BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 13, 2018) – In a nail-biting finish at the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, CORE autosport finished two spots shy of earning the season title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. A late race splash for fuel resulted in a seventh-place finish in the 10-hour race and a runner-up finish in the point standings.
Entering the IMSA finale four points out of the lead, but with a healthy margin back to third, CORE was prepared to take an aggressive strategy to win the Championship in its debut in IMSA’s top class.
That strategy started by putting Jon Bennett in the car to start the race and run his required 45 minutes of drive time. Bennett needed to keep the No. 54 Composite Resources / Flex-Box ORECA 07 LM P2 out of trouble in the early stages of the race, while still keeping on pace with the rest of the Prototypes. He did just that and handed the car over to Romain Dumas near the two-hour mark.
Dumas and Colin Braun shared driving duties for the remainder of the race, with a goal to stay far enough ahead of the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac to claim the Championship.
Well-executed pit stops helped CORE jump ahead of the No. 31, which then started to fade back as Braun climbed as high as fourth.
Unable to go the same distance on fuel as the Cadillac, which did not need to push as hard as Braun in the final stages, CORE was forced to pit with less than 15 minutes to go. This dropped Braun to seventh, directly ahead of the No. 31, but not enough to overcome the point deficit.
At the checkered flag, CORE had 274 points to the Cadillac’s 277.
Even though it missed out on the Championship by three points, the 2018 season exceeded CORE’s expectations for its rookie year in IMSA’s top class. Up against factory teams with decades more experience in the Prototype category and with a true pro-am driver lineup, CORE earned five podium finishes, including victories at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America.
The offseason is short and CORE will be looking closely at its options for next year. The 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship begins January 26 with the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Driver: No. 54 ORECA 07 LM P2
“My goal was to follow the formula we’ve had all year, which is to stay on the lead lap and give my teammates a car that’s in good shape and let the rest of the race play out. It’s hard to plan every motion and every unknown in a race like this. Sometimes it works in your favor and sometimes it doesn’t.
“I can’t say enough about the effort that went into this year in our inaugural Prototype season. We faced some very exceptional competition. I think we gave them a run for their money and I think we will continue to. I couldn’t be prouder of my team and my co-drivers.
“It wasn’t the result we’d hoped for tonight, but the sun will rise tomorrow and in the end we had a really amazing season and everyone should hold their heads high.”
Driver: ORECA 07 LM P2
“I think everybody did all they could. At the end of day we came up a little short on fuel. If we’d had a few more laps, I think we could have won the Championship. It was disappointing if you look at it as a single event, but on the season as a whole, we did a great job as a team. Finishing second in the points is a tremendous accomplishment for our first year in Prototypes and I’m really proud of everyone on this team.”
Driver: ORECA 07 LM P2
“It was a similar race to the one in Sebring; we didn’t have the performance of the DPi cars, so at the end of the day we had to gamble a little bit. We knew we were fast, but overtaking was difficult.
“We tried our best. The team ran a perfect race and we had no damage on the car. We couldn’t have done anything more, so everyone should be proud.”