ROCK HILL, S.C. (Jan. 20, 2021) – After a year’s absence, the familiar orange and white of CORE autosport is back on the IMSA WeatherTech Championship grid. The 2021 season opens this weekend with the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway, then the season opens in earnest with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 28 – 31.

 

Team owner and driver Jonathan Bennett once again teams up with Colin Braun behind the wheel as they did for the 2013 – 2019 IMSA seasons. The longtime teammates are joined by experienced prototype drivers George Kurtz and Matt McMurry for the legendary endurance race.

 

The No. 54 Composite Resources/CrowdStrike Ligier JS P320 will compete in the new LMP3 category, sharing the track with the WeatherTech Championship’s four other classes. The Roar Before the 24 official test will be the team’s first track time with its Ligier. To date, only a brief shakedown has been performed.

 

New this year, the Roar Before the 24 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona are back-to-back weekends, which means most teams will stay setup at the track. Also new, is a qualifying race set for Sunday, January 24. The 100-minute qualifying race will set the grid for the following week’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

 

The Motul Pole Award 100 will air live on TrackPass on NBCSN Gold, January 24 at 2pm ET, then later at 4:30pm on NBCSN.

 

Coverage of the Rolex 24 at Daytona begins on NBC at 3:30pm ET, January 30. Television coverage later switches to NBCSN at 4:30pm ET.

 

 

Notable:

  • CORE has competed in six Rolex 24 races (2014 – 2019) across four different classes (Prototype Challenge, GTD, Prototype and DPi)
  • CORE has four Rolex 24 podiums including a PC win in 2014, it’s first time contesting the race
  • CORE’s highest overall finish is third in 2018 with an ORECA 07 LM P2
  • Kurtz is a Rolex 24 rookie, though he has raced at Daytona in other series
  • McMurry has six Rolex 24 starts, but is still in search of his first podium finish

JON BENNETT
Driver: No. 54 Composite Resources/CrowdStrike Ligier JS P320

“It’s fantastic to be back in a race car once again this year. I greatly underestimated just how much I enjoy being around my friends and competitors in IMSA. I have a new appreciation what is important and what is not.

 

“I look forward to the challenge of learning our new car and understanding how the class integrates with the other four IMSA WeatherTech classes. We recently had a very productive “shakedown” with our new Ligier. After we worked out the kinks, I was able to get about 3-4 sessions of quick laps to become familiar with our new race car.

 

“With the COVID-19 protocols in place, this Rolex 24 will look a lot different from the last one I did. We’ll be far removed from the fans and the usual activities. Our fans are the real energy force at our events and especially the Rolex 24. I will miss the fans waiting outside the garages for an autograph or for the perfect photograph of the new race cars and liveries. I hope fans can get up close and personal at our IMSA events soon.”

COLIN BRAUN
Driver: No. 54 Composite Resources/CrowdStrike Ligier JS P320

“I am really excited to be back with CORE and heading to the race track! We haven’t had a ton of time behind the wheel of the new Ligier, but I have seen all the hours of work the guys have been putting in, so I feel like we are very prepared from that side! I have driven the old Ligier LMP3 car quite a bit, Jon has done LeMans in the support event in the car too, and I know George has been pounding the laps in his test car! Matt will be right up to speed with his IMSA & LMP2 experience – and he will bring that Championship momentum to us!  Like every Rolex 24, it’s going to be about reliability, not making mistakes and staying out of trouble, as opposed to outright pace – at least until the final few hours. Staying out of trouble will be tricky with 50 cars in five classes on track. Plus, the LMP3 cars aren’t too far off the pace of the LMP2 cars, but also not a ton faster than the GTLM cars. Getting through traffic cleanly will be critical.

 

“It’s a shame we won’t be able to interact with the fans like we usually do but I am very glad that IMSA has so many great safety protocols in place to allow us to go and do what we all love. The autograph session and walk out to the grid are things that make Daytona, Daytona – but I know we will put on a good show for the fans on TV and in person. We just have to hope that next year things will look closer to normal and put on a good show for the fans that do make it out.”

GEORGE KURTZ
Driver: No. 54 Composite Resources/CrowdStrike Ligier JS P320

“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the preeminent races on the calendar. The stars have aligned for this perfect opportunity with CORE: Colin and I have been successful teammates in big endurance races already and I have lots of seat time in my Ligier LMP3 car. CORE is one of the best in the business and I am excited to fight for the win.”

MATT MCMURRY
Driver: No. 54 Composite Resources/CrowdStrike Ligier JS P320

“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the preeminent races on the calendar. The stars have aligned for this perfect opportunity with CORE: Colin and I have been successful teammates in big endurance races already and I have lots of seat time in my Ligier LMP3 car. CORE is one of the best in the business and I am excited to fight for the win.”