Iribe and Inception fight for titles on two continents this weekend – Sportscar365

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Brendan Iribe said he hopes for himself and Inception Racing to win two championships this weekend which will involve an ambitious transatlantic journey between Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The American driver is set to take part in Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday, which will close the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, as well as the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by the AWS Endurance Cup which will decide the title the following day, both driving McLaren 720S GT3. .

Adding to the pressure, Iribe and the team run by Optimum Motorsport are currently leading the championships in both series.

Bronze-rated rider Jordan Pepper and Ollie Millroy top the Michelin Endurance Cup GTD standings, while Iribe, Millroy and Frederik Schandorff lead SRO’s new Gold Cup for 2022 entering Sunday’s three-hour finale in Spain.

With Millroy prioritizing Barcelona this weekend, the reigning Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by Cayman Islands champion Seb Priaulx was drafted into the #70 McLaren at Road Atlanta to round out the lineup.

Iribe has already had a busy racing year, also competing full-time in the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship and winning the Asian Le Mans Series GT title and other GT3 races around the world.

“We had the ambition to lead one of the two [the championships]”Iribe told Sportscar365. “I don’t think we fully understood what it would mean to lead the two [IMSA and GTWC Europe] entering the final weekend where they overlap.

“So we have to make the most of it and do our best.”

Iribe will likely be the only person flying from Atlanta to Barcelona on Saturday night once he completes his 2 hour and 30 minute minimum journey.

This will result in the 43-year-old leaving the track before the finish of the race in order to arrive in Barcelona in time for qualifying the next morning.

“I arrive around 6-7am and qualifying starts at 9am,” said Iribe. “The biggest challenge will be not having training at Barcelona.

“As a rule, you always have a few hours of practice before qualifying and the race. That certainly makes a big difference.

“At least a handful of spins, 10 to 20 spins, get you connected. Using qualifying as practice is going to be a challenge.

“I think it will be a ton of fun. That’s what it takes to be able to do both.

Iribe said it would be a “dream come true” to be able to walk away with both titles, especially in such a unique situation.

“It’s really the team that is able to prepare both cars and prepare everything,” he said. “The drivers are going to take care of all the cars, here and in Barcelona.

“I just have to show up and not make mistakes and do what they taught me to do.”

Although he has yet to win a race in the WeatherTech Championship competition, Iribe credited Pepper and the UK-based team for making the right strategy calls that put them atop the standings. the Endurance Cup.

IMSA Endurance Cup points are awarded in different segments of each of the four races, which the Inception crew led by Bas Leinders have fully capitalized on.

“We haven’t won a race yet but we have constantly looked at how to score the most points in each race, where to lead when necessary,” explained Iribe.

“The team, Jordan and the other drivers are really focused on that. They’ve just done an incredible job. Every time we come out of a race, we come out with more points than the other teams.

“I just give that back to the effort of the whole team.”

Petit Le Mans Debutant Pepper on title prospects

While Iribe and the team made their Petit Le Mans debut last year, failing to finish after suffering an accident, this weekend marks Pepper’s first outing at Road Atlanta.

“One of the championships that really got me interested in sports cars and endurance racing was IMSA,” the South African told Sportscar365.

“Obviously having the opportunity to join Brendan this year in several IMSA races has been really nice and a dream come true.

“I think the [Michelin] Endurance Cup is a true testament to endurance and team effort and not just overall results at times.

“We had a great run to be able to capitalize when it matters most, get points and everything.

“To come out now and hopefully in my first year trying to win the Endurance Cup, that would be pretty amazing.

“We know what to do. It won’t be easy, but we have tough competition and I’m sure we’ll get through it.

Jean Dagys is the founder and editor of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and contributed to many other motorsports publications around the world. Contact John