Archive for “October, 2014”

CORE Celebrates Spectacular 2014 Season

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Oct. 28, 2014) – CORE autosport’s trophy case grew exponentially in 2014, it’s fourth-straight Prototype Challenge Championship season. This tremendous accomplishment came with a host of other awards and recognitions during the inaugural TUDOR UnitedSports Car Championship season.

Winning both the team and driver championships in the PC class came as a result of eight podium finishes with four race wins. This included the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, in the team’s first-ever 24-hour race. The team backed it up with wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Kansas and Watkins Glen.

Victories at the celebrated endurance races—Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen—plus a runner-up finish at Petit Le Mans was more than enough to help CORE sweep the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship prizes for team and drivers.

Along the way, Colin Braun scored three pole positions (Daytona, Watkins Glen, Indianapolis), more than any other driver in PC. This earned him the TOTAL Pole Award at the season-ending Night of Champions banquet.

Team owner/driver Jon Bennett also picked up a special acknowledgment. As the top-finishing Pro-Am in the PC category, Bennett was the recipient of the Jim Trueman Award.

Such strong performances from drivers and crew enabled the No. 54 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 to complete more laps in the 2014 season than any other PC car, thus earning The Continental Tire Driving Confidence Award.

The CORE shop is already diligently preparing to defend its titles in the 2015 and attempt a “Drive for Five,” with Bennett and Braun once again teaming up in the no. 54 machine. The team will return to action first with the annual Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway, January 9 – 11, followed by the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 24 – 25.

Four for CORE

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct 5, 2014) – CORE autosport wrapped up the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar season with a treasure chest of hardware including a podium finish at Petit Le Mans, top Prototype Challenge honors in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup and it’s fourth-straight PC Team Championship.

Colin Braun started the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 fourth on the PC grid. He quickly climbed to the top of the PC class on restart from the race’s first of many cautions and lead the next 30 minutes of the race until it was time for the first pit stop.

Braun pitted from first and returned to the track in third. As traffic picked up, Braun battled between fourth, fifth and sixth positions until another full-course caution. The team chose to pit from fifth for fuel only and returned to track in second place, which enabled Braun to take over the lead for a time after the restart.

Braun handed the car off to teammate Jon Bennett in fourth. Despite multiple yellows, Bennett held a strong position in the top five for most of his run. Nearly halfway into the race, Bennett pitted under yellow from fifth for a driver change to James Gué.

Gué kept the car clean and held it in a good spot battling between fourth and fifth place. Gué handed the car back to Braun in third place for Braun’s closing run.

Braun again encountered multiple yellows and held the car in the top five, alternating between fourth and fifth place. With nearly 15 minutes to go, the leading No. 25 8Star car was involved in an accident on track, brining one last yellow flag. Several teams pitted during the yellow, advancing Braun to second place where he remained through the restart and all the way to the checkered flag.

The runner-up finish was more than enough to earn CORE it’s fourth-straight PC Team Championship (three in the American Le Mans Series and now one in the TUDOR Series). Bennett and Braun had already clinched the PC Drivers’ Championship a round early at Circuit of the Americas.

By simply starting the 10-hour race at Road Atlanta, CORE earned the first Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup PC Team Title. A prize awarded to the team with the best finishes in the season’s four endurance rounds (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans). Bennett, Braun and Gué earned the same prize in the driver category, making for a clean sweep of the TPNAEC prizes.

Highlights from the 17th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda will air on FOX, Sunday, Oct. 5 around NFL coverage. Check your local listings.

 

driver_bennett_400x400“It’s hard to find words to describe the culmination of this season. It was kind of an unusual season as you look back. We started the season with a 24-hour race that our team had never done. To get here tonight with all of our objectives done, and done well, at the end of the day is a testament to the team and an absolute dream come true. I couldn’t be happier.

 

“We had a split strategy going into the race today. On one hand we were spring loaded to win the race, but at the same time we realized how far we’d come and what the championship implications were of the race today. While we didn’t talk about it much, I think it was in the back of all of our minds to behave ourselves and be respective of the championship we were chasing. I’m very grateful to have won the championships and to finish second on top of that. Again, it’s another testament to the strong, strong car that Eric Vanbibber built and to the CORE autosport race team.”
JON BENNETT

 

driver_gue_400x400This race was a struggle in terms of handling. We didn’t nail it quite as closely as we did at the other races. My stint wasn’t the easiest of stints, but we hung in there. We were able to hand the car over to Colin in a decent spot and within reach of the leader. It’s a fantastic result for CORE and certainly a dream season for me.

 

“To join CORE and be a part of this Patrón Endurance Cup is pretty spectacular. To get three of the biggest wins of my career and second place here at my home track is pretty big.

 

“CORE is an absolute first-class team and one of the best teams I’ve ever driven with. That’s why they get the results.”
JAMES GUÉ

driver_braun_400x400“Our goal first and foremost was to win the team championship. To win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup is a notable accomplishment as well. Obviously, we would have loved to win the race, but I’m really happy to finish second. It was a tough, challenging, long day.  There were a lot of cars and a lot of places to find trouble, but we were able to avoid the trouble and do what we needed to do to win the team championship.

 

“I had a good opening stint and led for quite a while. We had to be protective of our racecar early on to make sure we were there at the end. Jon and James did a great job today. We had great pit stops and good strategy.

 

“I thought we were fourth or fifth there at the end then the next thing I knew something happened with the leading No. 25 car. A couple other guys had to make pit stops so that moved us up to second and away we went.”
– COLIN BRAUN

 

CORE autosport to Start Fourth at Petit Le Mans

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 3, 2014) – The No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 will start the TUDOR United SportsCar season finale from fourth on the Prototype Challenge grid. Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gué will share the car for Saturday’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans event.

After skipping the morning practice session, which was red-flagged for rain, Braun took to the wheel of the No. 54 for the 15-minute qualifying session. Though the rain had stopped and several support series had since dried off the track, dark clouds loomed on the horizon as the PC cars arrived on pit lane.

Braun slotted into fourth place early in the session and remained there through the checkered flag. His times improved to the end, settling in at a 1:16.612 (119.355 mph). It may not have been a pole position, but the team ended qualifying happy with the race car they are taking into tomorrow’s Petit Le Mans endurance race.

Bennett and Braun wrapped up the PC Drivers Championship at COTA two weeks ago, but now CORE will attempt to capture its fourth-straight team championship as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. CORE currently holds an 11-point lead in the team standings and a 10-point lead in the TPNAEC standings.

Petit Le Mans goes green at 11:15 am ET on Saturday. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.com and broadcast on FOX Sports 2 beginning at 3 pm ET. A race recap will air on FOX around local NFL coverage (check your local listings).

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“We had a rain out in the first practice session, so for qualifying we went out on a track we hadn’t really seen. It was a green track kind of for our rubber. With all of the rain earlier, we didn’t really know what to expect. Of course, we would’ve liked to qualify better. We had pace, and I thought we would have been higher than that. It’s a long race, and in the end, we’ll be fine.

 

“Overall, we’re really happy with the racecar we have and our performance all week. It’s much more about how you get through traffic, execute pit stops and how all three drivers’ pace is than it is about one flying lap. We’ll look to the race and execute a good plan and be in good shape.

 

“The key tomorrow is staying out of trouble. It’s going to be really busy with all the traffic and all of the cars. Everyone is racing hard because this is an important race.  We just got to stay smart and stay out of trouble until we get to the end and see where the chips lay.”
– COLIN BRAUN

Eyes on Team Title as CORE Heads to Petit

After clinching the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge Driver’s Championship for Jon Bennett and Colin Braun at Circuit of the Americas, CORE autosport now heads to Road Atlanta in the hopes of capturing its fourth-straight team title.

Since CORE autosport first entered the PC class in 2011, it has claimed the team championship every year. The first three came in the American Le Mans Series. Now, the team hopes to earn title number four in the new TUDOR Series.

Though the point margin is 11, earning championship number four will be no easy task, as Petit Le Mans is a brutal 10-hour race around the fast and unforgiving Road Atlanta circuit. Endurance races like Petit require an expanded driver lineup and James Gue will join Bennett and Braun in the driver seat as he did at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen.

In addition to a team championship, CORE autosport, Bennett, Braun and Gue can win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, a special prize for the team that does the best in the season’s four endurance races. CORE and its drivers currently have a 10-point lead. Points are awarded for running order at hour four, eight and the finish.

NOTEWORTHY

  • CORE autosport has put a PC car on the podium at every Petit Le Mans event its entered.
  • CORE won Petit Le Mans in 2012 with Alex Popow, Ryan Dalziel and Mark Wilkins.
  • CORE autosport leads the PC Team Championship by 11 points and must finish seventh or higher to claim the 2014 team title regardless of where its competitors finish.
  • CORE, Bennett, Braun and Gue have a 10 point lead in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
  • Bennett finished third in last year’s Petit Le Mans with Wilkins and Tom Kimber-Smith.
  • Braun drove CORE’s No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in last year’s race with Patrick Long and Michael Christensen, finishing eighth.

14-CORE-Web-Bennett-headshot“Our focus will be on winning Petit Le Mans. Winning every event is always our goal, but we will adjust our risk management slightly to respect our larger mission. Every time our racecar takes the green flag there are factors outside our control, so it’s comforting to know that our driver’s championship is safe from the unexpected at Petit Le Mans. To earn a fourth team championship would be a fitting tribute to the hard work and dedication of our CORE autosport team. There is no way to fully thank them for their long hours.  I know they enjoy winning as much as Colin and I.

“I have a lot of laps at Road Atlanta. In fact, Road Atlanta was the first race circuit I drove when I started racing in 1992.  My favorite part of Road Atlanta is the braking zone for Turn 10a.  The PC car has breathtaking stopping skills.

“I’m a night owl anyway, so I’m looking forward to racing at night.  In some ways, there is a calm in the darkness once you establish your rhythm.”

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“Winning the driver’s championship takes a little bit of worry away. We’re in a sport where there are a lot of things outside your control. For us to have that locked up is one last item to accomplish when we get to Petit.

“We’re just going to go out and drive. We’ve operated under that pretense all season. This group only knows one way to race; you’ve got to be fast, but you’ve got to be smart and be there at the end of the race. That applies if you want to win races or championships.

“The biggest thing we’re going to struggle with at Road Atlanta is traffic. It’s going to be busy with 54 cars, especially with the way that track flows and works. It’s got some really high-speed corners, but it’s also got some narrow, impossible to pass sections of the race track as well. If you get stuck behind a GTD car in the downhill Esses, you’re going to have to just sit there and wait. It’s going to be wild!”

 

 

“I think Colin, Jon and myself work well together because we each understand our role in the team and we focus on doing the best job we can on our specific tasks. It’s a great team environment that really helps get the best out of the drivers.

“Being a third driver puts you in a unique and difficult position. Jon and Colin are the regulars so it can throw off the rhythm of the weekend when you add another driver in because practice time has to split across three drivers. My objective is to get up to speed as quick as possible and play a supporting role in the race by keeping the car out of trouble and handing it back over to Colin and Jon up the front.

“So far it’s been a dream season with the three big wins; however I don’t feel any added pressure, to me it’s just another race and I’m going into this race the same way I approached any of the other races this year. If we execute and do the job we are capable of doing all those other things will come. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the end result and that’s when problems come up.”