Archive for “March, 2014”

2014 Sebring

CORE autosport wins 12 Hours of Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2014) – CORE autosport has kicked off its 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season by winning the two most prominent endurance races in North America: first the Rolex 24 at Daytona and now the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
 
James Gue took on opening stint responsibilities, starting the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 from fourth, where Colin Braun qualified the car on Friday. Gue’s first stint was plagued with yellow flags, many of them for incidents involving other PC cars. Gue kept the No. 54 out of trouble, handing it over to Jon Bennett without issue, who held the car in fourth-place before trading places with Braun.
 
It was in Braun’s hands that the car found the PC lead for the first time. He held onto the lead until just past the halfway mark, when he passed the controls back to Gue. By this point in the 12-hour race, it was clear the PC class had boiled down to a battle between CORE autosport and the No. 09 RSR Racing entry.
 
Gue held his own in a duel with RSR’s David Heinemeier Hansson with three hours to go, leaving Braun in a position to fight for the win in his final stint. The final full-course caution was issued with less than an hour remaining in the race while Braun was running second to RSR’s Bruno Junqueira. Both cars needed to make pit stops during the yellow flag to make it to the finish, so CORE opted to use the strength of its pit work to leapfrog the No. 09 in the pits.
 
The green flag flew with 20 minutes remaining in the race and Braun in the PC lead. Junqueira cranked up the pressure with each lap and was within striking distance numerous times, but Braun kept his cool. At the finish line it was Braun by 2.428 seconds over Junqueira.
 
It is the second win at Sebring for CORE autosport, but the first for Bennett, Braun and Gue who are fresh off their Rolex 24 at Daytona win. The team has now won the first two rounds of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and the Patrón North American Endurance Cup, not to mention the two most legendary sports car races in North America.
 

CORE autosport will have a bit of a break before its next event, the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered By Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, May 3 – 4.

“I went out after James who did a great starting stint for our team. There was a lot of traffic. There’s a lot of new drivers and there’s a lot of new teams—obviously as you add two racing series together. As a race driver, you begin to learn other drivers’ personalities, and you begin to learn what they like and don’t like. In this case there’s a lot of unknowns, and you have to be very, very careful and pick your battles appropriately. Even though it’s our instinct to go hard and take a lot of chances, ultimately here it’s about making smart choices, and I think all three of us did, and of course James and Colin are wizards in the car.

“We all work hard. We know that we’re a team. We’re all focused on our individual jobs and specialties, and we take it quite seriously. We’ve proven that if each of us does our individual part to the best of our ability and we have a little bit of good luck, which is sometimes related to all of us doing the best we can, then the results will fall where they fall. I think sometimes it’s easy to get focused on the results and forget the process. For us it’s the other way around.

“I knew coming here there would be a lot of questions about our fantastic weekend at Daytona, and I told myself that certainly that couldn’t repeat itself. But we came here like we do at every event and we have a process, and we start at the beginning and let the results be what they’re going to be. As the 11th hour clicked down, I was just in awe of the progress we had made and each of our individual successes adding up to another great event for us. There are really no words, and I’m very, very thankful for all the hard work that went into both wins. To accomplish the win here this year in the shadow of winning Daytona just a few weeks ago, it’s a fantastic accomplishment.”
– JON BENNETT

“It was stressful there at the end. We had a lot of pressure from Bruno. He was definitely quick. You never know how it is when you get through traffic – it sometimes goes your way and sometimes doesn’t. It was really nice that it went our way. We had to push pretty hard. I was dropping wheels and making some moves in traffic that were pretty aggressive. But that’s what you’ve got to do to win these races.

“I feel like we accomplished what we set out to do. That’s what these guys are all about: we come to the race track with a really good plan and we run through that plan. That’s something that Jon Bennett and Morgan Brady have kind of beat into everyone’s head that work there. We don’t show up without having a plan to execute. We just come to these races and run through our plan. And we’re able to do that each and every time. These guys did such a good job in the pits all day, and Jon and James did a great job out there driving. They brought me the car in the lead with a few hours to go and I was able to get in there and keep our head down and finish the job off.

“We never got sidetracked. We were able to stay out of trouble all day. Staying out of trouble and being able to bring it home in one piece is what it’s all about. You’ve got to be there to fight at the end.”
– COLIN BRAUN

“To start the race is something I don’t typically do so it was a little bit different to be put back in that scenario. It went very well. I was given the directive to stay with the lead group and keep it clean. I was able to do that, so that all went smoothly. Then obviously the second stint, I had to give the car in a good spot to Colin. I was able to come in, in the lead, and Colin took it from there.

“My second stint was really fun. My back-and-forth with the No. 09 got a little bit closer than I wanted it too. I kind of got caught up on the restart there when the whole pack of DP cars came by. But I managed to recover from that and retake the lead. Then I got caught up in traffic again, and we went back and fourth. But ultimately I was finally able to pull away there at the end.

“It’s kind of surreal actually to think back to where I was two months ago, not even be sure if I was going to race at all this year. To be able to fast forward with having won two of the biggest sportscar races in the world, I’m very grateful for the opportunity that Jon and everyone at CORE has given me. It’s just an awesome feeling.

“This year being the first of the combined series, that’s very unique. This is the first time sportscar racing in the United States isn’t divided. It’s not Grand-Am and IMSA anymore, its one series. Its pretty special to know your racing is the best-of-the-best here.”
– JAMES GUE

2014 Sebring

CORE autosport fourth on Sebring PC Grid

SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2014) – The No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 will start the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida from fourth in the Prototype Challenge category following Colin Braun’s qualifying effort on Friday.

The defending Sebring PC polesitter’s lap times steadily dropped throughout the 15-minute session around the 17-turn, 3.74-mile road course composed of retired airport runways. In his quest to beat the provisional pole time, Braun turned his fastest lap, a 1:55.603 (116.410 mph), on lap five of seven. His effort puts the No. 54 on the outside of the second row.

Braun will share the car with Jon Bennett and James Gue during the legendary 12-hour race. FlexBox also returns as a sponsor following their successful paring with CORE autosport at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

CORE ’s No. 54 ORECA FLM09 will take the green flag Saturday, March 15, at 10:15 am ET. The race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 10 am ET and transition to live streaming on IMSA.com at 1pm ET. Viewers in Europe, Asia and Africa can watch the race in its entirety on IMSA.com.

“We had a little bit different racetrack with the Continental Challenge race happening right before we qualified. We sort of saw a racetrack that I think we hadn’t really seen all weekend, and I don’t think we’ll see it again really. It was a little bit indicative of a green racetrack. The CORE autosport guys have been working their butts off all week. Hopefully it goes back to what it was when we’ve been quick all week and it’s in good shape for tomorrow.

“The race is going to be about staying out of trouble. I don’t think ultimate lap time is going to play much of an effect in the race. I think its going to be about all three or four drivers staying clean, being smart, being patient and getting through traffic—all the things that it takes to be good in an endurance race and a lot less about raw speed.

“It’s always nice to be on the pole, obviously. It’s a competition, we’d like to win, but, we’re going to start 10 feet behind the pole sitter, so I don’t think in 12 hours that should be too hard to make up.”

-Colin Braun

CORE completes Sebring driver lineup

Following its win in the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, CORE autosport prepares for another trip to Florida, this time for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Part of the Daytona-winning driver lineup, James Gue will reprise his role as co-driver to Jon Bennett and Colin Braun.
The team’s win at Daytona puts it atop the PC Team and Drivers’ Championship, and also the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship, which consists of races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.
Of the five CORE autosport entries in the past three Sebring races, four have finished on the podium, including a win in 2012. A fifth-place finish in last year’s race has the team hungry for a return to the winners’ circle.

Noteworthy:

  • Colin Braun won the PC pole and scored the fastest PC lap in the 2013 Sebring race.
  • CORE autosport won the PC category at Sebring in 2012. E.J. Viso, Alex Popow and Burt Friselle drove the team’s No. 06 entry.
  • Jon Bennett has made three starts at Sebring and finished on the podium in 2011 and 2012.
  • James Gue has made three starts at Sebring and finished second in LMP2 in 2004.
  • Braun has made four starts at Sebring and finished third with Bennett in 2012.

“Sebring’s signature trait is its rough surface. During the 12 hours, the track surface will do its best to disassemble our race car and rattle our drivers. At CORE autosport, our prototype will be prepared from the ground up as we do for every event. For Sebring though, there may be a couple special areas that get triple checked.
“Sebring’s fans are a breed apart. It is exciting to see so many fans that share our excitement for racing sports cars.
“This year Sebring is the second race of the season. For past seasons, this has been our opening race. It’s nice to go to Sebring this year with one race in the books. Our systems have been exercised. Our teamwork has been polished at Daytona and we are even more prepared for a challenging 12 Hours of Sebring. In a strange way there is a different feeling coming to Sebring after our company’s double win at Daytona. It’s hard to improve from that result.”
– Jon Bennett

“Sebring is a grueling race. The track surface is so bumpy that it’s really abusive on the cars, especially for 12 hours of racing. There are hardly any lights around the circuit, so it’s all about the lights we have on the car. It’s quite a bit darker than Daytona, which makes it challenging with all the traffic and how congested it gets there. Couple all that together and it makes for a tough race.
“CORE is fortunate enough to have done this race several times and we know what preparation we need to do with the cars to make them reliable and fast. Myself, Jon and James have all done this race before, so we all know what to do. I think we have a lot of experience and that puts us in a good position.
“I don’t think we’re feeling any additional pressure after Daytona. We’ve been successful in the PC ranks the last couple of years and there’s always a certain amount of pressure that comes with the results we’ve had. We enjoy the pressure. It pushes us to constantly improve and get faster. That’s what hopefully keeps us at the pointy end of the grid.”
– Colin Braun

“Sebring is a really special race. It has a lot of history and has built a reputation as one of the premier sportscar races in the world. It’s a unique location in the middle of south Florida that use several runways and taxiways for the race track. It always draws a huge crowd, which is a mix of diehard sportscar fans, race enthusiasts and spring breakers. You always get the feeling that you’re at a special event and you can feel the energy in the air. The fans definitely know how to have a good time!
“Sebring has always been a tough race; it’s hard on both driver and equipment because the surface is so bumpy and rough. One of the big keys to longer races like Sebring is how well the team can deal with problems and adversity. CORE showed me at Daytona that they are one of the best in the business when it comes to preparation, strategy and engineering.
“I think having one race under your belt heading into Sebring helps, especially for someone like myself who is new to the team. Spending more time with the team allows you develop better working relationships with the co-drivers, mechanics and engineers, which only helps the team chemistry. I think everyone on the team is a little more settled and prepared coming off the longest race of the year. I am really excited to get back to the track and try and pick up where we left off at Daytona.”
– James Gue