ROCK HILL, S.C. (Oct. 3, 2017) – It’s time for the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend at Road Atlanta.
CORE autosport will close out its 2017 season with the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans endurance race. Nic Jönsson will once again join Jon Bennett and Colin Braun for driving duties in the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The team comes into the season finale off of its season-best finish of fourth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. There, CORE led the most GT Daytona laps before having to pit for a splash of fuel.
The Motul Petit Le Mans is also the final race in the Patron North American Endurance Cup, which is composed of the IMSA season races that are six hours or more in length.
- CORE won Petit Le Mans in the PC class with Alex Popow, Ryan Dalziel and Mark Wilkins in 2012.
- CORE has earned four podium finishes in total at Petit Le Mans, all of them in the PC class.
- This will be CORE’s last race in GTD. The team recently announced its move to the Prototype class for 2018.
“We were all pleased to see the CORE and Porsche colors leading the GTD field for much of the race at Laguna. We all have been pushing through our personal limits to improve our competitiveness in GTD. It was great to see the effort generate results.
“I believe we all embrace the basic physics of long races. While it is important to be fast and aggressive at all times, there is a bigger picture in play that involves smart choices, self-control, and a bit of luck. Our ultimate goal is to keep the car off the TV broadcast until the end!
“The hardest part of PLM, like the Rolex 24 and Sebring, is understanding the bigger strategy of peaking in the final minutes of the race. You need to resist the urge to attack too soon and be fast and aggressive while keeping the big picture in mind.
“I think a fair goal is to always improve upon your last result. If we accomplish this goal at Petit Le Mans, we should all be soaked with champagne late Saturday night.”
“I feel like the momentum we bring from Laguna is a good thing. We don’t really change our approach or how hard we work based on prior results, but a good race is always boosts everyone’s spirits. The guys have been working extremely hard and I feel like it’s going to be a helpful thing going into the last race of the season for sure.
“The longer races are an opportunity to execute good strategy and pit stops and smart racing. Those are things that, as a team, we’re good at. Also, in terms of a driver package, I feel like that’s an area where we excel. Jon’s done a great job in the long races and over the past couple years, we’ve had some great guys joining us and it will be no different with Nic at Petit.
“The hardest part of Petit is the intensity of the race. It’s a relatively short lap. It’s easy to get behind. It’s not a super long race where you have a ton of time to make it up. It’s a really interesting mix of length of the track, distance of the race and the cadence of the race. It’s unlike Sebring and Daytona. Even though it’s only a few hours shorter than Sebring, it has a totally different flow to the race.
“Closing out the season with a win would be great. It’s been an up and down year, not by any fault of our own. I’m hopeful we can have a trouble-free event and show what we’re capable of doing. I know if we can do that, we’ll be right in the mix to contend at the end of the race.”
“Compared to Daytona and Sebring it’s a shorter lap. I think the track is more physical; you don’t have a lot of time to rest. The track is a little more narrow, so you have to have a lot of patience. The darkness lasts an hour to an hour and a half and usually it brings quite a bit of excitement, because it can be hard to see where exactly the other cars are.
“CORE had been very successful in the PC class for a number of years and they changed to a completely different formula. That takes some time to adapt, not just for the drivers, but also for the crew. CORE is a very professional team and we had really good pace right away at Daytona and Sebring, unfortunately we didn’t have luck on our side. The crew has become more accustomed to the car and they do phenomenal pit stops.
“CORE has done a great job adapting to GTD this year and I think they showed that with a strong result at Laguna a couple weeks ago. Hopefully the momentum from Laguna will carry to Petit and help us finish the season with a podium.”