Archive for “August, 2016”

Another GRC Lites Podium for CORE autosport

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Aug. 29, 2016) – CORE autosport scored its second podium finish in only its fourth Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites event. Near the bustling boardwalk of Atlantic City, Colin Braun took the GRC Lites checkered flag in third place.

Each GRC course presents its own unique challenge. At Atlantic City, that challenge was a dirt section that quickly became rutted and bumpy. This caused the race line to change constantly as drivers aimed to avoid the largest potholes.

Jon Bennett in the No. 54 CORE autosport/ORECA/Sonic Tools GRC Lites and Braun in the No. 56 CORE autosport/ORECA/Sonic Tools/GRC Lites both showed strong pace in the opening practice sessions before qualifying third (Braun) and 10th (Bennett).

Braun was unable to convert his third-place qualifying position into a heat race win. In the first heat, he got squeezed out on the start by two cars and finished fourth. In the second heat race, Braun had to battle a loss of power-steering and ended up finishing fourth again. That placed Braun in the Last Chance Qualifier along with Bennett who finished fifth and sixth in the heat races.

Starting first in the LCQ, Braun led the way for all four laps to take the win. Bennett, looked like he had fourth-place locked up and would advance to the final as well, but an overly optimistic move by a competitor left Bennett with a flat tire on the last lap. He was able to bring it home in sixth, but did not advance to the final as a result.

Braun had a spectacular start in the final, going from seventh on the grid to fourth exiting Turn One. He timed the Joker Lap perfectly, which put him in position to pass Miki Weckstrom for third. He held down the podium spot all the way to the finish, despite getting his rear bumper caught on one of the dirt section’s potholes and losing half of it.

It is the second GRC Lites podium finish for CORE autosport in its rookie season. Braun finished third in the team’s GRC debut at Daytona International Speedway in June.

The GRC Lites race at Atlantic City will air on NBC Sports Network on Thursday, September 1, at 5:30pm ET.

 

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotGRC“Colin did great all weekend. He was very competitive, but sometimes there are circumstances that will ruin a session from time to time. Colin always had great pace, but had some unfortunate things happen in the heats. He definitely belongs on the podium, as does our team, which is getting better at solving the interesting problems that come up on these GRC weekends.

 

“I was having a really good race in the LCQ, but some of the young, inexperienced drivers can get a bit reckless and you become the victim of their mistake. That’s what happened to me in the LCQ. I was P4 and then got hit by another car, which caused one of my tires to go flat. There’s not much you can do in that situation. When you’re turning the happy way, the car still turns pretty good, but when you’re turning the flat tire way, it’s terrible!

 

“Overall, I had a good, aggressive race weekend that was made easier thanks to our new Scoot-E-Bikes™ getting us around. I feel like I’m making good progress in my rallycross skill set. I think, just like Colin, my pace is getting faster and ultimately the results will get better.”
– Jon Bennett

 

 

16-CORE-CB-HeadshotGRC“We had really good pace in the practice sessions and qualifying, but I had a rough couple of heats. In the first heat I got jammed between two cars and we had an alternator fail in the second heat so subsequently the power steering shut off. I struggled through the second heat with no power steering. The guys fixed it back ups, so in the LCQ we started on the pole and controlled the race from up front.

 

“Winning the LCQ isn’t anything to write home about, but we did beat the championship leader whose won a couple races this year, so to beat him outright was a good moment for us.

 

“We started inside row three for the final. I got a good launch and dove into Turn One and made up some good spots. I was up to fourth on the exit of the first corner. I Jokered at a good time and then made a pass on Miki Weckstrom for third a couple laps into the race. We had a little bit of a gap from second back to me, but didn’t have enough laps to catch him. Certainly, we were running him down though. All things considered, we were happy with the weekend.”
– Colin Braun

 

Porsche Back on Podium After Gripping VIR Race

DANVILLE, Va. (Aug. 29, 2016) – In the sweltering heat of VIRginia International Raceway, Porsche works drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) kept a cool head. At the wheel of their 470 hp Porsche 911 RSR, the pair clinched third place after a gripping pursuit through the field at round nine of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. For Porsche, this marks the first podium result in the most important sports car racing series on the North American continent since May 1st. Back then, they also finished third at the Laguna Seca round with the GT racer, which was developed in Weissach based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. In the sister 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche North America works team, the Long Beach winners Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) earned vital championship points for sixth place.

Spectators lining the tradition-steeped 5.263-kilometre race circuit in Virginia were treated to some action-packed racing, despite the absence of the Prototype and Prototype Challenge classes. In hot summer temperatures reaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit, drivers delivered tough duels for positions, particularly in the GTLM class in which five automobile manufacturers battle for victories and titles. After the first round of pit stops, Earl Bamber took over driving duties from Frédéric Makowiecki in the No. 912 and was running in third place. After a difficult qualifying, the Frenchman had taken up the race from the ninth grid spot but made up ground with consistently fast lap times. Patrick Pilet took over from Nick Tandy and was sitting in fifth. But in the 48th lap, the two left the track in quick succession and lost positions. Patrick Pilet had to return to the pits to remove pieces of grass that he’d collected on his No. 911 from his excursion into the grass.

Despite this setback, the Porsche pilots didn’t give up. In a dramatic closing stage of the race, which was shortened by the one and only caution phase in the entire two-hour and 40-minute race, Earl Bamber took up the charge again with the No. 912 and, after a spirited chase, brought it to a successful conclusion by reclaiming third place. Patrick Pilet, who had at times fallen back to eighth place, finished the race in sixth.

Round ten of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on 17 September on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin in the US state of Texas.

Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “That was a great performance from the entire team. The fact that they performed excellently in such heat over the entire weekend deserves every respect. In the middle stint we had our work cut out for us with both 911 RSR. Our drivers pushed the limits and both left the track briefly. But for the last stint we had everything under control again. Although luck wasn’t on our side recently at Road America, today the late caution phase worked in our favor. Now we can travel to the next round in Austin feeling very optimistic.”

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Of course we had expected a better outcome. The 911 RSR ran well and the team gave us excellent support. Unfortunately, I made too many mistakes. I probably just wanted too much and that didn’t go well. It’s a shame because we had a chance at the podium.”

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “That race was really intense. After the start I enjoyed some great fights for positions with other cars and it was huge fun. Halfway through the race I lost some time unfortunately, but by the end Patrick was running strongly again. Although it didn’t work out with the much anticipated podium result, at least we earned important points towards the championship today. Hopefully we’ll finish on the podium in Austin.”

Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “What crazy final laps. At last we’ve achieved another podium for Porsche, the last one was a while ago. The fans witnessed an exciting and eventful sports car race. It was exactly what they wanted. In Austin, we now aim to continue from where we left off.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #912): “This race was an emotional rollercoaster. We had difficult moments, we had great moments – and ultimately we had the necessary race luck. It’s a great feeling to stand on the podium again. I’m very proud of our team. We had a perfect race strategy and super fast pit stops. That was a solid effort.”

Race result:
1. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 90 laps
2. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 90
3. Bamber/Makowiecki (NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 90
4. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 90
5. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW M6, 90
6. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 90
7. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488 GTE, 90
8. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW M6, 89
9. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA) Chevrolet Corvette, 86

CORE Takes GRC Lites to Atlantic City

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Aug. 23, 2016) – Atlantic City, New Jersey awaits CORE autosport for the latest round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross season. For the third time this year, drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will compete in the GRC Lites class.

 

So far CORE’s GRC program has taken on the infield of Daytona International Speedway and the parking lot of RFK Stadium, but this weekend, the two-car team will face the coastline runways of Bader Field, aka Atlantic City Municipal Airport. At 1.102 miles, the 10-turn course is the longest on the 2016 GRC calendar.

 

After its second-ever GRC event, Bennett, Braun and team learned how much could change from course to course. With that lesson in mind, they know to carefully study not just the layout of the track, but also the weight of the dirt and the material underneath it.

 

“We are really enjoying being a part of the series and how helpful the GRC paddock is,” CORE GRC Program Manager Brian Colangelo said. “We have experienced a warm welcome from everyone. With each event, we’re eager to apply what we’ve learned at the previous round. We are achieving our goals every step of the way and I am proud of everything this team has accomplished in such a short span of time.”

 

This weekend CORE welcomes a new sponsor to its GRC program: Scoot-E-Bike™. Bennett and Braun will be able to get around the event grounds on these compact electric scooters with a top speed of 20 mph. The on-board charger can plug into any standard wall outlet and provides a range of up to 30 miles per charge. It will be an invaluable mode of transportation every race weekend.

 

The GRC Lites Final will be streamed live on Red Bull TV, Sunday, August 28, at 3:30pm ET. A full broadcast will air on NBC Sports Network, Thursday, Sept. 1, at 5:30pm ET.

 

 

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotGRC“Colin and I are both enjoying this new challenge of GRC. It’s been great to meet new and talented competitors. I have also enjoyed learning to adapt our cars and my driving style to a constantly changing surface.”

 

“With two GRC events under our belts, we have learned there’s much more to the track walk than studying the racing line. It’s important to study the make-up and composition of the dirt surface and how it will react to being watered down. Looking for good passing areas is another important aspect of learning these new circuits. Our new Scoot-E-Bikes will make it easy to get around the venue and observe other drivers. I’m really excited about having a quick and rechargeable way of getting around at these events!”

 

“In preparing for Atlantic City, I now have some good notes from our previous events to review and better understand the feel of our GRC Lites car and how it’s affected by changing conditions.”
– Jon Bennett

 

 

16-CORE-CB-HeadshotGRC“I’m enjoying the new challenge and I’ve been learning a lot of new things. There are a lot of things to learn, not just about making the car fast, but about how the event works and making everything flow the right way. It reminds me a lot of when I transitioned from sportscars to NASCAR. There were so many things to learn.

 

“I think we’ve learned that on our track walk, instead of looking at it in a two-dimensional way, there’s a third dimension, which is: what kind of dirt is being used, how is it going to change and what’s under it. At Daytona, we had dirt on dirt. At Washington D.C., we had dirt on asphalt, which pretty quickly would get pushed aside and you’d have spots of asphalt. I think there’s a lot more in the dirt section for us to study and understand.

 

“We definitely have the pace to be competitive, so for me, the biggest thing I’m working on is putting the whole weekend together. I want two clean practice sessions that lead into a good qualifying and then having good starts in the heats to put myself in a position to be in the first row or two for the final. These races are a lot about track position and getting through the first two corners. Once you fall a little bit behind it’s really hard to catch up.”
– Colin Braun

Podium Result at Road America for CORE

CORE autosport put in a spectacular effort at Road America, going from eighth on the Prototype Challenge grid to second at the finish for the latest round of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Taking the start in the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09, Jon Bennett put in a strong opening stint, keeping the car in the top five and out of trouble. While other PC cars fell victim to Road America’s demanding 14-turn, four-mile circuit, Bennett kept all four wheels on the pavement and was able to hand the car over to Colin Braun in third with an hour and a half remaining in the race.

Braun had his hands full reeling in the lead PC pack while navigating through some treacherous traffic. Sitting fourth with a tick over 10 minutes to go, the top two cars in the PC class both spun off track, promoting Braun to second. Only five minutes remained when the race returned to green, not enough time for Braun to hunt down the class leader. He crossed the finish line in second.

CORE autosport now has a month off before it resumes WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Sept. 15 – 17. Prior to Texas, Bennett and Braun will hop back into their RedBull Global Rallycross machinery, Aug. 27 – 28, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotW“It’s obviously not a 24-hour race, but even in a two-hour and 40-minute race you have to begin with the end in mind. It was a little wild at the start but I put in a solid and consistent performance. I was able to keep my nose clean as I watched the craziness around me and hand the car to Colin within striking distance of the win.

 

“But, at the end of the day, our old horse is getting a little older and it wasn’t quite as sharp as it has been in the past. I think Colin really had his work cut out for him today. The guys have done a great job preparing the car but it just wasn’t our day for the win. Finding our way to the podium in second place is a fantastic day for us.”
– JON BENNETT

 

16-CORE-CB-Headshot“I seemed to be in the middle of the other classes’ lead battles. I tried to stay as out of it as I could. I obviously wanted to do what I could to improve our position and give it a shot to race Tom [Kimber-Smith] for the win, but when you restart with four GTLM cars in between you and the leader, it’s a big challenge.

 

“We had a great day. The CORE autosport guys did a great job. The crew did a great job on pit road, and Jon did a great job in his opening stint. We just never seemed to have the right track position. This place is so aero-dependent and when you’re behind somebody, it’s easy to get aero-tight and not be able to pass, even when you’re quicker than somebody. We found ourselves the victim of that many times and just had to sit and wait for someone to make a mistake or get a bit better in traffic and make a move. It was challenging and fun all at the same time.”
– COLIN BRAUN

Eighth Place Grid Spot at Road America

CORE autosport will start eighth on the grid for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at the longest track on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule: Road America.

Jon Bennett was back on qualifying duty in the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09. Under picture perfect skies, he took to the 4.048-mile circuit for the 15-minute Prototype Challenge qualifying session.

With three minutes left in the session, Bennett set his quickest lap, a 2:02.376 (119 mph). The time put him eighth on the grid. While it may not be an ideal starting position, CORE autosport has proven it can go from any position on the grid to the front.

Bennett will share driving duties with Colin Braun in Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute race, which will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 at 4pm ET.

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotW“Road America is a very demanding track, especially in a qualifying setting. It has a mix of every type of turn and if you make just one small mistake, you have to wait the rest of the four-mile lap to try it again. Eighth isn’t ideal, but Road America has plenty of passing zones. Colin and I will hit the track tomorrow and battle our way to the top.”
– Jon Bennett

CORE Eager to Conquer Road America

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Aug. 3, 2016) – CORE autosport is in the home stretch of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This weekend’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America starts the countdown for the last three races of the season.

 

CORE drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are on a three-race tear, going from Lime Rock Park, to Washington D.C. for Red Bull Global Rallycross, and now to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin; three vastly different racing venues in a three-week span. Road America is the longest track on the IMSA schedule and one where Bennett and Braun are seeking their first win at as a pair.

 

To be fast at Road America, the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 will need to be setup for the wide variety of corners the long four-mile circuit has to offer.

 

 

Notes:

  • Jon Bennett finished ninth in the latest GRC event at RFK Stadium.
  • Bennett and Braun finished third at Road America last year.
  • In 2012, CORE scored a 1-2 finish at Road America with Alex Popow, Tom Kimber-Smith and Bennett in the winning car and Bennett and Colin Braun sharing the second-place car.
  • Braun is now leading TOTAL Pole Award winner, with six poles.
  • At 4 miles in length, Road America is the longest track on the schedule.
  • CORE is third in the PC Team Championship.
  • Bennett and Braun are fourth in the PC Driver Championship.

 

 

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotW“As we move from driving a rally car at a stadium in Washington D.C., to a high-downforce prototype at the longest track of our IMSA season, it’s going to take an adjustment.

 

“A few years ago, I ran a Porsche GT3 Cup and the Prototype Challenge car in the same weekend and while not impossible, it was difficult; switching gears between something with a lot of downforce and carbon brakes, to something that drove a little more conventional. I don’t see much of a change over between the GRC car and the PC car, but thankfully they’re not on the same weekend!

 

“Like several other tracks throughout the IMSA season, Colin and I both look forward to going to Road America. We have the luxury of having done some testing there already. Historically, we’ve been very competitive there. It’s a beautiful part of the country. It’s a wonderful race track and I’m really looking forward to going to Road America.”
– Jon Bennett

 

16-CORE-CB-Headshot“Road America is a challenging place from a setup standpoint, because there’s so many different kinds of corners. It’s definitely a place where you need to have a car that drives well. You can’t just muscle it around. Coming off of Lime Rock, our shortest track and most cars per square foot, we’re going to the longest track. It’s very big and fast and flowing and easy to get through traffic.

 

“Jon and I haven’t won at Road America together. We’ve finished on the podium a couple times. We haven’t won there and I really want to do that.”
– Colin Braun

 

 

Continental Tire Road Race Showcase | August 5 – 7

VENUE

Track Length: 4 miles, 14 turns

Race Length: 2 hours and 40 minutes

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Friday, August 5

1:40pm – 2:40pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)

5:45pm – 6:45pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

Saturday, August 6

10:25am – 11:25am: Practice #3 (All Classes)

4:40pm – 4:55pm: Qualifying (PC Class)

Sunday, August 7

10:40am – 11:00am: Warm Up (All Classes)

1:00pm – 1:45pm: Driver Autograph Session

2:45pm – 3:45pm: Open Grid

4:05pm – 6:45pm: Continental Tire Road Race Showase

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Saturday, August 6

3:45pm – 5:20pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Sunday, August 7

4:00pm – 7:00pm: FS1

LIVE Race International:

Sunday, August 7

4:00pm – 6:45pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.tv