Archive for “August, 2014”

CORE make a comeback in Virginia

ALTON, Va. (Aug. 24, 2014) – A runner-up finish in Segment 2 for Colin Braun averaged out to an overall third-place finish for CORE autosport at VIRginia International Raceway.

Teammate Jon Bennett’s seventh-place finish in Saturday’s race put Braun P7 on the grid for today’s 45-minute race. Braun initially had trouble making up ground, but found his stride and 15 minutes into the race was already up to fourth place.  While reeling in the leaders, Braun set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:41.608.

After a quick battle with Renger Van der Zande, Braun was into second place with leader Luis Diaz in his sights. Braun took a look, but it cost him and Van der Zande was back around. Moments later Van der Zande was off track and Braun was back in the hunt for the lead.

His chase was short-lived, however, as the race went full-course yellow for a car off at Turn Five. Six minutes were left on the clock when the yellow was issued, which was not enough time to clean up the incident and the race ended under yellow with Braun in second place.

In the unique split-race format at VIR, a seventh and second-place finish netted CORE a third place result overall for the weekend and third-place points for its car and drivers.

CORE heads into the penultimate round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, with a five-point lead in the PC Team Championship over 8Star, unofficially.

Bennett and Braun return to Circuit of The Americas for the Lone Star Le Mans Sept. 19 – 20. The race will air on FOX, Sunday, Sept. 21 at a time TBD.

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“Overall it was a good weekend for us. We had a fast racecar and rebounded well after our tough Road America event. Jon did a good job qualifying and in the race yesterday.
 
“I struggled a little bit on the start today trying to get past some of the slower guys that were between Luis and me. It’s a tough place to pass because many of these corners have high down force areas where these cars get a lot of under steering behind them. I struggled to make my way to the front, but then I had a good battle with Renger, which was fun. I was close to Luis and thought we were going to have a really good shot at it there. But then a yellow came out with 8 minutes to go, and that was the race there. It would have been a lot of fun to race Luis at the end, but we didn’t get a chance to go back green.”

 

 

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“This is a team sport. I had a rough race yesterday, but Colin did a great job taking off from the seventh-place finish I earned. Overall, you have good days and bad days. It’s all about how you put those pieces together as a team that makes a strong run for the end of the season. In the end, we got the result and are motivated to go to COTA with fangs out.”

Bennett Seventh in VIR Race Segment 1

ALTON, Va.  (Aug. 23, 2014) – As part of the split-race format for the Prototype Challenge category at VIRginia International Raceway, Jon Bennett qualified the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 fifth and finished Race Segment 1 in seventh. Colin Braun will start Sunday’s Race Segment 2 from seventh.

A break from the TUDOR United SportsCar Series’ typical two-hour and 45-minute race format, the PC class is instead faced with a one-hour and 30-minute race at VIR, split into two 45-minute segments. Both segments combine the PC cars with IMSA Prototype Lites cars. This format is similar to the one used at Kansas International Raceway in June, a race won by CORE autosport.

While Braun typically has qualifying duties in the No. 54, the split-race format requires the team’s bronze or silver-rated driver to qualify the car. In CORE’s case, that driver is Bennett. In his second qualifying performance of the season, Bennett put the No. 54 fifth on the PC grid.

Starting from fifth, Bennett initially fell back to seventh after the start, but moved into sixth when another driver spun. While running sixth, Bennett was in hot pursuit of fifth-place Martin Fuentes, but lost momentum and fell into the clutches of former teammate Frankie Montecalvo, who passed Bennett for sixth-place with 20 minutes to go.

The race was briefly halted by a single full-course caution, but green flag racing resumed with seven minutes to go. Bennett survived a close call with a loose tire on track in the closing laps and held onto his seventh-place all the way to the checkered flag.

The finish order for Race Segment 1 determines the starting grid for Race Segment 2. Braun will take over driving duties for Sunday’s 45-minute affair, which goes green at 10:45 am ET and will be streamed live on IMSA.com.

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“We had a pretty good result in qualifying. Obviously, we would’ve hoped for better than fifth. But in terms of our lap times, we were certainly competitive. Qualifying is not something I get to do often, so I certainly enjoyed the extra track time and the challenge of qualifying well. Maybe next year there’s a way to work that into the system so it happens more often.

 

“The start was a bit chaotic. Sometimes you come out on the good side of it and sometimes you don’t. It was a bit of a rough start in terms of maintaining position. One of the cars didn’t start so that changed the grid a little during the pace lap. But it settled down. I just struggled a little today with some handling and lack of grip. I’m sure we’ll get the car tuned-up for tomorrow, and Colin will have a good race.

 

“The Lites traffic for the most part was predictable, and I think the two cars race together pretty well in terms of speed differential. On the other hand, I don’t think the Lites drivers are used to faster cars coming by, so you have to be careful you don’t surprise them in a place where they’re not expecting the pass.

 

“Late in the race there was an incident exiting Turn 5 that turned up a lot of grass, smoke and dust. I saw the car off the side of the track, but then tires from the tire wall started rolling my way. But luckily I was able to avoid the debris and continue on.”
– Jon Bennett

CORE seek third straight VIR podium

After a tough race for CORE autosport at Road America, the team is looking to rebound at VIRginia International Raceway.

If history is any indicator, VIR is the right place for CORE to return to victory circle: the team scored double podium finishes in its two prior visits to the circuit.

At VIR, the Prototype Challenge category will run alongside the IMSA Prototype Lites in a similar split-race format to that used in Kansas. Jon Bennett will qualify the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 and start Race Segment 1 on Saturday. On Sunday, Colin Braun will start Race Segment 2 from the position Bennett finished Segment 1. Each Segment will be 45 minutes and have no pit stops or driver changes. The team with the highest average finish between the two races will be awarded first-place points for the event.

 

Noteworthy

  • Jon Bennett and Colin Braun won the PC race at VIR in 2012. That same year the team’s sister car finished third.
  • In 2013, Bennett and Tom Kimber-Smith finished second in PC at VIR.
  • Also in 2013, Braun and Patrick Long finished second in GT in CORE’s No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
  • CORE autosport leads the PC Team Championship by 19 points.
  • Bennett and Braun lead the PC Drivers’ Championship by 35 points.

 

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“VIR is a beautiful, park like racetrack with a rich history of sports car racing. It is wonderful place just to walk around and enjoy the noise. It’s my home track and I have enjoyed dozens of events here since its re-opening in 2000. It is a fast track that rewards both patience and risk taking. I think that describes CORE pretty well.

“The split format is interesting, but, I prefer competing in the full TUDOR series format with our four main classes. I think multi-class, endurance racing is what the TUDOR series represents and it is the format I enjoy the most.

“Qualifying the car is a rare opportunity for me.  I enjoy the pressure of having to bring my ‘A’ game and push for the perfect lap. Next year, it would be interesting to see a race format in which there was an incentive to have the silver/bronze driver qualify the car. I could imagine a guideline that requires the qualifying driver to start the race. Now, that would mix it up a bit, for sure.”
– Jon Bennett

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“I really enjoy VIR. It’s got a great layout with a lot of elevations changes and that makes it fun to drive. It has a nice rhythm and flow to it. I think when we’ve raced there previously, we’ve found the track to be a bit narrow, which made it a challenge to pass. It was also challenging to get on pit road. I think the changes they’ve made will really help this weekend. It won’t be tremendously different and it won’t change the great flow of the track, but I hope the changes make for better racing.

“I had a chance to check out the improvements and make a few laps on the North Course, which is about half of the track that we’ll use. VIR’s done a lot of work on the surface of the race track as well as widening it out in some areas, including pit road. It’s a really good looking facility especially now that they’ve paved the entire paddock area.

“I think at VIR, the IMSA Lites cars will play less of a role, because it’s a much longer track than Kansas. Hopefully we’re not lapping them as frequently as we were at Kansas.”
– Colin Braun

CORE Escapes Road America with Point Lead

ELKHART LAKE, Wis (Aug. 10, 2014) – The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase was perhaps the hardest race yet for CORE autosport in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Both Jon Bennett and Colin Braun fell victim to contact on course, which took them out of a podium position at Road America.

Starting from sixth on the Prototype Challenge grid, Bennett held the spot through the first full-course caution and when the team elected not to pit, the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 picked up two positions, re-starting in fifth.

Shortly after the restart, Bennett was spun around in Turn Six by the GTLM class leader. There was no damage and he was able to get the car back under way quickly, losing only one position in the process.

Bennett brought the car into pit lane during the next full-course caution and handed the car over to Braun. The quick work of the CORE pit crew gained the No. 54 three positions on pit lane. Braun dropped a spot on the restart but immediately re-took the position. One lap later, he was up to second.

With an hour and 15 minutes remaining, Braun dropped a spot to third and shortly there after was hit from behind entering Turn 12, known as Canada Corner, which is a 90-degree turn at the end of Road America’s back straightaway.

Braun ricocheted off the wall, tearing off the car’s nose, before jumping the curbing and landing in the gravel trap. The race went full-course yellow but it took the safety team several laps to retrieve Braun from the gravel. He limped the car back to the paddock where the crew immediately began repair work, which included replacing the right front and rear suspension, front nose and rear deck lid.

The No. 54 returned to the circuit eight laps down with less than 40 minutes remaining in the race. Braun brought the car home in eighth, salvaging valuable championship points after a brutal race. The team leaves Road America with a 19-point lead in the PC championship, unofficially.

The team now looks ahead to VIRginia International Raceway where it has scored podium finishes in each of its previous trips, including a win in 2012. The Oak Tree Grand Prix takes place Aug. 23 – 24 and will be broadcast on Sunday, Aug. 24 on FOX Sports 1 at 4pm ET.

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“We had a busy start to the weekend with lots of changes to the racecar to make it behave well. By the time the race went green, the car was behaving very well – hats off to the team for that. Like any race, we had a hectic start jostling for position. I basically was trying to keep my nose clean and stay competitive. I’m not sure if we got a little help from a GT car, but I ended up spinning about midway through my stint. I recovered pretty well. By the time Colin got in the car we were in a position to have a good weekend. Unfortunately, Colin was a victim of a mistake by another driver. He ended up crashing with lots of damage. I’m very, very proud of the team for essentially rebuilding the car in about 20 to 25 minutes, which was important for Colin in order to get his points for the race. It wasn’t the race we’d hoped for, but we’re certainly OK and are off to VIR.

 

“The season is far from over, and we need to stick to our formula. It almost worked well for us this weekend. You just can’t predict what other drivers will do or other situations that are outside your control. We have plenty to learn from the weekend, and now we’re off to the next race.”
– JON BENNETT

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“The team was doing a really good job leading up to the accident. We had a reasonable pace. When we changed drivers, we had a great pit stop and passed a few guys, which put us ahead a bit. I thought we were sitting pretty for the rest of the race, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Shortly after I got in the car, I went down into Canada Corner and was on the inside passing a GT car. I think Ostella in the No. 38 missed his brake marker and just ran plum into the back of us, which spun us out. From there, it was just about making the repairs so that we could return to track to get in time and earn championship points. It was a bummer to get cleaned out like that, but I guess that’s how it goes.”

 

“We’ve just got to put this behind us and look forward to the rest of the season.”
COLIN BRAUN

CORE Sixth on PC Grid at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 9, 2014) – Colin Braun qualified the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 sixth on the Prototype Challenge grid for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, part of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

At 4.048 miles, Road America is the longest circuit CORE autosport will visit this season. The historic road course is fast and flowing with a mix of high- and low-speed corners. It presents an interesting setup challenge for the team, one that it began work on Friday in the first official practice session.

The team continued to evaluate the setup through two more practice sessions on Saturday. At the close of the final practice session, the team determined one more change needed to be made before qualifying, but it would require a quick trip back to the paddock. The change took slightly longer than anticipated and as a result Braun took to the circuit several minutes after the start of the 15-minute qualifying session.

Undeterred, Braun immediately attacked the track and was up to fifth on his first flying lap. He continued to shave time in his five qualifying laps, but was bumped to sixth in the closing minutes. His final qualifying time was a 2:00.273 (121.164 mph).

Teammate Jon Bennett will start the car from sixth for Sunday’s two hour and 45 minute race.

The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase goes green at 1:15 pm local time. Live timing and in-car cameras can be found at www.imsa.com. The race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 at 6:30 pm ET.

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot
“We struggled a little with a mechanical issue throughout both practices this morning. We found the issue and had to thrash to get things changed out before we qualified. We missed the first five minutes of the session, but the guys did an amazing job getting things changed in time. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day considering where we started and the struggles we had. It’s rebounding from those kinds of struggles that these guys are really good at. I’m excited for tomorrow.

 

“Tonight we’ll take a look at our information to figure out what our strategy and set-up are going to be, and we’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

– COLIN BRAUN

CORE Takes on Fast and Furious Road America

CORE autosport is looking for its fifth win in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this weekend, but faces four miles of fast straightaways, steep hills and gutsy corners to make it happen.

The PC Championship leaders are en route to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, home of the season’s longest venue: Road America. A favorite amongst many race drivers, the historic road course offers a mix of long straightaways, daunting elevation changes, plentiful passing zones and flowing corners.

The No. 54 ORECA FLM09 finished fourth at last year’s event. CORE would like to return to the podium once again at Road America where it scored its first one-two finish in 2012.

NOTEWORTHY

  • Road America is the longest circuit on the TUDOR schedule at 4.048 miles.
  • CORE has collected one PC win at Road America (2012) and never finished outside the top five.
  • At Indianapolis, CORE was awarded the VP Racing Fuels Front Runner Award for leading more laps than any other car in the first half of the season.
  • CORE autosport leads the PC Team Championship by 28 points.
  • Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead the PC Drivers’ Championship by 44 points.

 

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“Road America is one of my favorite circuits with beautiful hillsides and tree-lined corners. One of the challenges is the length of the circuit. It reduces the number of timed laps during our testing and practice sessions.
 
“My favorite part of the Road America circuit is banking our prototype through the infamous Kink (Turn 11). It is an absolute thrill. It’s flat out at 90 percent of our top speed. When you arrive, top speed is still building so the feeling is you are going faster and faster. At the moment you arrive, the road disappears between the narrowness of the inner and outer guardrails. You make a quick check in the mirrors, because ‘flat out through the Kink’ is absolutely a one car at a time proposition. You grip the wheel and thread the needle.  When you arrive at the exit with some road left, you exhale and get ready for a major brake zone at Canada Corner with zero escape options in the event of a mechanical failure.
 
“A year ago at this track, we raced as two separate series. Now, every race of the new TUDOR series improves the quality of competition. At this point in the season, the focus has shifted from the merger to the racing. I am pleased the competition and racing is now overshadowing the mechanics of the merger.  The merger is done . . . it’s time to race.”

 

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“Road America is a place CORE has been fast and successful at. We finished 1-2 there in 2012 and in 2013 we had a really fast race car, but the caution flags didn’t fall our way and we got a bit behind in the pit cycle. We had the pace and speed to win last year, so I’m hoping this year we’re able to get the win.
 
“Both of my parents grew up in Wisconsin within a couple hours of the race track. We have family and a lot of friends up there, so it’s nice to be able to go up and see everyone.
 
“My favorite part of the track is the concession stands. They have the best food at a race track you’ll ever find. Sweet corn and funnel cake fries? It’s awesome! I love it!
 
“As far as the race track goes, Road America is a challenging place that I really enjoy from a driving and engineering stand point because it has a little bit of every corner in the world folded into one race track. There’s a lot of fast corners, where you need high-speed grip, but a lot of heavy braking zones and you’ve got a lot of low-speed corners where you need a lot of mechanical grip. I don’t think I’ve ever had a race car there that was good in every corner. You always have to compromise a bit because it’s such a diverse mix of corners in one race track.”