SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2018) – After a challenging start to the 12 Hours of Sebring, CORE autosport climbed back from four laps down to nearly a podium finish in the latest round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge.
Starting from 11th, Colin Braun got the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources ORECA 07 LM P2 through the opening laps cleanly and settled into a rhythm before handing the car over to Jon Bennett.
Bennett had a close call with another Prototype car in Turn 17 during his stint, but was able to keep the car pointed in the right direction and handed the ORECA over to Romain Dumas two and half laps back from the leader.
The race was progressing smoothly until the two and a half hour mark, when the windscreen on the right door came off on track. Although the car is perfectly capable of running that way, IMSA rules require a windscreen, which forced Dumas to pit for a new right door. The fix cost valuable time in the pits and upon the car’s return to the track it was four laps down.
Pit strategy, consistent lap times and competitor mistakes combined impeccably to promote the No. 54 back to the lead lap with an hour and 30 minutes left in the race.
At the wheel for the closing stint, Dumas moved up to fourth before the checkered flag, even while saving fuel. This was the best finish for a Pro-Am lineup and highest finish of the P2-style cars.
A combination of third at Daytona and now fourth at Sebring puts CORE second overall in the Prototype point standings.
From the two longest races of the season, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship goes to the shortest race of the season: the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The one hour and 40-minute sprint race on a temporary street course takes place April 13 – 14.
Driver: No. 54 ORECA 07 LM P2
“To follow up a P3 at Daytona with P4 here is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the hard work of this team. I’m really proud of them. It is such a pleasure to share the car with Colin and Romain. To back up a strong Daytona performance with another one at Sebring is a dream start to the season. This team has great chemistry and excellent execution. We’ll see if we can ride the momentum to Long Beach.”
“We belong here. We understand what we’re doing. We understand the category and we’re ready to compete.”
Driver: ORECA 07 LM P2
“I think we’ve shown time and again there’s always an opportunity to get laps back. We had quite a lot of yellows this race, which was really helpful in that regard. We gained four laps back under yellow. It was a great job from the guys in the pits and nice calls from the timing stand. You’re never out in these races. Luckily, things sort of fell our way with the yellows and we were able to make up a lot of laps.
“We had good speed at night, but struggled in the heat of the day. Thankfully, we were able to get back on the lead lap just in time to fight back in the nighttime. Jon did a good job with his share. Then it came down to conserving fuel and Romain did an excellent job saving fuel at the end of the race. I’m proud of the job everyone did.”
Driver: No. 54 ORECA 07 LM P2
“We had a small issue with the door and lost a bit of time. Also, in terms of pure performance we weren’t as fast as we were at Daytona, but the car was still very good and fun to drive.
“There was a crash in the final corner and Colin was lucky to avoid it, but he had to go through a lot of debris and the splitter was destroyed. When I got into the car for the last two stints, I knew we were on the lead lap and had to push, but we had lost a lot of speed and we didn’t know then, but now we know it was because of the splitter. The only chance we had at the end was to save fuel, so the team gave me a number and it was perfect; I had a fuel alarm on the last lap.”