ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 7, 2022) – Weather impacted Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America. After a dry start to the race, light but persistent rain made for some tough strategy calls. CORE autosport may have made the wrong choice early in the race but recovered mightily for a third-place finish.
Jon Bennett started the No. 54 CrowdStrike/Flex-Box/Motul Ligier JS P320 from sixth on the grid. The track was dry, but grey clouds loomed overhead.
The rain started to pick up just as the first full-course caution came out and teams were set for their first pit stops. Bennett did well to keep the car on track as the grip level decreased. Though it was slick, the radar seemed to indicate the rain would be short lived.
When Bennett pitted, the decision was made to stick with slick tires. Colin Braun took over driving duties and once all teams had cycled through, the No. 54 was up to third. It became clear shortly after green flag racing resumed that slicks were the wrong choice. Braun fell to ninth and the rain did not let up. The team brought Braun into the pits for rain tires.
Thankfully he did not lose a lap with the extra pit stop and when the next full-course yellow came out, Braun was able to cycle around to the back of the pack and eliminate any danger of being lapped.
The track did eventually dry enough to return to slick tires.
Additional full-course yellows, flawless pit stops and attrition helped Braun climb his way back through the field and into third before the finish.
The podium was enough for CORE to maintain the LMP3 point lead with only one more race to go in the season. The final round is Petit Le Mans, a 10-hour race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, September 29 – October 1.
Driver: No. 54 CrowdStrike / Flex-Box / Motul Ligier JS P320
“It was quite the adventurous day. We were doing well early in the weekend. Of course, I wish I had qualified better. When we got to the race, the car was quite good even in the low-grip situation we had at the beginning. It was misting, which made for some tough pit stop and tire calls. I’m really proud of the team for working their way through that with incredible skill. At the end of the day, P3 isn’t what we race for, but it’s a strong result for the team and puts us in a good position heading into the finale at Petit Le Mans.”
Driver: No. 54 CrowdStrike / Flex-Box Ligier JS P320
“That first stop was a really tough call. Based on the radar it didn’t look like it would continue to rain, but we just had this mist hanging around. It was a roll of the dice. When it went back to green, we knew we probably misjudged it. At that point it was just about surviving and hoping it would dry, but it didn’t, so unfortunately, we had to come back in and change to rain tires. When I came back out, I didn’t have much of a gap over the leader and zero laps on rain tires, so I was feeling the pressure. Luckily, we pulled out a bit of a gap, then the yellow came out and we cycled back around.
“From there we just did our thing and made some good passes on the restarts and had great pit stops and found ourselves in contention in the end. I’m proud of the guys. Jon did a great job. We had a challenging couple of practice days trying to get the car in a good place and then today with the weather… it was a hard-work kind of weekend.”