as a team, and all worked really hard throughout the week, and we were able to come away with a podium in the first round of WEC.
“We’re really happy, it’s a really strong start to the year. Brendan did a great job; he had a really strong start to the race. I’m super impressed and super proud of all the team, it was a mega effort! Great start to the season and really looking forward to Spa.”