Archive for “August, 2017”

CORE Full of Comebacks in GRC Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Aug. 15, 2017) – Returning to Red Bull Global Rallycross action for the first time in nearly two months, CORE autosport rebounded on several occasions to earn solid finishes in the Atlantic City doubleheader.

 

This year’s GRC Atlantic City course was markedly different from last year. Not only was the layout new, but the dirt section was actually composed of sand on top of asphalt. This made things especially tricky on Saturday when heavy rains passed through the area and made the sandy area especially slick.

 

Driving the No. 54 Composite Resources/ORECA gear GRC Lites car, Jon Bennett nearly got his first heat win on Saturday and then proceeded to bypass the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) by finishing second in the semi-final.

 

A strong start had him into the top five, but he began to fall back after contact with other competitors damaged his car. He was able to finish, but back in ninth.

 

Teammate Colin Braun didn’t even get a chance at Saturday’s final in the No. 56 Composite Resources/ORECA gear GRC Lites machine. After a strong showing in the heat races, Braun lined up on pole for the semi-final, but the engine in his car expired at the start. The GRC schedule is so tight, that the team didn’t have nearly enough time to change the engine before the LCQ.

 

After an all-nighter changing out the No. 56 engine, CORE autosport bounced back on Sunday, with Braun winning his first heat race. He tangled with another competitor in his second heat race, which put him in a poor starting spot for the semi-final. Still, Braun stayed focused and was able to advance to the final without issue. There, he clawed his way from eighth on the grid to a fourth-place finish.

 

Bennett was unlucky in his heat races, which forced him into the LCQ, but he came back strong by winning it. He finished where he started in Sunday’s final: ninth.

 

You can watch Bennett’s and Braun’s GRC Lites races from Atlantic City on CBS Sports Network, Wednesday, August 23, at 5 p.m. ET.

 

CORE autosport is back with Global Rallycross, September 9 – 10, in Seattle, Washington.

 

 

“I was pleasantly surprised that the circuit that they laid out was in the same place but completely different. There were some new twists to the design. Sand over asphalt was substituted for natural dirt sections. The course raced really well and it was a good event in general.

 

“The genius in putting sand over asphalt was that even in poor weather conditions, in the rain, we didn’t get a lot of deep ruts and roughness that you’d see in a natural terrain dirt section. On the other side, where it did rain, the sand on asphalt section got very slippery and required a very delicate touch.

 

“I moved from 10th to fourth on the first lap of Saturday’s final, but then I tangled with a couple other cars and ultimately broke the car. This racing is very exciting with lots of contact, but the GRC Lites car is a bit fragile and it doesn’t take much to put it out of competition.

 

“I had another good start in Sunday’s final, but for me, some technique issues in the sand section were my Achilles heel. I never quite found a technique that was both consistent and fast. I was able to get through those sections pretty well, but struggled to match the speed of other drivers.

 

“It was a little surprising, because in previous events, the dirt section is where I gained a lot of spots. This form of racing is very intuitive. You need to have a good intuition to find speed and adjust for conditions. I’m getting better at, but you’ve got to keep up with the competition.”
– JON BENNETT

 

 

 

“They had a new dirt section concept with sand on top of asphalt. That made it quite slippery and challenging to figure out how to drive and make it work. Add in the rain that came in the afternoon and it made for quite an interesting time. You’re almost hydroplaning in sand over asphalt. That’s something I’ve never done before. It took some getting used to. We started to drag the sand onto the race track and the whole track got really slippery.

 

“I started on pole in the semi-final, but on the starting line the engine blew up. That was disappointing. I felt like we were doing well in those conditions and we had a good shot at a strong result. The speed of the schedule is such that when you have an engine blow up, it’s not possible to change it in time for the final.

 

“The CORE guys were heroes and stayed at the track until 1am changing the engine. It’s a pretty big deal changing the engine in those cars. I’m super proud of our crew who never hesitated and put the effort in to get it changed.

 

“We got through Sunday reasonably well. The start at Atlantic City is very challenging; it was a tight left-hand corner with not a lot of options, so everybody piled in and it was like roulette to see how you came out. I didn’t come out on the shiny side of that in the semi.

 

In the final, I got a good start, got up to fifth or sixth and then was in a big pack from third to seventh and ended up finishing fourth.”
– COLIN BRAUN

CORE Returns to GRC Action in Atlantic City

 ROCK HILL, S.C. (Aug. 10, 2017) – After a nearly two-month absence from the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, CORE autosport is back with Jon Bennett and Colin Braun for the latest doubleheader event in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

CORE’s last GRC event was June 17 -18 in Ottawa, Canada. Due to a conflict with its IMSA schedule, the team missed the July 9 event at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. Missing an event has effectively taken Bennett and Braun out of GRC Lites title contention, but both drivers still have their eye on scoring their first GRC wins.

 

Atlantic City is the first return event of the 2017 GRC season, although the track differs greatly from last year. The races still takes place at Bader Field (a.k.a. Atlantic City Municipal Airport), but the layout has been shortened from 1.102 miles, to 0.902-mile. The Joker Lap has also been shortened and no longer bypasses the dirt section and the course will be run counterclockwise instead of clockwise as it was last year.

 

The event, minutes away from the Atlantic City Boardwalk, has also been expanded to a two-day event.

 

Coming off their best GT Daytona finish yet in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (seventh at Road America), Bennett and Braun are eager to jump back into their No. 54 and No. 56 GRC Lites entries and catch some air!

 

The GRC Lites final in Atlantic City will take place at 4:50pm ET on Saturday, August 12, and at 4:45pm on Sunday, August 13. Both finals will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network, Wednesday, August 23, at 5pm ET.

 

 

 

“I’m looking forward to our next GRC round. It’s massively different from our racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Colin and I always enjoy the GRC weekends. Colin has been really competitive, and I have had success as well. I hope we can take our momentum from our successful finish at Road America to Atlantic City.

 

“Atlantic City is an exciting town. For once, we’re heading back to a track that will look somewhat similar to a track from last year, which will be helpful. Being at an abandoned airstrip will give the cars some room to stretch their legs.”

– JON BENNETT

 

 

“I’m looking forward to hopping in a GRC car. It’s been a while. We missed the event at Indianapolis. I think it’s actually helpful for Jon and I to skip an event and come back at it fresh. It helps us to avoid going at it with the same approach. We’ll go in there and drive the best we can and figure it out as we go. The guys have had a good amount of time in the shop to get the cars shined up and ready to go. I’m excited to go to Atlanta City, I think we’ll have a good run there.”

– COLIN BRAUN

Porsche 911 RSR Second at Road America

 ELKHART LAKE, WISC. (Aug. 7, 2017) – The new Porsche 911 RSR continues on the road to success in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. A fortnight after its maiden victory at Lime Rock, the 510hp racer from Weissach clinched second in the GTLM class in a heart-stopping finale on the legendary Road America racetrack.

After the 2:40-hour race on the 4.048-mile circuit close to Elkhart Lake in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) were a mere six-tenths of a second off claiming victory. The pair also scored second at Porsche’s double victory at Lime Rock recently.

Their team colleagues and the winners of the Lime Rock race, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany), lost ground after a collision in the final phase and ultimately had to settle for eighth. The Porsche GT Team fields the 911 RSR which was developed from scratch specifically for this season on the basis of the high-performance 911 GT3 RS sports car.

At the wheel of the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, Gianmaria Bruni initially managed to advance from fourth to third place. In his slipstream, Patrick Pilet even overtook two competitors in the No. 911 racer. The two held onto these positions until the first round of pit stops.

For Porsche, the race remained rather unspectacular – until the last hour. Laurens Vanthoor, Gianmaria Bruni’s teammate, made the most of a short pit stop to snatch the lead. However, when the race went green after a safety car phase, he veered too wide and had to let the Ford past. In a gripping finale, he pulled out all the stops and tried everything to reclaim the lead, but was ultimately pipped at the flag. For Dirk Werner, who took over from Patrick Pilet, the restart was even more dramatic: after falling victim to an accident involving a Corvette, he ended up in the gravel and was robbed of a good result.

Round nine of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on 27 August at the Virginia International Raceway in Danville in the U.S. state of Virginia.

Dr Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development Porsche AG: “The Porsche GT Team missed out on clinching the second-straight win by a fraction of a second on this fantastic racetrack. But once again, everyone put in a strong team effort. The IMSA SportsCar Championship is a blue ribbon sports car series. Fans witness gripping and fiercely contested races, especially in the GT categories. I found it interesting to follow the tremendous teamwork from the pits during the qualifying session.”
Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “We kept improving over the whole race weekend. During practice we saw that we couldn’t match the pace of the fastest over a lap. So we concentrated on preparing for the race. That paid off. In the race we were up with the play until the end and we were in a position to fight for victory. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough. Still, we’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made over the weekend. It’s a shame that our number 911 racer was virtually kicked out of contention in a collision in the first corner after the restart. This cost us a lot of championship points. This car, too, was totally competitive today. We’ll be taking a lot of positive insights with us to the next round in Virginia. Until then, we’ll focus on the things that still need working on.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “What a rollercoaster race. We came into the pits earlier than scheduled prior to a caution phase, because we suspected we had a tire problem, and that cost us the lead. We definitely had some luck on our side because there was nothing wrong with the tires. After the restart, I wanted to overtake a slower GTD vehicle but he blocked me and that led to a mistake. It’s annoying to lose the lead and possibly even victory because of this, but such things happen. Nevertheless, finishing second on this tricky circuit is a good result.”
Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “That was a really tough race. I got away well at the start, but the Ford managed to overtake me in corner three. The team had worked out a great strategy, which Laurens implemented almost perfectly after the pit stop. Right up until shortly before the finish I thought we might win. But second place is a great result and a good motivation for the remaining races of the season.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Our 911 RSR ran brilliantly again today, and the team provided great support. Unfortunately it just wasn’t our race. It’s a pity, because we were actually good enough to win at Road America, too, but we just couldn’t do it. Now we’ll try again in Virginia.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “In the closing phase of the race we still had every chance open to us. After the final round of pit stops I was running in fifth and I wanted to overtake the Corvette in front of me after the safety car phase. But, while braking, he pulled to the left in the last moment and forced me into the gravel trap. He was given a penalty, but that didn’t do us any good. I’m pleased for our team colleagues in the No. 912 car and I hope that we can make more out of our good possibilities in Virginia.”

 

CORE P7 at Road America

CORE Improves on Best GTD Finish

CORE autosport delivered its best IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finish of the season so far at Road America. In the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun finished seventh in the GT Daytona category.

CORE got a boost before the race even started, as three cars who qualified faster, opted to change tires or starting drivers and were moved to the back. This moved the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R up to 11th on the GTD grid.

Bennett took the opening stint for the two-hour and 40-minute race. Though he lost two spots to quicker cars starting from the back, he was able to keep the Porsche on the lead lap and bring it in for the first pit stop in 13th.

Braun took over after the first stop. Forty minutes later, he was up to 10th, before a slew of full-course cautions. A combination of attrition, strong pit stops and quick pace had Braun up to seventh for the final 16-minute sprint to the finish. He was reeling in the lead pack of GTD cars, but ran out of time and crossed the finish line in seventh.

This betters CORE’s previous best GTD finish of eighth, which it scored on the streets of Detroit in June.

CORE returns to IMSA action August 25 – 27 at VIRginia International Raceway. Prior to that, it returns to the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series for a doubleheader in Atlantic City, August 12 – 13.

 

“I’m very happy about our race today. This is our best finish of the season. I struggled a good bit in my stint, but nevertheless, was able to keep it on the lead lap. We had good pits stops. Colin did a great job in the car. I am really happy to see the progress. I’m happy for the guys and for Colin. It gives us a boost of confidence as we head to our next race at VIRginia International Raceway.”
– JON BENNETT

 

“I got in the car and tried to push as hard as I could. We had to save some fuel in the middle of the race, so it was fun to balance the fuel saving strategy while I was still trying to go fast. Everyone did a really good job.

 

“We had good pace in the middle stint. Then as we neared the end, it was tough because all of the classes got mixed up. You had some guys who were fighting in their own class really hard that were in between guys that we were fighting with. All of those yellows at the end just kind of mixed everyone up and made it hard to race guys in our own pack. It was a lot of fun to be in the mix, but I wish we had been able to line up five GTD cars and get to race head-to-head. I felt like we had a good race car. We probably had a better long-run car than a short-run car, which at the end was important with all of those cautions.
– COLIN BRAUN

Road America Qualifying

CORE Prepares for All Scenarios at Road America

After two straight days of cold and rain at Road America, the sun finally came out for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying. CORE autosport qualified 13th for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

IMSA teams were greeted by thunderstorms at Road America on Thursday, followed by more rain and blustery winds for Friday’s two practice sessions. Saturday’s conditions were the complete opposite, with the track temperature hitting its highest in time for qualifying. Thankfully, the team had a final practice session prior to qualifying to get the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R dialed in for the dry circuit.

Jon Bennett was behind the wheel for the 15-minute qualifying session. The long 4.048-mile track only allows for a handful of laps, during which Bennett was able to qualify the car 13th on the GT Daytona grid.

It’s unclear whether the IMSA field will start on slick or rain tires tomorrow with a 60 percent chance of rain in the forecast. This may bode well for CORE, who set the fastest GTD practice time in the wet with Colin Braun behind the wheel.

The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase will go green at 2:35pm ET and be broadcast live on FS1, or IMSA.com for viewers outside the U.S.

“I love coming to Road America. It’s a beautiful and fun track to drive. If you’re not on the pole, you always wish you had gone a little faster, but we’ll continue to chew on it. I’ll go back and look at the data and see where I can get more speed for tomorrow.

 

“We’ve had varying weather conditions here this weekend. When the conditions are changing, you have to be smart and drive the car at its limit. It’s not too hard, but conditions certainly affect the overall lap time, even with the same amount of effort.

 

“I’m happy with the result. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and I’m looking forward to a good race tomorrow. It may not be such a bad thing if it rains tomorrow. As I often say – chaos creates opportunity.”
JON BENNETT

CORE Faces Daunting Road America

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Aug. 1, 2017) – CORE autosport goes from the shortest track of the year (Lime Rock Park) to the longest track of the year this weekend when it arrives at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

 

The historic 14-turn road course is 4.048-miles in length, including three long straightaways.

 

Road America is the site of CORE’s last IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium. Drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun finished second in the Prototype Challenge category last year despite starting from eighth.

 

With four rounds left in the 2017 IMSA season, CORE is still looking for its first top-five finish with the Porsche 911 GT3 R in the ultra-competitive GT Daytona (GTD) category.

 

Noteworthy

  • CORE has five podium finishes at Road America, including a 1-2 finish in the PC category in 2012.
  • The Braun family is from the Milwaukee area. Engineer Jeff Braun is a Milwaukee School of Engineering graduate.

 

 

 

“Road America is an amazing, classic road course. It has fast sweeping corners, quick technical sections, and a nearly flat-out kink. It is challenging and beautiful.

 

“It’s difficult to say if the long track length will favor our Porsche 911 GT3 R. Hopefully, our efficient shape and low drag will be an advantage down the long straights. Managing the brakes is always a challenge at Road America; keeping brake temperatures up during the long straights can be difficult.

 

“This has been a challenging season for the team and myself. The competition level in GTD is extremely fierce. Driver rankings and manufacturer involvement have been pushed to the limit. My personal goal is to push myself to the limit and deliver my best possible performance in the car. I owe it to my team and my co-driver Colin.”
– Jon Bennett

 

 

“My parents grew up in that area: my mom in Northern Illinois and my dad in Milwaukee. There’s definitely a lot of family up in that area that will be coming to check out the race. It’s a bit of a home race in a way for me, maybe even more so than COTA. All my surrounding family is in that area still.

 

“Road America is a great facility from an infrastructure perspective and it also has a great layout. It has all aspects of a cool racetrack in one place. You go to some other layouts and they are fun for one reason or another, but Road America has fast corners, slow corners, elevation changes… it has everything!

 

“I think the fact that it’s the longest track can be good; it promotes less jammed up racing between all the classes, it separates them and makes traffic easier. On the flip side, is the fact that you tend to have a lot of green flag runs and not a lot of cautions, which can be good or bad depending on how your day is unfolding. I don’t know that the track length is particularly advantageous or disadvantageous for us.”
– Colin Braun

 

 

Continental Tire Road Race Showcase | August 4 – 6

VENUE

Track Length: 4.048-miles, 14 turns

Race Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes

 

SCHEDULE (All times Central)

Friday, August 4

11:20pm – 12:20pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)

4:10pm – 5:10pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

 

Saturday, August 5

8:55am – 9:55am: Practice #3 (All Classes)

12:35pm – 12:50pm: Qualifying (GTD class)

2:00pm – 2:45pm: Pre-Race / Open Grid

3:05pm – 5:45pm: Northeast Grand Prix

 

Sunday, August 6

8:30am – 8:50am: Warm Up (All Classes)

10:45am – 11:30am: Driver Autograph Session

12:15pm – 1:15pm: Open Grid

1:35pm – 4:15pm: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Saturday, August 5

1:25pm – 3:05pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Sunday, August 6

2:30pm – 5:30pm: FS1

LIVE Race International:

2:25pm – 5:15pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com