Archive for “March, 2015”

CORE Captures Podium Finish at Sebring

After some early set backs put the No. 54 Composite Resources/ Flex Box ORECA FLM09 a lap down, CORE autosport battled back with a vengeance to earn a runner-up finish at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.

After qualifying the car P2 on the Prototype Challenge grid, Colin Braun started the car for the legendary 12-hour enduro at Sebring International Raceway in central Florida. He immediately moved into the top spot on the opening lap and stayed there through the length of his stint.

Braun handed the car off to Jon Bennett, who had a brief off on cold tires to kick off the stint. Later, contact with a GTLM car further delayed the No. 54. Although there was no significant damage to the car and Bennett brought it home in fourth place, when James Gué jumped behind the wheel the team was a lap down.

Gué kept his nose clean and quick work by the CORE crew in the pits enabled the No. 54 to move up a spot to third. After a breathtaking battle with the No. 38 of Conor Daly, Gué was forced to relinquish third place, but got the final podium spot back when another PC car dropped out with problems.

Gué handed the car off to Braun who went on a tear, putting the No. 54 back on the lead lap, into second place and closing the gap to the leader before handing the car back to Gué. In his triple stint, Gué continued to make up ground on the leaders.

With two hours remaining in the race, it was Braun’s turn to hop back in the car and take it to the finish. Thanks to a well timed yellow flag and pass around, the No. 54 was within striking distance several times during Braun’s final turn in the car, but the leader—No. 52 PR1/Mathiassen car—managed to pull away in the nick of time. On the final round of pit stops, the No. 52 took fuel only, the No. 54 fuel and tires.

When the checkered flag flew, Braun crossed the line 11.614 seconds behind the No. 52.  It was the second consecutive runner-up finish in this year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for CORE.

A recap of the 12 Hours of Sebring will air on FOX Sports 2, Sunday March 22 at 8am ET.

It will be more than a month until the No. 54 sees track action again. Round Three of the PC season takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, April 30 – May 3.

 

15-CORE-JG-Headshot“I had a pretty challenging stint. I don’t know if it was the time of day or an issue with the tires that we got, but right from the get-go, they just didn’t come up to temperature like they normally do. I struggled terribly with the balance of the car. Unfortunately, that was the set I had to double stint, so I was stuck with them for two stints. When I got back in the second time, the second set of tires was a totally different car. I did my best to keep us in sight of the leaders and on the lead lap, looking for the yellow. Fortunately, when Colin got back in, we got our yellow and right back up on the leaders. I’m extremely pleased to be on the podium again. The CORE autosport guys did a great job, and it was a great day.”
James Gué

 

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“Our strategy was to triple stint me early in the race and then build the strategy from where we were at that point. It was a pretty good run double stinting the tires, and then on the third stint, I got a fresh set. There was some drama. I got collected by a Corvette in the middle of my second stint. But at the end of the day, we were very lucky there was no damage, and I was able to hand the car over to James in good condition. We were basically on track to have a good result. But at the end of the day, we were just a little shy in overall performance. I’m very happy for a somewhat uneventful 12-hour race. It’s nice to have back-to-back second-place finishes with Daytona. Looking at the bigger picture and the championship, it’s a great result for the season. “
– Jon Bennett

 

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“I’m really proud of the effort these guys put in. It was a lot of work to get the car rebuilt and ready to come here. To finish up qualifying second and finish the race second is a championship effort. We had a really good car on the front side of a tire run. We were really similar to the 52 car in the middle of the run, but they had a better car at the end of a run. It was one of those races where we were in it and contending the whole time. It just didn’t fall our way quite like we wanted it to there at the end. We just got a little bit behind in the last 30 minutes or so and that was the race.”
– Colin Braun

Colin on track at Sebring

CORE Starts from Front Row at Sebring

CORE autosport will start at the sharp end of the Prototype Challenge grid in its pursuit of a second-straight Sebring victory at the legendary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida.

Colin Braun qualified the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 in second place with a time of 1:55.327 (116.746 mph), just shy of pole position by .07 seconds.

Braun’s third lap was his quickest, but Martin Plowman in the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports car claimed the top spot with a flyer of 1:55.257 (116.817 mph).

New to 2015, IMSA regulations require the qualifying driver to start the car for the race. Braun will return to the driver’s seat for the green flag on Saturday. He shares driving duties with Jon Bennett and James Gué, the same winning driver line up as last year.

The Sebring green flag drops at 10:40 a.m., Saturday, March 21. The race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. Coverage continues on FOX Sports 2 from 12:30 to 7 p.m., IMSA.com from 7 to 10 p.m., and the final hour of action will unfold on FOX Sports 2 from 10 to 11 p.m.

Live scoring and in-car cameras are available throughout the race at IMSA.com.

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“We had a good qualifying effort. Obviously, we’d love to be on the pole, but it’s a long race and not all that important. I think I mismanaged my tires a little bit. I was hopeful that the Continental tires would hang on a little longer than they did, so I put a pretty good lap in the books. Then I tried to go for a really good lap but the tires were gone by that point, and I wasn’t able to go as quick as I was hoping. All in all it was a good effort. These guys did a really good job coming back after Daytona. We’ve been strong all week, and we’ve got a good package for the race. We have our typical formula for being fast and being in contention when it matters at the end, so that’s the most important thing.

 

“Tomorrow we just got to make good decisions in traffic and stay out of the mess. It’s a long race with lots of crazy guys out there, so we’ve got to stay out of trouble.”
– Colin Braun

CORE Aims for Second Straight Win at Sebring

The defending Prototype Challenge Champion’s Daytona race may have come to a firey end, but still, the team’s impeccable performance enabled them to hold onto second place. Now, CORE autosport is ready to shake off what might have been at Daytona and focus on winning its second-straight victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida.

CORE maintains the same driver lineup as last year’s Sebring race, which it won by 2.428 seconds. It was the first Sebring win for drivers Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gué, but the second Sebring victory for the team (the first in 2012).

The team’s nearly dominant performance at Daytona enabled it to take the lead in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. It will now aim to extend that lead in the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring, the second race on the TPNAEC schedule and Round Two of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship.
NOTEWORTHY

  • CORE autosport is second in the TUDOR PC Championship as are drivers Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gué in the PC Drivers’ Championship.
  • CORE leads the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup in the PC class by four points.
  • Jon Bennett has made four starts at Sebring, finishing on the podium in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
  • Braun has made five starts at Sebring, finishing on the podium in 2012 and 2014. He was the PC polesitter in 2013.
  • James Gue has made four starts at Sebring and finished on the podium in 2004 (LMP2) and 2014.
  • Braun will take part in Patrick Long’s charity go-kart event on Sunday.

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“Our team did not need to regroup after the unexpected end to our 2015 Rolex 24. We were all disappointed with the final minutes of the competition. In the final analysis, it is hard to improve upon leading the race for the majority of the first 23 and a half hours. There is no reason to regroup. We continue to polish our process.

“Preparing for the 12-hour race at Sebring looks and feels quite similar to preparing for a 24-hour race. We use less fuel and tires. We will require a team of three drivers rather than four. Those are really the only distinctions between the 12-hour race at Sebring and a 24-hour event. In fact, to protect our race car, we will start the Sebring race with more new parts and vibration damping techniques than any race on our calendar.

“Personally, my favorite portion of the track is the first 20 seconds of the lap. Running at high speed in sixth gear down the bumpy front straight you give a tip of the hat to your crew and prepare for the super high speed, blind entry Turn One. The exit of this turn is breathtaking and leads into a technical, combination of quick turns leading onto the run down to the hotel. Once you exit this group of turns, you know you’re in Sebring.

“Sebring has a rich tradition in endurance sport car events. Sebring has always been part of the LeMans endurance racing mystique. It’s a tough race on teams, drivers and equipment. In many ways, it could be a more difficult race than Le Mans. I look forward to the day when the international sanctioning bodies will come together and bring all endurance competitors together for this grueling endurance race. That will be a good day for motorsports.”

– Jon Bennett

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“There was a ton of work to get done after Daytona and in preparation for Sebring. As always, the guys at the CORE shop have been working extremely hard and I think it really speaks to the processes and everything in place at CORE that they were able to get things fixed back up in no time. It was a big accident, but those guys had all the parts and pieces in place and were able to get it turned around into a working racecar again in no time. It gives you a lot of confidence, as a driver, when you’ve got the guys and the facility to make that happen.

“I think a lot of people have very high expectations of what we’re capable of this year. I think it’s one of those deals where, you can be at the top of your game and be doing everything right and putting yourself in positions to win races, but there are things that are completely out of your control, like at Daytona. I think there’s always a chance of things happening that stop you from meeting those high expectations. It might be disappointing, but we definitely dominated that race (Daytona) and were in a position to win. I’ve always had the thought that if you’re in a position to win races at the end, you do that enough times and you’ll end up winning. I think it’s unrealistic in this sport to think you can win every single race. We just do our part to be prepared and put ourselves in a position to win races.

“I think the hardest thing about Sebring is how physical it is: on both the driver and the car. It’s such a rough race track that it wears everything out. It’s a good test of driver fitness and machine strength because it’s a long track and bumpy. That’s also what makes it enjoyable. For me, I think Sebring would lose a lot of its mystique and a lot of the history and heritage that it has if it were repaved. I think it’s cool that we go to an old school race track like this that’s rough and bumpy. It’s challenging. Too me it’s special because it’s an old school, tough to drive, bounces you around kind of race track. That’s what makes it special to me and I’d like to see it stay the way it is.”

– Colin Braun

15-CORE-JG-Headshot“For me Sebring ranks right up there as one of the most recognized endurance races in the world. Whenever I think of endurance sportscar racing Daytona and Sebring always come to mind. It’s a very unique track that really puts a huge stress on both driver and car. That is why you find so many teams want to use it for testing; it’s a great place to test strength and durability.

“I don’t have any one part of the track that I could name my favorite. I just enjoy the challenge of the entire place. It’s such a unique surface and it has so much character; it’s really a fun place to race.

“I really don’t have too different of an approach to a 12-hour race versus a 24-hour race. With the level of competition and technology these days, I feel both are almost run as sprint races. Also, the cars are so strong currently that you can get away with running 100 percent from start to finish.

“Everyone knows it can get a bit crazy in the infield. In the drivers’ seat, you usually can’t see it, but around lunch and dinner time you can always smell what’s cooking on all the grills!”

James Gue

 

12 Hours of Sebring | March 19 – 21

VENUE
Track Length: 3.74 miles, 17 turns
Race Length: 12 Hours

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
Thursday, March 19
10:15am – 11:15am: Practice #1 (All Classes)
2:25pm – 3:25pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)
7:15pm – 8:45pm: Practice #3 (All Classes)
Friday, March 20
9:50am – 10:50am: Practice #4 (All Classes)
11:30am – 12:15pm: Driver Autograph Session (Team Transporters)
5:10pm – 5:25pm: Qualifying (PC Class)
Saturday, March 21 8:00am – 8:20am: Warm Up
9:05am – 10:30am: Pre-Race / Open Grid
10:40am – 10:40pm: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
LIVE Qualifying (Worldwide)
Friday, March 20
4:15pm – 5:55pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:
Saturday, March 21
10:30am – 12:30pm: FOX Sports 1
12:30pm – 7:00pm: FOX Sports 2
7:00pm – 10:00pm: IMSA.com
10:00pm – 11:00pm: FOX Sports 2

LIVE Race (Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa)
10:30am – 11:00pm: IMSA.com

Race Recap U.S.:
Sunday, March 22
8:00am – 10:00am: FOX Sports 1

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:
IMSA.com (http://www.imsa.com)