CORE autosport put in a dominating performance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, earning its first win of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship by a full lap over the Prototype Challenge field.
Starting the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 from third on the grid, Jon Bennett quickly moved into second place and was reeling in the class leader. Thirty minutes later, the first full-course caution of the race was issued when the lead PC car stopped on the backstretch.
Bennett pitted from the lead during the yellow and returned to the track in third (not all PC cars pitted). On the restart, he was right back into second and took over the lead 10 minutes later at the one-hour mark. When it was time for Bennett to pit again and hand over the car to Colin Braun, he had a 10-second lead over second-place.
Braun returned to the track in second place, 18 seconds behind the leader, but was able to shave that to less than four seconds before the leader experienced a mechanical problem. The No. 54 breezed by and into the lead.
Braun held the lead through the final pit stop and continued to pull away from the rest of the PC field. His closest competitor, who was nearly a minute behind, exited the race with engine trouble, so when Braun crossed the finish line he had a full lap on second-place.
The victory gives CORE its largest point lead of the 2015 season, 10 points, with five rounds remaining in the season. In two weeks’ time, the team heads to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut, for the Northwest Grand Prix.
“It was an excellent race start for me. Over the past couple weeks Colin and I have spoken a lot about our approach to the race, and me doing a little more risk sharing as the event unfolds. Before, my goal was to get Colin a square car on the lead lap, now I’m working to do a little more than that. We’ve done some testing and I’m more confident in the car, and I think that showed today at the beginning of the race. I really enjoyed driving the car. I’m happy for the team, they all worked hard for this win.
“I had a great race. James French and I sort of hooked our wagons together, and I could see that I was staying with him and setting a good pace. Once I found my groove and used James French’s gearbox as a target, it was great. James eventually had a mechanical issue, which is the unfortunate part of racing, that put us in P1 and I just sailed from there.”
– Jon Bennett
“I think we were on a different pit strategy than most of the other teams and were working to avoid another pit stop. Some other teams seemed like they were rolling the dice to try to catch a yellow. With Jon’s great driving at the start of the race, we were able to play it pretty conservative with our strategy and knew that we didn’t need a yellow to make it to the end. The guys called a great strategy, and we had really great pit stops. It was just a heck of a day by everybody.
“We finished a lap ahead, had good pace and were good through traffic. Before the No. 8 car had trouble, we had almost a minute lead on those guys, so we were just trying to manage the gap and be smart. We had some power steering issues when I got in the car. We probably had about 25 percent of the assist that we normally do. Then near the end it went to zero. I was kind of holding on and just hoping that we could make it around and that my arms would hold on!”
– Colin Braun