Inception Racing’s LMGTE is making its first appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking its place among the packed line-up of Ferraris for the La Sarthe Classic, the most eagerly anticipated round of the World Endurance Championship. Supported by Kessel Racing, the British team gained experience in the 488 GTE over the 6 Hours of Monza weekend and will target a strong result in France. We spoke with Bas Leinders, manager of the Wakefield-based team.
Inception Racing has achieved excellent results since its debut and has chosen Ferrari for its first Le Mans. What distinguishes the team?
“We are easily identifiable by our black and red livery, which is in some ways reminiscent of the Ferrari colours. But above all, what makes us stand out are our drivers. In particular, Brendan Iribe, whose driving is truly spectacular and who delivers exhilarating performances. I’m sure Ferrari fans will love watching him battle it out on track”.
What are your team’s values?
“We see ourselves as a family. This ideal is also reflected in our relationship with the customers who choose to race with us. We strive for constant progress, aiming to make our customers happy and satisfied - and we try to achieve this together, just like a family. The drivers race for fun, but the level of competition is also very high, which is why our team members have to work so hard and make so many sacrifices every day. This is why it is important to have people who love their work and are passionate about it. Our team members fit this profile completely and are ready to do all they can to make the project work”.
Why did you decide to race with Ferrari, given that you have competed with other brands until now?
“Generally, we race with other brands, but they don’t take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When we secured the pass for this competition, we asked Brendan which brand he would like to compete with, and he had no doubt: Ferrari. Indeed, Ferrari offers an excellent car and has a long and glorious history with Le Mans. It also assists its teams to the best of its ability, providing maximum support. But it’s not just about practical matters. Ferrari is a legendary brand. Let’s face it, if you ask a young motor racing enthusiast what brand they dream of competing in, the answer is Ferrari. And this allure remains the same even in adulthood!”.
What are your goals?
“It might sound obvious and even a little arrogant, but on the other hand, that’s how it is: no matter what, we have one goal: to win. At the same time, we know that victory often has to be built with patience, step by step, and we are ready to work towards this goal. In practical terms, we aim to win at Le Mans in 2022. This first year will help us gain experience. Obviously, we’ll try to do our best to win, but we know it will be tough. Our three drivers have never raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I have competed in the past and I know how demanding it is. So, for 2021 the goal is to give it everything, build up experience, and then go for the win next year”.
Among other things, you are in the highly competitive LMGTE AM category, so you will be up against very talented and experienced drivers.
“Precisely. As I said, I have raced at Le Mans for thirty years and know that the value of a driver is measured by various factors, first and foremost experience. This is why we do not want to go overboard on demands and goals. This year we want to do a good job of preparing for 2022. We have worked hard and achieved great results to be at Le Mans today. Our drivers have proved their worth, and I think our team can aim for third or fourth place. But we know this is a tough and demanding competition. Anything can happen from qualifying to the race”.
You have already mentioned this in passing, but let’s go into more detail: what are the main attributes of your drivers?
“When you aim high, it is crucial that all the drivers in your team are up to scratch, competitive and good. Each driver must be able to contribute, or at least ensure they keep up with their colleagues without losing time or ground. As I said, our top driver is Brendan Iribe. Although he is very talented, he is not very experienced, only having started racing in GT3 a year ago. Sure, he has competed in many races, but he is still learning. However, all three of our drivers have shown great seriousness and commitment. They know how to stay focused, and every time they take to the track, they aim to get better and better. They are young and still need to gain experience, but all share the tendency to think big, set ambitious goals and work together to achieve them”.