Following on from the prior weekend’s ROAR before the 24 success, the Daytona 24H rookie quartet of Jordan Pepper, Frederik Schandorff, Brendan Iribe, and Ollie Millroy took part in a series of pre-event testing; including a full day of running on Thursday.
Having had rain and wind during the build up to the 60th running of the Rolex 24H at Daytona, the clear, crisp skies of Saturday morning overruled the expected snow - a forecast that was set to be the coldest race event in Daytona’s history.
It was Schandorff who, similarly to his Petit Le Mans and McLaren debut last November, started the race for the team and proved his point around the clock-face by making his way up through the field from P7 to P2.
The course fell under yellow flag conditions, a feat that was repeated multiple times throughout the twenty four hour period, seeing Brendan take over control of the 720S. A fairly uninterrupted stint for the American came to a halt once entering the pits, as an unsafe release of an LMP3 car made contact with the #70, causing Brendan to spin whilst coming in to box as Ollie prepared to get into the car.
Having taken over from Ollie, Brendan headed back out for a second time. An LMP3 car that had gone off at turn 5 provided yet another ample opportunity for the safety car to be deployed, seeing Brendan head back to the pits and Jordan make his race debut.
Jordan steered clear of danger as he too, like Ollie, made his way through the field to lead the GTD class, and gain a lasting advantage over the competition. Pepper pitted under yet another yellow flag, and jump back up to third as the circuit went green. Jumping straight into the lead entering the bus stop chicane, Jordan extended the gap to his rivals by 1.2 seconds after just two laps whilst battling with the GTD Pros.
Night-time running for Brendan, Ollie, and Frederik remained clean and contact free, with a podium position in close reach. Completing his double-stint for the quartet, Ollie lead the GTD field at the midway point of the race claiming points, with Jordan repeating the same feat as he took over during sunrise.
A 9-second lead over the next closest GTD car saw a class debut win for the team within hopes as Fredrick takes over from Jordan. But a brake caliper failure quickly diminished all hopes of not only a win, but also a podium for the team as four laps of the race were lost whilst repairs were made on the car. The efforts of the team saw the #70 entry head back out with Jordan in the closing stages of the race, seeing the chequered flag to take fifth in class.
Whilst not the result the team had aimed for, it was still a tremendous effort from Shaun Goff’s outfit and alone, to finish yet another 24 hour race and claiming the fastest lap in GTD by Jordan, is still a significant achievement.
Inception Racing, although not getting the result that all had hoped for, made history this weekend as the first McLaren representation in the 24H of Daytona, and will also continue to re-write the history books as the entry is set to be the first McLaren to enter into a full IMSA season.
Jordan Pepper said: “We had an amazing race with unfortunately, a bittersweet ending. Going up against such tough competition and with guys who have so much experience, and considering we came in as a full rookie line-up, to get a P5 is extraordinary. However, to have that victory taken away from underneath us with the mechanical issue with four hours to go just hurt so much.
“I’m still super happy with the whole team, with how everyone worked together, and how amazing the car was. I think we by far had the most fun this weekend which is also equally as important. We got some great points still for the Michelin Endurance Cup and I think we should all be super proud of what we achieved.
“I’m just so proud that we’ve been able to show what speed this car has, how amazing the team are and that we can fight against all these top teams in America. I’m really happy and more motivated than ever to go and win in Sebring.”