ROCK HILL, S.C. (Dec. 18, 2015) – Five-time Prototype Challenge Champion CORE autosport has finalized its driver lineup for the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will continue to drive the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 with Mark Wilkins joining the pair for the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races. Martin Plowman rounds out the team’s roster for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Bennett and Braun are now on their fifth season together as co-drivers and will be after their third-straight PC Drivers’ Championship. Since first pairing up for the 2012 American Le Mans Series season, the two have amassed 11 class wins together.
Wilkins has served as a support driver for CORE since 2012 and was part of the lineup that won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2014. In addition to the Rolex 24, he will re-join Bennett and Braun at the three other rounds of the TPNAEC: Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.
Plowman is new to CORE autosport, but not new to prototype racing. He’s driven with BAR1 Motorsports in 2014 and 2015, including last year’s Rolex 24. He also has two successful seasons of LMP2 racing under his belt, including a WEC LMP2 Championship in 2013 and a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that same year.
Another change in the CORE lineup includes Jeff Braun as race engineer. Braun brings more than three decades of motorsports engineering to the table and numerous championships. Working with CORE gives Braun the opportunity to work closely with son Colin.
This quartet will suit up for the Roar Before the 24, an official IMSA test, January 8 – 10. It is a dress rehearsal for the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener: the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 28 – 31.
“Colin has been an important part of our PC success over the past four seasons. Colin is an incredible talent inside the cockpit and a fantastic teammate outside the car. I couldn’t be happier to share our 2016 season with him.
“Like Colin, Jeff is an incredible engineering talent. Additionally, Jeff will provide our team with a unified and coordinated approach to building a winning team. He is a great communicator and we are extremely fortunate to have Jeff with us this season.
“Martin Plowman comes to us with a long resume of success in international endurance sports car racing. His aggressive, yet calculated approach, will match the philosophy that has become the foundation of our team’s past successes.
“We are all looking forward to executing the perfect race at Daytona this year. It is our goal to achieve perfect driving, perfect strategy, perfect pit stops, and perfect teamwork. I remember from last year’s race that we were fortunate to run an almost flawless event. We look forward to repeating that performance.”
– JON BENNETT
“I’m looking forward to having Mark back. He’s a smart driver and has been with the team for quite a number of years and races. He’s a guy we can always rely on.
“Martin will be a great addition to the group. He’s had success in PC cars as well as P2 cars. I’ve known Martin for a long time. I used to race go-karts against him in Europe. He’s a really good person. I think we’re all going to get along well and I’m ready to get going at the Roar.
“Some people don’t understand how you could work with your dad [Jeff Braun] but we get along fantastic. He raised me, so he knows what I’m thinking and I know what he’s thinking. I feel like that’s going to be a big positive for us next year. With all the experience he has, he might even bring skills in other areas that are even stronger than his engineering.
“At the Roar, for us, it’s about getting everybody some seat time. We’ve done this race enough that we’ll be focused less on finding the perfect setup and more on doing some driver changes and pit stop stuff. It’s little things that seem to always crop up and cost you time in the end, more so than what spring or roll bar is in the car, those types of things become less important in a 24-hour race.”
– COLIN BRAUN
“It’s great to be back for the Rolex for my third year with CORE. To be racing with the best team in the paddock, it’s obviously a real honor that they throw me in the seat to run some laps and go after another Rolex 24 win and get things started off on the right foot for another championship season.
“Martin Plowman is pretty talented in anything he drives. His resume speaks for itself. He’s a top-notch guy. We’ll be expecting him to slot right in and be up to speed and ready to go. I think it’ll be fun to get to know him. Jon’s been doing a fantastic job and Colin too, so it’s a great overall group of people to accomplish a tough goal and I can’t think of a better group.”
– MARK WILKINS
“Joining CORE autosport for the Daytona 24 hours is a massive opportunity for me. They’re one of the best teams in the business, period. Winning at Daytona is extremely important to them, so it’s a huge honor to be trusted with helping them achieve that goal. After racing head to head against them at Daytona last year, I’m excited to join their team to continue their success!”
– MARTIN PLOWMAN