Archive for “April, 2017”

CORE Returns to GRC Lites with Bennett, Braun and ORECA Gear

ROCK HILL, S.C. (April 18, 2017) – CORE autosport will continue its two-car Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites program in 2017. Jon Bennett and Colin Braun return as drivers and ORECA Gear returns as an official partner and equipment supplier.

 

After collecting four podium finishes in its GRC Lites debut last year, CORE has its sights firmly set on capturing its first GRC Lites win in 2017. Bennett and Braun’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship commitments will prevent them from attending three of the 12 GRC rounds, and thus take them out of a championship run.

 

“When we debuted in GRC-Lites last year, our goal was to familiarize ourselves with the cars, circuits and specifics of the series, but also to demonstrate how competitive we were by finishing on the podium,” CORE GRC Program Manager Brian Colangelo said. “Our preparation improved with each race and our four podium finishes proved that to be true. For 2017, we have our sights set on race wins and hope to establish ourselves as the team to beat in rallycross and a viable option for OEM partners.”

 

One such partner already on board for CORE’s 2017 GRC Lites campaign is ORECA Gear, who will supply the team with steering wheels, seats and harnesses for both the No. 54 and No. 56 entries. This is the second-straight year CORE has partnered with ORECA Gear for its GRC Lites program.

 

Launched in 2013, Red Bull Global Rallycross is the perfect blend of car racing and extreme sports, bringing together asphalt, dirt and airtime for a one-of-a-kind show! The series is broken down into two categories: Supercar and GRC Lites. GRC Lites is an invaluable step toward the Supercar class. Driver talent is able to flourish in this class composed of identical tubular chassis powered by a Ford 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with 320 hp.

 

The Red Bull Global Rallycross program kicks off April 29 at Memphis International Raceway in Tennessee. Television coverage of the GRC Lites race will air Tuesday, May 2, on NBC Sports Network, at 5pm ET.

 

Founded by owner/driver Jon Bennett in 2010, CORE autosport is a five-time Prototype Challenge champion in IMSA competition and as of 2017, has transitioned to GT Daytona competition with a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Since 2014, CORE has served as the competition partner for Porsche’s two-car GTLM factory program, which has earned two Manufacturer Championships. CORE autosport is located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, across the street from Composite Resources, a manufacturing firm started by Bennett in 1992.

 

Involved in motorsports for 40 years as a racing car team and constructor, ORECA has put the experience of its various endeavors to the benefit of its range of driver and cockpit equipment. Developed within the scope of sporting programs at the highest global level, ORECA products are designed to prioritize the safety and comfort of its clients.

 

Jon Bennett
No. 54 ORECA Gear GRC Lites

“Auto racing is my passion no matter what form it comes in. Taking part in my first Red Bull Global Rallycross season last year was a real eye-opener to this new genre of motorsport and a blast to experience. I enjoyed learning a totally different driving style and race craft, and being encouraged to have all four wheels leave the ground was fun! Thanks to our ORECA Gear equipment though, I always felt safe.

 

“I was very impressed with our team’s ability to learn the ins and outs of these cars and this series in a short amount of time. It was fantastic to see CORE autosport on the podium in its debut in such a competitive class. We want to continue with this momentum in 2017 and show that we are a team OEMs will want to work with in GRC.”

 

 

Colin Braun
No. 56 ORECA Gear GRC Lites

“I love to experience all kinds of different race cars, so getting the opportunity to do GRC Lites last year was an awesome experience. One of the things I enjoy most about motorsports is the learning process and we had a lot of learning to do in 2016. I was on the podium three times and I know that this season, a win isn’t too far off. At CORE, we’re all about constantly improving and that makes me very eager to get back to work!

 

“We’re returning to quite a few places we raced at last year, so we have some idea of the different surfaces we’ll be working with, but because GRC changes up its courses every year, it’ll still be a new ball game for all the teams. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to get back in the GRC Lites car, especially knowing that our cockpit will be outfitted with ORECA Gear again!”

 

 

 

2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites Schedule

 

Rd. 1 April 29

Memphis International Raceway

Memphis, TN

 

Rd. 2 May 21
Kentucky Exposition Center

Louisville, KY

 

*Rd. 3 June 3

Thompson Speedway

Thompson, CT

 

*Rd. 4 June 4

Thompson Speedway

Thompson, CT

 

Rd. 5 June 17

Canada Aviation And Space Museum

Ottawa, Canada

 

Rd. 6 June 18

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Ottawa, Canada

 

*Rd. 7 July 9

Lucas Oil Speedway

Indianapolis, IN

 

Rd. 8 August 12

Bader Field

Atlantic City, NJ

 

Rd. 9 August 13

Bader Field

Atlantic City, NJ

 

Rd. 10 September 9

Evergreen Speedway

Seattle, WA

 

Rd. 11 September 10

Evergreen Speedway

Seattle, WA

 

Rd. 12 October 14

TBD

Los Angeles, CA

 

*No CORE attendance due to IMSA schedule conflict

Second Podium for New Porsche 911 RSR

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2017)  At the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the new Porsche 911 RSR claimed its second podium result at its third race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. On the spectacular city course in the port district, where the pits are just a stone’s throw away from where the docked ocean-liner giant “Queen Mary” lies anchored, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France) secured third place on Saturday with the No. 912 car. In the sister 510 hp 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, last year’s winner Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) finished sixth.

The race set against a postcard-perfect backdrop of sun, sea and palms is regarded as the American equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix for good reason. Despite the short race duration of just 100 minutes, the completely walled and fenced 1.968-mile street circuit demands everything from the drivers, and on the grandstands and balconies of high-rise apartments, keen sports car fans mingle with famous stars. The simple reason for the high number of prominent celebrities is that Hollywood is virtually just around the corner.

The race was as spectacular as the backdrop. After just one lap, the leading trio in the particularly competitive GTLM class clashed – which opened the door for Laurens Vanthoor. Taking up the race from the fourth grid spot, the Belgian, who was the winner of the 2016 Macau Grand Prix is no stranger to narrow city circuits, moved into the lead. Vanthoor held onto the top spot for almost 45 minutes until the first pit stop – no other GTLM vehicle stayed out on the track as long without a tire change. It was only while handing the 911 RSR off to Kévin Estre that the position was lost. Running in fifth place, the Frenchman then took up the chase again. In the final laps of a race that had seen no less than five safety car phases, events turned truly dramatic: Kévin Estre advanced to fourth place and kept his cool in the hairpin just before the finish line: In stop-and-go traffic he overtook another competitor in the last seconds to secure the second podium result for Porsche in North America’s premier racing series.

In the second 911 RSR with the starting number 911, two former Long Beach winners had to line up at the back of the field; Patrick Pilet (2016) and Dirk Werner (2015) were unable to take part in the qualifying session due to an accident during practice and were therefore relegated to the very back of the 35-strong field. Putting in a spirited drive, Patrick Pilet ploughed his way through the pack and as he came into the pits he was running in eighth position. Dirk Werner gained another four places during his stint and was even looking good for a podium spot. However, a drive-through penalty imposed by the stewards of the meeting for making contact with another competitor put a sudden halt to his charge.

Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on May 6 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “It takes a while to digest such a race. It was turbulent and difficult to keep oversight. Finishing in third place at the end was pretty good. Still, you’re left feeling that there could have been more. Thanks to a good strategy and fast pit stops we managed to gain ground, particularly with our number 911 car, which had started from the very back, but because of the drive-through penalty it wasn’t enough for a podium result.”
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “That was a crazy race with highs and lows. We suffered a setback on Friday when our number 911 car that was damaged during practice, but the team worked brilliantly to repair the car in time to compete. The race started turbulently. We were able to take the lead at a relatively early stage, which suited our strategy perfectly. At the next safety car phase we then split the strategy, like most other teams, and that also worked well. As far as the result is concerned, we definitely did the best we could under the circumstances, but no one needs such a rollercoaster of feelings every weekend.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a dramatic race with a lot of incidents. The safety car had to be deployed often. There were a lot of collisions and drive-through penalties, and then the front-runner loses the race in the final lap because several cars didn’t make it around the bend. That’s pretty crazy.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “Patrick got us back in the race with great overtaking maneuvers. We were lucky with the caution phases and by mid-way through the race we were already running in the top four, but then we were handed a drive-through penalty and our fight for a podium spot was over. It’s a shame for the team who worked so hard through the night to repair our 911 RSR. Those guys certainly deserved a better result.”
Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “It was a difficult race. We actually did everything right with our strategy. We were leading, but then lost places due to the many safety car phases. In my first lap I was hit quite hard in the rear. After that I had hardly any downforce, but I kept fighting and was rewarded in the bizarre final lap.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We actually didn’t expect to be on the podium, but we’re happy to take it home. My teammates told me a lot about Long Beach, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite so turbulent here.”

Long Beach Grand Prix 2017

CORE Powers Through Long Beach Grand Prix

The legendary streets of Long Beach put up quite a fight for the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix and the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Amidst the largest Long Beach grid in IMSA history, Jon Bennett and Colin Braun were able to advance one spot from their qualifying position.

Starting from 15th in the GT Daytona class, Bennett took on opening race driving duties in the No. 54 Composite Resources / Flex-Box / Micro WaterJet Porsche 911 GT3 R. Bennett expertly navigated the concrete lined street course and avoided the melees, which brought out a total of four full-course cautions during his stint.

Following his teammate’s lead, Braun took over the wheel nearly halfway through the 100-minute sprint race and executed a solid run. The short race length, copious amounts of traffic and another full-course caution period made it difficult to advance, but Braun picked up one spot before crossing the finish line 14th.

The team now heads to Braun’s home state for the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Show Down at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The event weekend runs May 4 through May 6 and features a two hour and 40 minute race around the 3.4-mile circuit.

Jon Bennett
No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“The starts here at Long Beach are always interesting. That’s the beauty of a street course – the confined space and lots of traffic. Unfortunately, this year the tail of the field got a bit strung out from the start of the field. I was a bit disappointed to not be able to completely pack up before the start of the race. Luckily, a yellow was part of the start too and that basically allowed a second chance at a start.

“On the restart, things were going very well. I was running with the GTD field and I was competitive. I lost a few positions, but in general, we ran with the pace of the GTD field. We were holding our own and waiting for some good pit stops and to get Colin in the car to move up the order. Our program is getting stronger and we’re all getting more familiar with the GT3 R. I’m looking forward to COTA to see if we can move the car up, and I really think we have the potential to do so.”

 

Colin Braun
No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“The biggest challenge today was that it was such a short race. We got trapped a lap down early in the race, and at that point, everyone had made their last pit stops. The pit-stop window for GTD cars is about an hour under green. Once everyone made their pit stops, we were trapped a lap down. It is pretty impossible to get your lap back at that point because there are no more pit stops and you can’t get a wave-by. It’s also tough to balance a street course. You have to race and do your part while respecting the other guys that are on the lead lap and racing for position. We had a pretty decent car in terms of pace there at the end. We had better pace than some of the guys that were running in the top five. It felt like we would have had a top five car had we had some luck and things fall our way. We made it to the end, and we’re definitely improving.”

CORE Charges onto Streets of Long Beach

CORE autosport is ready to attack a temporary street circuit for the first time in a GT Daytona car when it starts 15th in Saturday’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.

This year, IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has brought more cars to Long Beach than ever before. Contributing to the loaded entry list this weekend is the addition of the GTD class to the mix, which boasts 16 entries, including the No. 54 Composite Resources / Flex-Box / Micro WaterJet Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Jon Bennett was designated as the driver for today’s 15-minute qualifying session. Bennett’s fastest lap was a 1:22.837 (85.5mph). This puts the No. 54 15th on the GTD grid for tomorrow’s one-hour and 40-minute race.

Bennett shares the car with Colin Braun. The pair won at Long Beach in 2013, driving in the Prototype Challenge category.

The BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach airs live on FOX, starting at 4pm ET.

 

 

Jon Bennett
No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“The track was a bit better than I expected from this morning.  It took a bit of an adjustment to take advantage of the grip that was developing. I went nearly a second faster than my session this morning. We are getting incrementally better each session, so I’m optimistic. Of course, there’s a lot more that goes on during the race than tenths of seconds. My biggest surprise was how close the GT3-based GTD cars are similar to the GTLM cars. It’s a lot closer than I expected. Hopefully that won’t hinder either class in the race, but this track has certainly brought the two classes close together.”

CORE Takes on Busy Streets of Long Beach

ROCK HILL, S.C. (April 4, 2017) – The third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes CORE autosport to one of the most famous temporary circuits in the world; the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix takes place on the streets of Long Beach, California.

 

Featuring the Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona categories, this year’s event features the largest field IMSA has ever brought to the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course. Thirty-five cars are slated to take the green flag for the 100-minute race, 16 of them GTD cars. With minimal passing opportunities and a full race track, qualifying, pit lane performance and race strategy will be critical to a win at Long Beach.

 

Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are no strangers to Long Beach, but once again they face a familiar circuit in an unfamiliar vehicle: the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R. It will be the duo’s first time running the GTD car on a street circuit. The Porsche offers more forgiving suspension, plus traction control and ABS, as compared to the Prototype Challenge car they raced together at Long Beach in 2012, 2013 and 2016.

 

Noteworthy

  • CORE won the PC class at Long Beach in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • This year’s Long Beach race is earlier in the day (1pm local time) than previous years.
  • CORE’s No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 will be on display for fans at Thunder Thursday in the Pike Outlets. The event starts at 6:30pm local time.
  • Long Beach is the only race that will be broadcast live, in its entirety on FOX.
  • IMSA shares the weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series and Pirelli World Challenge.

 

 

 

Jon Bennett
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“Colin and I have had good results at Long Beach in recent years and we are both excited to bring the Porsche GT3 R to the streets of Long Beach. The Porsche’s sophisticated suspension is more compliant than the prototype; this will give us the freedom to use more of the race course, including the curbs.

 

“The set up is tough at Long Beach because the race course is constantly changing grip level from the first session right through the end of the race. We will start with a set up that suits a slippery surface and adapt to the grip for every on track outing.

 

“Traffic will be a challenge and should be quite interesting for the race fans. The speeds of the GTLM and GTD cars are similar. Combined, there will be 25 GT type cars. Finding passing opportunities for the faster prototypes will be a challenge in many areas of the circuit.

 

“Our team’s spirits are high despite our slower than usual start. We all understand the ups and downs of motorsport. We also realize the effort required to adapt to a new race car platform. Despite the quality of the 2017 GTD field, I expect to see CORE autosport on the top of the podium in the near future.”

 

 

Colin Braun
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“I think the biggest change from PC to GTD is going to be how the classes interact together. In the PC cars we were the second-fastest class on track, but with the GTD cars, we’ll be the slowest class, so the interaction might be a bit easier, but we’ll have more cars to contest with. A lot of people are unsure what to expect on the GTD side, because it’s the first time this class has gone to Long Beach. I’m as interested as anyone to see what it will look like.

 

“The biggest challenge for us when it comes to setup is the schedule. We’re the first thing on track Friday morning and it’s usually very dusty and dirty. We have all of our practice and qualifying on Friday and then we don’t race until Saturday afternoon. It’s hard to set your car up for what the race will be like when there’s a lot more rubber and grip on the track. We’re always trying to set it up to be strong on Saturday and trying to know what that feels like on Friday is always a challenge.

 

“Going from a PC car to a GTD car, we’ll be able to use a little bit more of the apex curving. We won’t be getting any closer to the wall though; I’ve already been scraping all of those in some fashion or other in the PC car! There’s not a lot more room to be had! It should be a nice addition for us to have traction control and ABS though, which we did not have the last time we were at Long Beach.”

 

 

 

BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach | April 7- 8

Track Length: 1.968 miles, 11 turns

Race Length: 100 minutes

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Friday, April 7

10:40am – 12:40pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)

7:45pm – 8:10pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

8:20pm – 8:35pm: Qualifying (GTD Class)

Saturday, April 8

12:45pm – 1:30pm: Driver Autograph Session

4:05pm – 5:45pm: BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Friday, April 7

7:30pm – 9:15pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Saturday, April 8

4:00pm – 6:00pm: FOX

Full flag-to-flag coverage is available on FOX Sports GO with FS1 authentication

 

LIVE Race International:

3:50pm – 5:45pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com