Archive for “July, 2014”

Brickyard Podium for Bennett and Braun

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2014) – CORE autosport rebounded from an early setback at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to finish third at the Brickyard Grand Prix, the latest round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Colin Braun and Jon Bennett were looking forward to starting their first race at Indianapolis from the pole position in the Prototype Challenge category, but unfortunately, when Bennett missed the entrance to pit-in during the pre-race procedures, race officials directed him to start the No. 54 from the back of the grid.

Undeterred, Bennett put his head down and after 35 minutes of racing, including two re-starts from yellow, he had the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 from 10th to sixth in class. His position was further boosted by the excellent pit work of the CORE autosport crew, which advanced him into fifth during the third full-course yellow.

The third full-course yellow was especially long owing to track repairs. The minimum drive time for silver-rated drivers elapsed during this caution period, causing another slew of pit stops for the PC cars. This gave the CORE crew another chance to shine; even with a driver change to Braun, the team was able to pick up another spot in the pits. When the race finally returned to green, Braun was P4.

He wasn’t fourth for long. Three minutes after the restart, Braun was in the PC lead. The lead turned out to be short-lived for the No. 54, however, as Braun was reeled back in as he struggled to fight through traffic. This combined with a need to conserve fuel prohibited a late-race charge and Braun inevitably crossed the finish line in third-place.

The podium finish was more than enough to maintain the team’s lead in the PC Championship with four rounds remaining.

Next up for CORE autosport is the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, Aug. 8 – 10.

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“My day started with a very bad, unforced error on the reconnaissance lap. Unfortunately, I missed pit entry and found myself with an extra recon lap.  For that, we got to start at the back of the field.
 
“At that point, what’s done is done. I did my best to focus and fix the situation as best I could before Colin got back in the car. I drove really hard, and we also got a couple fortunate breaks with a couple well-placed yellow flags and caution periods. I handed the car over to Colin in a competitive spot on the lead lap. I think Colin did the best job he could with the car. I think it was the kind of day where the handling was constantly changing, and it was a little bit of a struggle. All-in-all, it was a good day for CORE.
 
“Racing in Indy is big. I tried not to think of it too much during the event because it is so overwhelming. It was an absolute joy. The configuration of our circuit was very conducive to good racing, and I really enjoyed our time here. To wake up in the morning and find yourself at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a very special event.
 
“Our team understands what it’s like to be a little bit behind. I don’t think we ever panic, and we have confidence that things are going to turn out okay. I think we got the best result we could today. And, quite honestly, it was a good day for chasing the championship, so I’m quite happy with that.”
– JON BENNETT


14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot
“Jon did a good job starting the car. I jumped in the car under that long, lengthy caution. Soon after returning to green, Gunnar [Jeannette] spun out right in front of me, but luckily I missed crashing into him.
 
“I had the lead for a little bit, but we just didn’t have the outright pace. I was struggling in traffic. We just got beat. Some other PC guys came here to test and picked the tire to run on, so I’m sure that also helped their program. We weren’t far off. A few tenths over a long green flag run like that though and you end up just a little behind.
 
“We just had so much rubber off line that as soon as you went to pass a GT car you had a bunch of pick up. It was really slick and hard to get the rubber back off, so it made it really like one-groove racing and it had tight, slow corners, which leads to bumper-to-bumper racing until you can get a little bit of a run and get past them on the straight away.”
 
“It was a good day for points though. We extended our lead a little bit more since the No. 8 car had a problem, and he was our closest competitor there. All in all that’s a positive for us for sure.
 
“We had a solid day. It certainly wasn’t great, and it certainly wasn’t terrible. Everyone did a good job, and we executed well. Some days that’s all you have. The guys did a good job on pit row. Jon did a good job driving. We had a fast car. It just wasn’t quite enough. That’s the way it goes, you can’t win them all.”
– COLIN BRAUN

CORE Tops PC Qualifying in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 24, 2014) – Colin Braun dominated TUDOR United Sports Car Prototype Challenge qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday to take his third pole position of the season. Co-driver Jon Bennett will lead the PC class to the green flag on Friday, July 25, for the Brickyard Grand Prix.

From the drop of the green flag in the 15-minute qualifying session, Braun had the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 at the top of the timing screens, this despite driving the new infield road course for the first time ever only several hours earlier.

Braun’s time continued to improve with each lap of the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit. The team knew Braun was capable of a 1:19.6 lap time, which he performed in the second practice session, but slower traffic balked him on his early flyers. At the close of the session, his fast time of 1:19.849 was still 0.22-second clear of the second-place qualifier.

The pole position at Indianapolis is the second PC pole in-a-row for Braun and third on the season. In January at Daytona and most recently in June at Watkins Glen. CORE autosport went on to win at both of those legendary circuits and would love to add Indianapolis to the list.

Bennett and Braun have their sights set on win number five tomorrow in the Brickyard Grand Prix, scheduled to go green at 5:45 pm ET. The race will be carried live at 5:30 pm ET on FOX Sports 1 in the U.S. and live on IMSA.com in Europe, Asia and Africa.

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“If you had asked me before qualifying, I would have told you we had a better race car than a qualifying car, so I was happy to sneak away with the pole. The team did a great job and I believe we have a great car for the race tomorrow.

“I kept getting closer than I wanted to on the bumper of the guy in front of me, so I had to back off two or three times. I think that’s when the tires were the best and I might have missed a good lap, because we did a 1:19.6 in practice and now qualified at a 1:19.8. I’m disappointed we didn’t go as fast as we’re capable of, but I’m excited that we have the pole.

“It just goes to show the hard working attitude and will power we have at CORE autosport. We keep our heads down and we work. We don’t let any of the previous success we’ve had stand in the way of working harder. All the cars are the same in this class, so it’s about the manpower and working your guts out.

“I think the fact that all the PC cars were qualifying up until the checkered flag goes to show that the guys at Continental Tire do a great job with the tires. We’ve seen a couple times now that the fastest lap of the qualifying session comes at the very end. “I don’t think anyone wants to put a flyer in and then pull it into pit lane and stop. More times than not, you see everyone get faster at the end of the session. Hats off to Continental, they’ve done a good job with the tire. Nobody wanted to give up—we want to keep fighting until the end.

“It’d be huge to win this race tomorrow. We want to win at every event we go to no matter where it is—they all pay the same points—but to win at Indy would be really cool.”
– COLIN BRAUN

CORE Makes Debut at Legendary Indianapolis

Currently on a hot streak, CORE autosport wants to continue its winning ways at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and continue to cushion its lead in the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship. The No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 machine has won four of the five PC races so far this season, giving the team a 17-point lead in the Championship.

For the third race in-a-row, CORE is taking on a circuit it has not raced at previously. This week, it’s the 2.439-mile infield road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Only this time, neither driver has any race experience on the circuit and the team did not partake in any testing there this year.

As always, the team will rely on its ability to plan and prepare to capture win number five. It’s a strategy that has served it well this season and in three American Le Mans Series Championship-winning seasons.

NOTEWORTHY

  • Neither Jon Bennett nor Colin Braun have raced at the IMS road course before.
  • The 14-turn road course at IMS is a new configuration only used once before by IndyCar earlier this year.
  • The Brickyard Grand Prix marks the first time the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship has shared a race weekend with NASCAR.
  • CORE autosport leads the PC Team Championship by 17 points. Bennett and Braun have the same lead in the PC Drivers’ Championship.

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“It’s a challenge to prepare for an event at a track that we have limited data and on-track time. In these cases, simulation can sometimes fill the void.  In the case of Indy’s new road course there just isn’t much to work with since the configuration is so new. Thankfully, we have Tom Brown who is a stellar race engineer with a wealth of experience. We also have some insight from the IndyCar race that occurred earlier this year. We will be very busy taming the learning curve at Indy.
 
“It’s hard to say how approaching this new circuit will effect the competition between the PC teams. Our systematic approach to each event has worked well for us in the past. We will arrive at Indy humble and ready to work.  We will focus on the aspects of the event under our control and hope for a good result.
 
“Winning four races is a reflection of the strength of our team, our work ethic, and a bit of racing luck.  Our past success does not transfer to future events. We start each event by focusing on the process that has worked for us in the past.  We accept that race results can be altered by factors, both positive and negative, which are not in our control.  This team philosophy helps us to manage the pressures of competition at every event.”
– Jon Bennett

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“The Porsche North America team went testing at Indy, so I’ve talked to a few of those guys and have an idea of what the race track is like, but other than that I don’t have much intel. The race track has changed quite a bit from what it was the last couple of years with the GRAND-AM guys. It hasn’t been updated on iRacing, so there’s not a lot for us to study at this point.
 
“I think it’s a bit comparable in terms of grip level and layout to a couple different tracks that we go to; I see parts of Kansas in that track, and some parts look tight and technical like a street course. There are definitely some first and second-gear corners. There’s slow stuff and quick stuff and it has the roval component to it. It’s going to be interesting.
 
“I think Indy will be tough for us in particular since we did not test and I believe there were a couple of PC teams that did. We’ll start a little behind maybe, but we have a lot of good information to fall back on. Our engineer Tom Brown’s been doing a good job setting up some simulations. Obviously, Tom being an ex-IndyCar engineer, he’s got some friends in that paddock that he can talk to and bounce ideas off of since they’ve run the track already this year. We’re definitely as prepared as we can be in a sense of digging up as much information as we can. We’ll do the best we can to figure it out in the time we have.
 
“For me personally, I enjoy the pressure of leading the championship. The more pressure we have, the better off we are. We’re a team that excels under pressure. We use it to motivate us and get better. The organization that Jon and Morgan have built feeds itself; the better we do, the harder we work. The harder we work, the more we’re focused on improving. We take everything one practice, one qualifying, one race at a time. Everyone is trying to catch up I guess, but if we keep working as hard as we are, it’ll be tough for them to keep up.”
– Colin Braun