Across two continents on one weekend
Customer Racing team Inception Racing shares success for McLaren 720S GT3 in IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe in a dramatic display of endurance both on and off the track last weekend.
Competing in just his fourth season of racing McLaren GT cars and faced with the possibility of title success in both the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup at the Petit Le Mans race in Road Atlanta and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Gold Cup in Barcelona, the American took advantage of the event schedules in order to compete in both series. Even the presence of Hurricane Ian on the eastern coast of the United States failed to spoil his audacious plan.
Commencing his weekend at Road Atlanta, Iribe started the race at midday on Saturday, remaining in the car for the minimum 2 hours and 30 minutes in order to be classified in the points. While he was on an overnight flight to Barcelona, his Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 team-mates Jordan Pepper and Sebastian Priaulx raced the car to secure the Michelin Endurance Cup GTD title by the end of the 10-hour race. The championship consists of four long distance events on the IMSA US racing calendar – the other three being the Watkins Glen six-hour race plus the iconic Daytona 24 Hour and Sebring 12 Hour events.
After being informed of his title success, Iribe landed in Barcelona in time to qualify for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe finale at the Spanish Grand Prix venue on Sunday. Despite a duration of just under two hours, the race was no less dramatic, with the Inception team taking the class lead with 45 minutes remaining. With less than half an hour to go however, a puncture put the Gold Cup title in doubt. Swift pit work ensured that the team ran in eighth place and eventually finished seventh, enough to secure the championship.
Iribe shares the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Gold Cup title with team-mates Frederik Schandorff and Ollie Millroy, the latter with whom the American has been paired since his McLaren GT racing debut as a graduate from the Pure McLaren GT Series.
The partnership with Millroy originated with Iribe’s participation in the Pure McLaren GT Series, a championship set up to develop GT drivers racing McLaren 570S GT4 cars and which has evolved into the McLaren Trophy Championship, which will support GT World Challenge Europe events in 2022. Coached by Millroy, Iribe impressed in his debut season of competition before making the step up to International GT racing, in partnership with fellow Pure graduate Nick Moss – to whom Iribe attributes much of his subsequent success. With a first major win for Inception Racing in the GT4 class of the 2019 Gulf 12 Hour race, he graduated to the McLaren 720S GT3 to win the 2021 International GT Open - Pro-Am championship and the 2022 Asian Le Mans Series GT title before last weekend’s double success.
“It’s been an incredible season competing on both sides of the Atlantic all culminating in a final double header weekend. It was a rollercoaster of adrenaline, emotions and insane team work. Clinching the two titles within 24 hours was a dream come true for the entire team. I’m insanely proud and grateful to everyone at Optimum, McLaren, our rockstar drivers Jordan, Sebastian, Frederik and especially Ollie, who not only coached me on track, but also had to sacrifice one of the two titles since it was only possible for one of us to compete in both. What a weekend and what an awesome car. The McLaren 720S GT3 is a rocket!”
Brendan Iribe, McLaren Customer Racing team Inception Racing Driver
“What an incredible weekend at both Petit Le Mans and Barcelona for the last weekend of both IMSA Endurance and SRO World Challenge Europe respectively. To become IMSA Endurance GTD Champions, SRO Gold Cup Drivers and Team Champions as well as Drivers Pro-Am Cup Champions all within 24 hours was fantastic but for Brendan Iribe to compete in both IMSA and SRO events was phenomenal. Congratulations to all involved.”
Ian Morgan, Director of Motorsport, McLaren Automotive