WASHINGTON D.C. (July 31, 2016) – CORE autosport’s Red Bull Global Rallycross journey continued this weekend at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun showed strong pace in their second-ever GRC event, but their final results did not illustrate the big improvements made by the team.
With one GRC event under its belt, CORE autosport had a better understanding of what to expect at RFK Stadium. But, by GRC’s very nature, two important elements change with each track: the location of the Joker Lap and the surface texture (both permanent and dirt). The team quickly realized on the track walk that D.C.’s dirt was quite a bit sandier than the dirt they raced on in Daytona.
After a strong showing in practice where Braun even topped the timing screens for a bit, qualifying ended with Braun fifth and Bennett 10th. Neither Braun nor Bennett were able to crack the top three in the heat races to advance to the main, which meant both drivers would have to fight their way through the last chance qualifier (LCQ).
Braun quickly took the lead in the LCQ, but was hit hard by another car. The hit broke the car’s steering and ended Braun’s day in the No. 56. Bennett had better luck and captured the final transfer spot to take up the 10th position on the grid for the final. There, he would advance one spot to finish ninth in the No. 54.
The final result belied the major strides made by the team in their rookie GRC season. As CORE continues to make progress with its GRC program, it looks forward the next rallycross event in Atlantic City, August 28.
The GRC Lites race from Washington D.C. will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network, Thursday, August 25, at 5:30pm ET.
“The good news for GRC D.C. was we’re beginning to get used to the flow of the event; where to be and when to be there. It sounds small, but it does affect you mentally and your performance. Beyond that, we’re beginning to understand the characteristics and personalities of the competition each weekend. Unfortunately, we don’t have the results to reflect that we had a very positive weekend in Washington.
“The last chance qualifier was interesting. On the grid it began to rain, which is something I enjoy. It’s a bit of an equalizer. I was optimistic when it began to rain. Colin was on his way to winning that race, but unfortunately he was the victim of someone else’s mistake, which broke the steering and ended his chances for the final. I was able to move to the final by finishing fourth in the LCQ.
“I started 10th in the final and it was a good opportunity for me to learn how to be competitive. In the final, you’re racing against the best drivers in our field. It was a good seminar for me when it comes to sharpening my competitiveness. I was able to move up a position to P9 and gained a lot of experience.
“I think we’re building a toolbox for future races and I think each race will help CORE’s program get stronger and stronger. I think if we can get both cars in the final and one car on the podium at the next one, that’d be a good finish for us. Hopefully our experience builds as we go to Atlantic City and Los Angeles. I suspect we’ll begin to move up to the top of the results sheet.
“One of the coolest things that’s happening is the brand awareness of CORE. On more than one occasion people have commented that ‘we’re happy to see you guys here after all the success in sportscars.’ It’s cool to see our business grow. I think growing outside the IMSA paddock adds more legitimacy to how good we are at what we do.”
– Jon Bennett
“The track itself was a nice layout when you’re driving by yourself, but was nearly impossible to pass on. It was really important to qualify well and get a good start. It was so easy to get trapped behind a slower car. There was maybe one semi-passing opportunity around the whole place. The track was fun and technical by yourself, which I think is why we were so quick during practice.
“I felt like all our procedures and processes are getting better and our understanding of how the weekend flows. With this only being our second race, we’re still learning a ton. We’ve come to a new venue and it’s our first time seeing what the differences can be in where the Joker Lap is and the texture of the dirt. It was sandier here than it was at Daytona. On one hand it was nice to go to the second race, because we knew what to expect, but on the other hand, we learned that a lot of things can change from race to race.
“I was leading the LCQ and then the person I passed decided to riffle it in there in the dirt section, as it was raining, and got into the water and slammed into me. The hit was so hard it broke the steering shaft. It’s a big disappointment, because we were super fast in the first practice and decent in the second one. The CORE guys did an awesome job giving me a fast car and our results on paper don’t really show the huge amounts of progress we’re making.”
– Colin Braun