LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 13, 2018) – Jon Bennett’s first Prototype-class qualifying attempt took place on the concrete-lined street course in Long Beach, California. Bennett qualified 13th for Saturday’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach, the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The nature of a street course and the schedule makes qualifying at Long Beach especially tricky. IMSA teams have only two practice sessions leading up to qualifying, the first being at 7:40am local time, the second not until 4:45pm. Bennett did not get a chance to drive in the second practice session, thus he started qualifying in a car with a totally new setup and on a track that was dramatically different from his last stint in the car, six hours prior.
It did take several laps for Bennett to get up to speed, then a lap to avoid car stopped in the middle of the hairpin, but by the time the checkered flag flew, his best time of 1:17.672 (91.214 mph) was good enough for 13th on the Prototype grid.
Bennett will start the race before handing the car over to co-driver Colin Braun. Keeping the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources ORECA 07 LM P2 out of trouble on the treacherous street circuit will be the key to a successful race.
Saturday’s 100-minute BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach will air LIVE on FOX at 4pm ET.
Driver: No. 54 ORECA 07 LM P2
“I think qualifying went fine. I was able to have my personal best lap time of the event so far and we didn’t hit anything. We’re learning a lot about the setup and just prior to qualifying Colin and Jeff [Braun] made a lot of improvement with the car.
“Qualifying was a bit turbulent. There were a lot of unexpected surprises, like cars stopped in the hairpin, which wasn’t super helpful.
“As we’ve seen at Daytona and Sebring, there’s a lot that goes on in a race beyond absolute lap times. I think we’re going to execute like we did in previous races and we’re expecting a good result.”