DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2019) – The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge season opener was interrupted multiple times by heavy rains at Daytona International Speedway. Despite the treacherous track conditions, CORE autosport held on to finish fourth in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.


Skies were overcast when driver Jon Bennett took the green flag on Saturday afternoon, but the rain did not move in until the early Sunday morning. To that point, the No. 54 Nissan Ligier DPi had only experienced one issue; a shifting problem that took extra time in the pit box to fix. The setback had CORE seven laps down just before the halfway point of the race, but the team clawed its way back to podium contention by the closing stages.


Racing was red flagged once at 7:21am for heavy rain and low visibility, at which point driver Colin Braun was already only five laps down to the leaders. Shortly after racing resumed, Braun handed over the car to Romain Dumas who picked up another lap to put the No. 54 only four laps down.


The severity of the rain ebbed and flowed through Sunday, catching many drivers off guard. CORE kept clear of trouble and was into fourth with four hours to go. The team had the unique position of watching the leaders battle in hazardous conditions without any pressure from fifth place. Even though the No. 54 was four laps down, if the leaders collided, a podium or even a win was possible.


With two hours left in the race, driver Loïc Duval was reporting the weather was at its worst yet. IMSA officials agreed and brought out the red flag one final time. The checkered flag was issued after 23 hours and 50 minutes of racing. CORE finished its first race with the Nissan DPi in fourth.


It’s a strong start to the season for CORE. Up next on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule is the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 13 – 16.

Driver: No. 54 Nissan Ligier DPi

“I think it’s amazing how far we’ve come in roughly two months. My hat’s off to the whole CORE team for all their hard work. Not just hard work, but smart and effective work to get us competitive in such a short time frame. We had a small sensor problem mid-race and I think that was all that separated us from being at the front in the end. Fourth is a great accomplishment for our first race with the Nissan and I want to thank my teammates and everyone on the crew for doing such a great job.


“I’m here to race and compete, but at some point you have to be practical. I’m afraid if we’d gone much farther someone would have been hurt and that’s not what we’re here to do. I’m happy we’re all going home safe, we’re all in one piece, we’ll regroup, add from our experience here and be super competitive at Sebring.”

Driver: No. 54 Nissan Ligier DPi

“This is a great result for us. We got the car less than two months ago. I’m really proud of these guys to come out in our first race and be on the backfoot a little bit and show that we’re still contenders. It was a good testament to what we can look forward to the rest of the year.


“I have to say that Jon did an amazing job all through the race. After his first stint in the race I think he only lost 20 seconds to the leader, so I’m glad he’s comfortable and having fun in the car. It makes me pumped for the rest of the year.


“I got in the car after Loïc and the rain wasn’t so bad, but then it started to come down really heavy and being it was at night, it was really hard to see, especially with all the lights reflecting off the water. It was like that all the way to the end of the race in varying degrees.”

Driver: No. 54 Nissan Ligier DPi

“The race was very difficult. Everything went according to plan and as we got close to the middle of the race we were running in the top three. Unfortunately, when I was driving, we had a gearbox sensor issue. It wasn’t possible to upshift without using the clutch, so without this I lost a lot of time. We repaired it but lost some laps.


“Then the rain came and all the red flags. At the end of the day in the rain we didn’t have the performance compared to the Cadillac, so I think fourth was the best we could achieve.


“It was a good result for the team who pushed very hard to finish the car in the last month. Jon did very well. He was very fast. We had a chance in the dry, but in the wet it was very difficult.”

Driver: No. 54 Nissan Ligier DPi

“We all come here to win and to get the watch, so for sure there is some frustration, but in the end, if you look back at the details, in the dry we had very good pace and in normal wet conditions we were pretty good, but when there was a lot of rain we were not able to keep up with the Cadillacs. Even if we didn’t have the mechanical problem we had, I think P4 would have been the best we could do.


“I’m pretty happy that everybody is safe as well. It was really tough in those conditions, not only in terms of water, but in terms of visibility.


“Looking back, there is nothing to be upset about. When you see the amount of time the team had to prepare this car for the race, it’s a very good result. It would have been cool to be on the podium again, but this is a good reward for the team to get the points and fourth position. They start the season on a good base. Thanks to everyone at CORE for the opportunity.”