Archive for “September, 2015”

CORE Seeks Fifth Consecutive Championship

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.

 

 

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“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

 

 

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“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

 

 

15-CORE-AL-Headshot“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

 

Noteworthy

  • 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.

 

 

Point Standings
PC Team Championship

  1. CORE autosport #54   289
  2. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #52 277
  3. RSR Racing #11 275

 

PC Driver Championship

  1. J.Bennett/C.Braun   289
  2. M.Guasch/T.Kimber-Smith 277
  3. Cumming/Junqueira   275

 

Tequila Patrón NAEC

  1. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #52   36
  2. CORE autosport #54   33
  3. 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)

Jon Bennett Colin Braun Win COTA

CORE Victorious in Texas

Jon Bennett and Colin Braun made an exciting climb through the field to claim the Prototype Challenge victory at the Lone Star Le Mans, Round 9 of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The team battled Texas-sized temperatures and humidity at Circuit of the Americas in Austin and an inoperative power-steering system to claim its second win of the season.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Bennett deftly avoided a spun Prototype car in Turn One on the start, but lost two positions in the process. He steadily climbed his way back to fourth, keeping the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 on track, while other PC competitors made mistakes and took themselves out of the race.

A full-course caution was issued before Bennett had reached his required minimum drive time, so he stayed in to do another stint, holding steady in fifth, where he handed off the car to Braun at the next pit stop. Lightning-quick work by the crew got Braun back out in fourth place.

Braun was reeling in the third-place car when a full-course caution was issued. Again, flawless work by the crew enabled him to pick up another position and move into third with the field now all bunched back together.

Shortly after the restart, Braun was into second place. Five minutes later, Braun had the lead. It might have been clear sailing from here, except that the No. 54 suddenly lost power steering. Unable to fix such an issue on pitlane, Braun had no choice but to continue on without, muscling his way through every corner for the remaining 50 minutes.

Without another full-course caution, the team’s last pit stop happened under green. Though Braun came back out on track in second, he was behind a car that had yet to pit and was conserving fuel. He pounced and re-took the lead with less than 30 minutes to go.

With ambient temperatures approaching 90F, track temperatures surpassing 106F and humidity at 70 percent, Braun used all his strength to bring the No. 54 home in first place.

The win extends CORE’s lead in the PC Team and Driver Championships to 12 points over the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car driven by Tom Kimber-Smith and Mike Guasch. Only one round remains in the TUDOR Championship; the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Oct. 1 – 3.

CORE’s victory at Circuit of the Americas will re-air on FOX Sports 1, Sunday, Sept. 20, at 1:30pm ET.

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“We had great results today. Any day that you end up wet with champagne is not so bad. This win helps our positioning in the championship heading in to Petit Le Mans.

 

“We’re really happy to get through the race today with a successful outcome. There was a lot of contact in and around me at the start and at the restart. The contact wasn’t necessarily with me, but I had to thread the needle a few times to escape it. Fortunately, I was able to hand Colin a square car.

 

“Colin of course, like a rabbit, went off and started doing incredible lap times. Then Murphy’s Law did get involved with the failure of our power steering, something that also happened to Colin at Mosport. Colin’s long hours at the gym paid off today. I’m really thankful for the result and the hard work of our team.”
JON BENNETT

 

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“It was a great day for us at CORE autosport. Jon had a really nice opening stint keeping the car clean despite all the action on the track.

 

“We had a fast racecar. We had really good pace, good strategy and good pit stops. We just did what we’ve done in the past. These guys have done such a good job with the procedures and working on our car. We’ve had our heads down all season working away, and that hard work pays off.

 

“We’ve been in a lot of positions to win races this year, and it hasn’t gone our way. We were fortunate enough to make this one count. Certainly without power steering it’s not a lot of fun, but there’s never an asterisk next to your name if you finish second or third that says ‘we didn’t have power steering so that’s like a win.’ You just got to buckle down and get your job done and get as many points as you can and win the race.”
COLIN BRAUN

 

Jon Bennett Qualifies at COTA

Bennett Puts CORE on Second Row in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 18, 2015) – Jon Bennett qualified the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 fourth on the Prototype Challenge grid for Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans, the penultimate round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

After topping the first two practice sessions at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Bennett and teammate Colin Braun continued to improve their lap times into the third and final practice sessions Friday morning.

Several hours later, in the blazing heat of the afternoon Texas sun, Bennett took to the track for a 15-minute qualifying session. Early on, Bennett took up fourth-place on the timing screens. Though he improved throughout the session, so did the three drivers ahead of him and the top four cars held their spots all the way to the checkered flag. At the conclusion, Bennett’s best time was recorded as a 2:03.697 (98.951 mph), only a tenth-of-a-second off of third place.

The PC competition is heating up with only two rounds remaining in the TUDOR Championship. CORE, Bennett and Braun lead the point standings by five points over the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car, which will start from sixth-place. Only eight points back is the No. 11 RSR Racing entry, which qualified on the pole.

Bennett will start tomorrow’s two-hour and 40-minute race before handing the car over to Braun. The Lone Star Le Mans goes green at 12:35pm ET and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2.

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“We had really warm conditions today. [Team Engineer] Jeff Braun did a really great job getting the car balanced, and it was really easy to drive. Of course we always hope for better, but I’m really quite happy with my drive. We’re in good shape for tomorrow. Really at the end of the day, the race is what’s most important.

 

“The heat is definitely something to think about. It’s not something new for us, so it’s just another factor in the race tomorrow.

 

“The car setup is fantastic. We’ve been polishing it all week. I think a good race is ahead of us.”
JON BENNETT

Championship Race Heats Up With Two Rounds Remaining

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Sept. 16, 2015) – With only two rounds remaining in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, CORE autosport is locked in a tight points battle for the Prototype Challenge Championship. This week, Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, is the latest opportunity for the team to grow its five-point lead in the standings.

 

It’s been over a month since the team’s previous race at Road America, where Jon Bennett and Colin Braun finished third. Now it’s time to head south and take on the scorching Texas temperatures in search of podium finish number six of the season.

 

Last year at COTA, Bennett and Braun clinched the PC driver championship a round early by finishing second. A similar feat isn’t in the cards this year, as the top three PC teams and drivers are separated by a mere eight points with two rounds to go and 36 points available for a win.

 

The Lone Star Le Mans will air live on FOX Sports 1, Saturday, Sept. 19, at 12:30pm ET. Follow live timing, radio and in-car cameras at IMSA.com (http://www.imsa.com) or on the IMSA App (http://bit.ly/1PZ9ULi) .

 

 

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“Circuit of the Americas is an amazing Formula 1 inspired track in a very interesting town, Austin Texas. It requires attention to detail and discipline to go fast. The Esses and the multiple hairpin corners reward precision and brake zone risk taking.

 

“COTA is a wide open circuit with plenty of run off areas which help improve the driver safety of the circuit. For testing, this encourages experimentation and risk taking. For racing, I prefer a circuit that has tighter layout that rewards precise driving.

 

“COTA can be a hot race for us, even in September. The heat reduces grip and adds strain for the drivers.   It’s all about preparation; the extreme conditions can bring an advantage to a team who is prepared.

 

“As the last races click off, we are all focused on finishing strong. We don’t discuss the championship much, but I think it’s in the back of the mind for all of us.”
– Jon Bennett

 

 

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“I enjoy going to COTA. It’s a new style of racetrack, with a wider layout, but still quite a few tight hairpins. That makes for an interesting race. The track is so wide and open, but also has so many tight corners that it makes people optimistic when it comes to passing. That can result in some interesting things happening. Then, mix in all the classes together and the various speeds of our cars and it makes for a race where you have to be really heads up. There are times when someone goes to pass you and think there’s not a chance in the world the move is going to work. The next thing you know, they fly straight through the apex of a hairpin and it’s a calamity.

 

“COTA has always been one of those tracks where we tend not to see very many cautions come out. It’s a challenging place for everyone, from strategy and racing standpoint. We can’t rely on the fact that we’ll get a caution to bunch the field up. It becomes one of those races where every bit of time you lose throughout the race, you have to make up. You don’t get a chance to reset if you have some bad laps.

 

“I feel like for us Prototype Challenge guys, who sit out in the pouring rain when it’s wet, we get a break when it’s super hot, like at COTA. The guys in the GT cars, that were nice and dry when it was raining, now we get to laugh at them when it’s 100 degrees outside. I don’t think the hot temperatures make a difference for us, setup wise though. We’re used to running in that kind of heat at COTA and have a lot of data to go off of. We were in contention to win the race last year, so we know that we have a good place to start setup wise.”
– Colin Braun

 

 

Noteworthy

  • The Prototype Challenge entry list for COTA is the largest of the season at nine cars.
  • Colin Braun was born in Ovalo, Texas. His 27th birthday is September 22nd.
  • Last year’s Lone Star Le Mans reached temperatures in the 90’s with humidity to match.
  • The Prototype Challenge class did not participate in the most recent round of TUSC at VIR.

 

 

Point Standings
PC Team Championship

  1. CORE autosport #54   253
  2. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #52 248
  3. RSR Racing #11 242

PC Driver Championship

  1. J.Bennett/C.Braun   253
  2. M.Guasch/T.Kimber-Smith 248
  3. Cumming/Junqueira   242

 

 

 

Event Facts

Lone Star Le Mans | Sept. 17 – 19

Track Length: 3.4 miles, 20 turns

Race Length: 2 Hours, 40 Minutes

 

 

SCHEDULE (All times Central)

Thursday, September 17

10:25am – 11:25am: Practice #1 (All Classes)

4:35pm – 5:35pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

 

Friday, September 18

9:10am – 10:10am: Practice #3 (All Classes)

4:35pm – 4:50pm: Qualifying (PC Class)

 

Saturday, September 19

8:00 – 8:20am: Warm Up (All Classes)

9:15am – 10:00am: Driver Autograph Session

10:25am – 11:15am: Open Grid

11:35am – 2:15pm: Lone Star Le Mans

 

 

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying (Worldwide)

Friday, September 18

4:45pm – 6:15pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE Race (U.S.)

Saturday, September 19

12:30pm – 3:30pm: FOX Sports 1

 

LIVE Race (Outside U.S.)

Saturday, September 19

12:30pm – 3:30pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com & IMSA App