CORE autosport collected its third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship top-10 finish at VIRginia International Raceway. Though the all-GT race had zero full-course cautions, there was still plenty of bumping and banging throughout the field.
Jon Bennett took the opening stint in the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R. He immediately had to avoid chaos in the first corner when three cars got together in front of him. Bennett maneuvered through the mess with ease, and after the opening lap he was up to 10th.
Though he faded back to 13th, 45 minutes into his stint, Bennett was back up to 10th just in time to hand the car over to co-drive Colin Braun.
A quick and clean pit stop had Braun back on course in 12th. He soon found the track littered with grass and dirt from the numerous cars making off-course excursions.
In a race that went the full two hours and 40 minutes without a yellow flag, making up positions depended on pace. Braun delivered by setting the quickest race lap by a Porsche entry, cracking into the top 10 and advancing to eighth by the checkered flag.
The finish is the third top-10 GTD result for CORE this season.
Next up is the America’s Tire 250, September 22 – 24, at Monterey, California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“The first corner on the first lap was nuts. I’ve been doing this a while, but starts are a little bit of mystery sometimes. You have to have your eyes up. It worked out for us. There was a lot of chaos. I didn’t see all of it directly but I did see flashes of cars in places that they shouldn’t be. I was constantly looking for an exit or a plan b. For me, actually, I just did my job and was fortunate to sneak through there and gain a couple of positions.
“I enjoyed the first laps of the race. Ultimately, I struggled a little with pace today. Some of the positions I gained on the start evaporated over my stint. Our team did a fantastic job during both stops. We had a clean driver change and Colin, of course, did his magic in the car. When you add it all together, an eighth-place finish isn’t bad. I’m pretty happy with that. “
“It was tough. A lot of guys were flying off the track and bringing a lot of debris onto it, which made it like a Russian roulette game through the corners. You’d never know when the debris was there and when it wasn’t.
“The traffic was tricky because our pace was almost the same as the GTLM class. It was tough because they had their own race to fight but we had just enough pace to interrupt their battles. We don’t want to be in the way and we want to let them through so we can get racing. But for whatever reasons, our paces were so similar here we just had to let them go, which meant we had to give up time that we could be racing, but that’s part of the excitement of our series.
“All in all, it was a good day for us. We got a top-10 finish. With no yellows to bunch it up, it makes it hard to catch up. The boys did a great job with pit stops. We had decent pace. We were kind of in our own little spot – there wasn’t much to gain and not a lot to be lost.”