DETROIT, Mich. (May 30. 2015) – The CORE autosport crew fought back from an early set back to finish fourth at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on the streets of Detroit.
Starting from fifth on the Prototype Challenge grid, Jon Bennett was preparing to take the green flag when the field ahead of him suddenly slowed. This forced Bennett into the back of the car ahead, while the car behind hit the rear of the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09.
The crew was ready for Bennett when he entered the pits the following lap. They replaced front bodywork and splitter, suspension on the left front and more bodywork on the rear quickly enough to send Bennett back out only four laps down.
The first full-course caution of the race was issued approximately 15 minutes after Bennett was back on course. With dark clouds looming overhead, Bennett pitted from sixth and handed the car over to Colin Braun.
The second full-course caution came out moments later when three cars got together in Turn One, two of which were PC cars that were unable to continue the race. This advanced Braun to fourth-place.
During this time, dark clouds began to loom over the 2.35-mile, 13-turn temporary street circuit, and a light rain began to fall. The rain would continue to come and go for the remaining 45 minutes of the race.
The race restarted with 33 minutes remaining, but, once again, did not remain green for long. A Ferrari in the tires brought out full-course caution number three. During this caution, Braun was in position to receive a wave-by, and picked up a lap on the PC field. When the green flag came back out, Braun was fourth, three laps down, with 10 minutes to go in the race and a steady rain falling.
Braun held on during the final rain-plagued sprint to finish fourth.
Though it was CORE’s first non-podium finish of the season, it was better than the team’s two main rivals in the championship and helped widen the points margin. With five rounds in the books, CORE leads the PC Team Championship by five points. Bennett and Braun lead the PC Drivers’ Championship by the same margin.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship now has a healthy break before it’s next race; the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen in upstate New York, June 26 – 28.
“Starts are advertised ‘expect the unexpected’ and this one didn’t disappoint. Street circuits are already a strange place to have to pack up on for the start, because everyone knows it’s a hard place to pass and is feeling the pressure to get a good start. I’m usually a bit defensive and prepare for the worst. For some reason, today, we were experiencing a terrible amount of starting and stopping. I was okay on the first one and second one, but the third one was a bit of a surprise and unfortunately I hit Mirco Schultis ahead of me. I feel bad about that, but there was nothing I could do.
“Our reasonable finish today is in large part because of our crew being able to get everything fixed quickly. I went out and was careful not to make a big problem bigger. We were given a bit of a gift when the No. 8 and No. 52 go together and Colin did a great job in changing conditions. We’d prefer a better finish, but in terms of the season and gathering points, it’s not bad.
“I had no rain at all in my stint, but you could see it coming. The rain today was right on the edge of where the track is, so it was changing constantly.”
“It was an uneventful stint for me. Unfortunately, Jon got hit on the start and we had to come in so the guys could change the nose and the suspension out really quick. After that we had to play to our strengths, which at that point was to stay out of trouble. Fortunately for us, not so fortunate for some other PC guys, some of the teams we’re battling with in the championship got collected. We were able to get back by them and savage good points.
“All and all not a bad day. It was a really good, championship-effort by the crew getting the car fixed on pit lane and back out. Jon did a good job keeping cool afterwards and we were able to get a reasonable finish in some pretty treacherous conditions at points.”