WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 3, 2021) – Following a runner-up finish in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen last weekend, CORE autosport scored another podium finish at Watkins Glen International on Friday evening. The two hour and 40-minute race was shortened by 45 minutes, when a red flag was issued for lightning, setting up a 30-minute sprint to the finish.


The WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen was a late add to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule after COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of a race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. As the IMSA series were all in Watkins Glen already for the six-hour race, it was convenient to hold the makeup race there. But, because of previously scheduled events for the weekend, the race was held on Friday evening.


It rained on-and-off for most of the event in Upstate New York and it was raining as teams pushed cars to the grid. The rain stopped shortly thereafter, and it was clear that slick tires were the way to go.


Jon Bennett qualified the No. 54 Composite Resources / CrowdStrike Ligier JS P320 second on the LMP3 grid. Bennett was unable to capitalize on this at the start because the polesitter lined up incorrectly coming to the green flag, blocking Bennett and allowing the opposite row to come by. Bennett dropped to fourth, but race officials gave the polesitter a drive-through penalty, thus promoting Bennett to third.


Bennett was catching the second-place car, but was mired in traffic. When he did catch the second-place car, Bennett made his move in Turn One, but the two made contact and Bennett spun off course. The contact damaged one of the front dive planes and, similar to last weekend, it adversely affected the No. 54’s aero performance, making it especially difficult to follow other cars.


Forty-five minutes into the race it was time for Bennett to pit from fourth and hand the car over to Braun. It was shortly after this stop that rain began to creep back over the circuit. A full-course yellow for a car stopped on track changed to a red flag when lighting was seen in the area, necessitating the removal of all course workers for safety.


When the race resumed 45 minutes later it was still considered to be under full-course caution. Braun pitted for fresh tires, but the team also used the stop under caution to change the nose of the car without losing any positions.


Braun was fourth when the green flag came back out with just 36 minutes left in the race. After another short yellow for debris, the race stayed green to the checkered flag and in that time Braun was able to move up to third and set the fastest LMP3 lap of the race. He was only a half-second away from second place when the checkered flag came out.


With a pair of podiums in the bank, CORE looks ahead to the next race on the IMSA calendar: Road America, August 6 – 7.

Jon Bennett
Driver: No. 54 Composite Resources / CrowdStrike Ligier LM P320

“The start actually happened a few corners before the green flag when the Performance Tech driver did not pull into his spot. I had to stay behind him, or I would have been in trouble too, so I sat there and watched the Andretti entry pass me and him and fill that spot.


“We got off to a good start after that. We got through the typical early corner chaos. I slotted behind Gar [Robinson] and waited for the tires to come in. Lap after lap I got closer and closer until I had a good run on him into Turn One. I’m not sure he saw me and we met at the apex and I spun. Luckily as I was spinning, I put the clutch in, downshifted to first gear and I was off and running without much delay.


“Ultimately, I handed the car over to Colin. The rain came and we were lucky to have a caution and red flag so we had a little time to plan our strategy and change the nose and with 40 minute to go we let Colin free to catch the field. If the race had been five minutes longer it would have been an interesting finish because the top three LMP3 cars were all converging together.


“I’m happy with two podiums and really pleased with the team chemistry and teamwork and the never-quite attitude. We’ll regroup, clean the car up and I think we’re going to have a good event at Road America.”

Colin Braun
Driver: No. 54 Composite Resources / CrowdStrike Ligier LM P320

“The restart was crazy. Unfortunately, a lapped car passed me and then sat there on the restart and that gave the pack ahead a good gap. Once we got going, I caught the back of the 38 car and he was defending and defending and finally defended himself into a spin. That built up the gap to the leaders again. I ran them down, but then the race was over. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time.


“All in all, I’m proud of the guys, they had great pit stops. Jon drove a super first stint racing right up there and making moves. It was a good day, but a weird day. These guys did a great job changing the nose. It was stellar work by everybody, we just didn’t get all the pieces put together. Had It fallen our way a little more, I think we had a shot at the win.”