ROCK HILL, S.C. (Sept. 29, 2015) – The 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship comes to a close this weekend with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta. There, CORE autosport will attempt to collect its fifth-straight Prototype Challenge Championship.
CORE arrives at the season finale riding high on its recent win at Circuit of the Americas, which helped the team and drivers open their point lead to 12 over PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports. With eight PC cars entered in the Petit Le Mans, the point spread from first to eighth is exactly 12 points. CORE must finish seventh or higher to lock in the 2015 championship.
To help secure the team’s fifth-straight title, CORE has brought in veteran sportscar driver and Atlanta native Anthony Lazzaro to team with Jon Bennett and Colin Braun. Lazzaro has raced every category of race car and at Petit Le Mans since the event made its debut in 1998.
Petit Le Mans also marks the final round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, a special prize for teams who perform the best in races six hours in length or more. CORE, Bennett and Braun are currently second by three points in the TPNAEC.
Petit Le Mans will air live on FOX Sports 2, Saturday, Oct. 3. See below for TV schedule. Follow live timing, radio and in-car cameras at IMSA.com.
“The brainchild of Dr. Don Panoz, the Petit Le Mans is the newest of the classic endurance races. While Petit will never eclipse the 24 hours of Le Mans or Daytona, Petit has a spotlight all its own as the closing act of IMSA’s TUDOR Series and the Patron Endurance Cup. Performing well in this event is paramount to a winning season.
“At Petit Le Mans, our team will add Anthony Lazzaro to the lineup. While Anthony will be new to the CORE team, his extensive success in piloting a prototype will be an asset to our effort.
“It is difficult to ignore the points situation going into the last event of the season. While the incoming point totals may shape some race decisions from our strategists in pit lane, from the cockpit, Colin and I prefer the same approach we have employed all season: go win the race! Certainly, winning two weeks ago at COTA has brought a welcome confidence boost to our team and valuable points leverage for our quest for the TUDOR Championship.”
– Jon Bennett
“Petit Le Mans is a race I want to win really bad. Together, Jon and I have won Daytona, we’ve won Sebring, we’ve won Watkins Glen, we’ve won Mosport, Lime Rock, COTA… it seems like we’ve won at just about every race track except for Road Atlanta. I definitely need to get this one checked off the list!
“For me, having somebody come into our group like Anthony, with the experience he has—not only at Petit, but in high-downforce race cars—is great. He’s a driver that’s been in this sport for so long and driven for many different teams. I think he’ll fit into our CORE dynamic perfectly. We’ve had a test with him and we all clicked and it felt like he’d been there for years.
“For us, the unique challenge of Road Atlanta is that, although it is an endurance race, it seems to be a strange mix of endurance race and sprint race. It’s one of those where it seems like so many things are happening and there are lots of opportunities to make a mistake. With the way the track flows and the amount of traffic there is, you really have to be heads up at all times. It’s easy to get behind there because the laps are pretty short. It’s easy to get out of sequence on a pit stop and get a lap down. You have to cross your T’s and dot your I’s to stay out of trouble and on the lead lap.”
– Colin Braun
“I did the very first Petit, back in 1998 in a Ferrari 333. I’ve finished second, four times. I’ve never won, but I’ve come very close. Two years ago I was with ESM in a P2 car and we lost by 1.3 seconds after leading a lot of that race. Jon, Colin and I are definitely on a mission this week.
“I’ve watched CORE since its inception. I’ve watched Jon drive an IMSA Lites car for a number of years. I’ve known Colin since he was a little kid and we drove together at Sebring in 2011 and I’ve known Colin’s father forever. For me, it’s a very comfortable environment as far as driving and engineering and so forth. It’s an honor to be involved with the team and certainly with our driver lineup it should be a lot of fun!
“Petit Le Mans has built itself into one of the premier races in the world. I think it actually started with the very first race. Road Atlanta is my home track. I’ve been going there since the 70’s and racing there since the 80’s. When I saw the crowd come for that very first race, I knew it was special. It’s only gotten better throughout the years. Don Panoz has created something spectacular. It’s a world-renowned endurance race. I want to win it so bad! It’s in my backyard!”
– Anthony Lazzaro
- Jon Bennett and Colin Braun have not won Petit Le Mans before. In 2014 they finished second.
- CORE autosport won Petit Le Mans in 2012 with drivers Alex Popow, Ryan Dalziel and Mark Wilkins.
- Anthony Lazzaro has not won Petit Le Mans, but finished second as recently as 2013 driving a P2 car.
- This is Lazzaro’s debut in the PC category.
PC Team Championship
- CORE autosport #54 289
- PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #52 277
- RSR Racing #11 275
PC Driver Championship
- J.Bennett/C.Braun 289
- M.Guasch/T.Kimber-Smith 277
- Cumming/Junqueira 275
Tequila Patrón NAEC
- PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #52 36
- CORE autosport #54 33
- Starworks Motorsport #8 26
Petit Le Mans | October 1 – 3
Track Length: 2.54 miles, 12 turns
Race Length: 10 Hours
SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
Thursday, October 1
11:10am – 12:10pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)
3:25pm – 4:25pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)
7:30pm – 9:00pm: Practice #3 (All Classes)
Friday, October 2
10:05am – 11:05am: Practice #4 (All Classes)
12:30pm – 1:15pm: Driver Autograph Session
4:25pm – 4:40pm: Qualifying (PC Class)
Saturday, October 3
9:00am – 9:25am: Warm Up (All Classes)
9:50am – 10:50am: Open Grid
11:15am – 9:15pm: Petit Le Mans
TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
LIVE Qualifying (Worldwide)
Friday, October 2
3:30pm – 5:15pm: IMSA.com
LIVE Race (U.S.)
Saturday, September 19
11:00am – 12:00pm: FOX Sports 2
12:00pm – 2:30pm: IMSA.com
2:30pm – 7:00pm: FOX Sports 2
7:00pm – 8:30pm: IMSA.com
8:30pm – 9:30pm: FOX Sports 2
LIVE Race (Outside U.S.)
Saturday, September 19
11:00am – 9:30pm: IMSA.com
Race Highlights (U.S.)
Sunday, October 4
1:30pm – 4:30pm: FOX Sports 1
LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:
IMSA.com (http://www.imsa.com) & IMSA App (http://www.imsa.com/all-new-mobile-app)