Notable moment for McLaren as Inception Racing by Optimum claim fifth in 24H Dubai
Yorkshire team Inception Racing by Optimum settled for fifth place in class in the 24H Dubai but made GT history with McLaren along the way.
An opening stint saw the #72 720S GT3 take the honour of being the first McLaren to lead the jewel in the Creventic 24H Series crown in Dubai.
There were many positives from the race but in the end, contact at the six-hour mark cost the team more than 20 minutes in repair time, dashing the opportunity of taking the class win.
Three times a winner of the event, Optimum Motorsport, will now have to wait until 2022 to try for number four but their massive effort secured fifth position in the GT3 Am class, recording McLaren’s first 24-hour race finish in the 720S in a weekend where some exceptional circumstances were thrown the team’s way.
Once again, Ollie Millroy, Nick Moss, Joe Osborne, and Brendan Iribe teamed-up at Dubai Autodrome hot on the heels of the team’s involvement in the Gulf 12 Hours.
However, Iribe was forced to pull out after feeling unwell, meaning fellow Bronze racer Moss had quite a task, with his driving time extended to a daunting 12 hours.
The team were back on track for the unofficial practice sessions on Wednesday before the real thing and qualifying the following day. Osborne was charged with qualifying duties, taking the car to ninth on the overall grid and third in the GT3 Am class.
Unlike the 2020 edition of the race, there was no rain in sight as Osborne lined up for the start of the race on Friday and a superb opening lap saw him gain two positions.
His team opted to remain on track as others boxed for a maximum mandated half tank of fuel and this put Osborne at the head of the field to record 25 laps in the lead and thus register a first for the McLaren brand in the 24H Dubai, by leading the event outright in the 720S.
After 90 minutes, the team started to cycle through its drivers and Millroy suffered right rear contact in traffic before Moss suffered the same fate, resulting in suspension failure.
The team were forced to pit from the lead of GT3 AM, and eighth position overall, to set about the repairs before resuming almost 25 minutes later.
Hopes of a class victory had been dashed and it was a matter of running hard through the night, while managing Moss’ substantial workload. The sun rose with #72 running in sixth position in class, 11th position overall.
Moss overhauled the #19 Mercedes with three hours remaining and with misfortune falling for the #85 entry, fourth position beckoned only for a final Code 60 to fall against the team, resulting in a fifth position in class and tenth overall.