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Stand Out GRC Weekend for CORE autosport

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 21, 2017) – In the second round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites series at the Kentucky Exposition Center, CORE autosport scored two heat wins, helping both cars skip the last chance qualifier and go on to top-five finishes in the final.

 

The weekend got off to a strong start with Braun qualifying the No. 56 GRC Lites car in fourth and Bennett seventh in the No. 54. This separated the teammates into different heat races. Bennett finished fourth in Saturday’s heat while Braun finished second in his group after leading much of the race.

 

On Sunday, Braun and Bennett both won their heat races, a GRC career-first for Bennett. The teammates then went on to finish fourth in their respective semi-finals, which meant they would both skip the LCQ and move straight to the final, another first for Bennett.

 

Rain was threatening, but held off for the final, where Bennett started seventh and Braun eighth.

 

Braun had an excellent start in the final and was quickly up to fifth. He held station there until the final lap when he moved up one more spot to finish fourth.

 

Contact slowed Bennett down at the start, but he gradually picked off positions in the second half of the 10-lap race. He crossed the finish line in fifth behind his teammate. It was Bennett’s best GRC Lites finish to date.

 

The GRC Lites action from Louisville will air on NBC Sports Network, Wednesday, May 24, at 5pm ET.

 

CORE autosport will have the Memorial Day weekend off before heading to Detroit, Michigan, to race on the streets of Belle Isle as part of the latest IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round.

 

 

 

JON BENNETT
No. 54 CORE autosport GRC Lites

“It was a good weekend all around. We had a very productive test outing in Charlotte and arrived with a strong setup on the car. We unloaded the trucks and rolled out to the grid all sorted and that’s always a good start to the event!

 

“Colin and I learned the track pretty quickly and I think took to some of the nuances faster than our competitors. Plus, the guys on both the No. 54 and No. 56 did a stellar job getting the cars prepared and fixing any crash damage between heats. It was a very poised event for CORE and it showed in our performance.

 

“My win in the second heat was partly due to a really good start. Then, I was able to maintain my composure through the whole race without giving my competitors an opening. It was a flag-to-flag win and I think getting your first heat win takes a little bit of pressure off. I think more heat wins are to come.

 

“In the first corner of the final, I saw an opportunity to pick up a couple of places and stuck my nose down the inside where I thought I had a good opportunity to pass two cars. Unfortunately, the car I was trying to pass either didn’t get good spotting information or was being super aggressive, and we all collided. Fortunately, all three of us continued. My bodywork was in bad shape, but the structural part of the car was fine. I looked for a couple openings, picked off cars each lap and ended up P5.

 

“It was very much a coming of age event for our whole team and I think Colin and I are both in a fortunate position to be looking for our first win or my first podium in the next couple of races!”

 

 

COLIN BRAUN
No. 56 CORE autosport GRC Lites

“The Louisville track was pretty straightforward; there wasn’t a whole lot to it technically, which is what I think made the qualifying and races so close. It was a hard track to pass on though; you had to make bold, aggressive moves. We saw a lot of contact and side-by-side racing.

 

“I got a pretty good start in the first heat and led some of that. Cyril Raymond and I had a good fight in the first heat and another tight battle in heat two. He beat me in the first one and I beat him in the second one.

 

“We were looking pretty good up until the semi-final. I had a rough and tumble semi, which is unfortunate because that sets the grid for the main, so I lined up eighth in the main. I managed to charge up to fourth, but that was all the time we had.

 

“I’m really excited about our results, because all our guys did a good job with the cars and we’re getting better and better as a team. Jon’s performance was awesome this week! I think we’ve shown that when we finally have a little bit of racing luck fall our way, we’ll be up there contending for wins for sure.”

CORE Continues GRC Season in Louisville

ROCK HILL, S.C. (May 17, 2017) – CORE autosport is prepped and ready for Round Two of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship. It’s taking its two GRC Lites entries to Louisville, Kentucky, with drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun.

 

CORE narrowly missed out on a GRC Lites podium in the season opener at Memphis International Raceway, but was able to tally a heat win for Braun and Bennett lead all but one lap of the LCQ. Leaving Memphis, Braun was fourth in the GRC points and Bennett eighth.

 

The track layout CORE will face at the Kentucky Exposition Center is a night and day difference from Memphis. GRC course designers did not have to work within the confines of a paved oval, like in Memphis. Instead, they let their imagination run wild in the expansive expo parking lot.

 

The 0.699-mile course features 10-turns, the traditional 70-foot jump and an idyllic Joker Lap that bypasses the entire dirt section and should provide a great advantage.

 

The GRC Louisville event kicks off Saturday, May 20, with finals taking place on Sunday, May 21. Tickets are available at redbullglobalrallycross.com.

 

The GRC Lites final will air on NBC Sports Network, Wednesday, May 24, at 5pm ET.

 

 

 

 

JON BENNETT

No. 54 CORE autosport GRC Lites

“I was actually born in an Army hospital at Fort Knox on May 4th, 1965.  I moved to Rochester, New York, when I was a year old, but, nevertheless, Louisville is where I was born and I look forward to my return in a big way: sideways and airborne!

 

“One of the challenges of Red Bull GRC is learning the new track. While we have the layout ahead of time, I have learned not to read too much into the design until the final track walk. I look forward to solving another GRC puzzle this weekend.

 

“My focus at Louisville will be to search for more speed while staying in the rhythm of the heat races, building to the final. There will likely be positive factors and a couple negative factors. The skill is to keep moving forward with a constructive, positive mind set and enjoy the unexpected.”

 

 

 

 

COLIN BRAUN

No. 56 CORE autosport GRC Lites

“The Louisville layout looks pretty interesting. It looks a bit like the D.C. or L.A. courses from last year. The fact that it’s set up in a big empty parking lot means it will be like a street course, so it’ll have some walls that define the track limits. It’ll be a good thing for both Jon and I, since we have a lot of street course experience.

 

“I know our GRC crew have been busy preparing the cars back at the shop and the fact that we brought them back in relatively good shape after Memphis means we’ll be well prepared. We’ve done some good work between the last race in Memphis and this race, so I think we’re in a suitable position to keep battling for strong finishes.”

Best 911 RSR Narrowly Misses Podium at COTA

AUSTIN, Texas (May 7, 2017) – After a successful start to the season in the USA, the new Porsche 911 RSR narrowly missed out on securing its third podium result in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Circuit of the Americas in Austin. With the 510 hp racing car, which is a totally new development of Porsche Motorsport in Weissach, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) secured fourth in the GTLM class after holding the lead at one point. In the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) took the flag in eighth place.
 
Patrick Pilet got off the line well at the 3.4-mile Grand Prix circuit near the capital of Texas. When several cars became entangled during the sprint to the first turn, Pilet managed to avoid the melee and launch a pursuit race from fourth place. First he snatched third and several laps later he overtook another competitor. After almost an hour of racing he was in the lead. This pace, however, could not go on. His teammate Dirk Werner, who took the wheel of the 911 RSR, was first shunted by a GTD car, and was then handed a 60-second penalty for running the red light at pit exit. As a result, all hopes for a possible podium finish were dashed. After two hours and forty minutes, Patrick Pilet finally took the checkered flag in fourth place.
 
The Turn 1 accident put an early end to the race for the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR shortly after the start. Wolf Henzler, who replaced Kévin Estre (France) at Austin so that the Frenchman could contest the WEC round in Spa, rejoined the race in fifth after the first stop for repairs. However, associated damages required longer repairs in the team garage. When Laurens Vanthoor finally returned to the racetrack, he was too far behind to make up any positions.
 
Round five of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on July 2 at Watkins Glen in upstate New York, following a break after the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 
 
Steffen Höllwarth, Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “Everything actually ran according to plan with the 911. Our strategy to strengthen the car in the practices worked perfectly. We managed to take over the lead. In the middle stint, however, we were shunted by a GTD car, which affected the rear aerodynamics. The penalty for not seeing the lights in the pit lane was the final straw. Although we continued to fight our way back up, it was not enough for a podium. Now we have time to analyze the first third of the season. This is what we’ll do and after the summer break we’ll be back in full force.”
 
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “This race was pretty disappointing. We had the best chances to do well here, but it was our own fault that it didn’t succeed. We make mistakes that shouldn’t happen. I hope things go better for us at the next race in Watkins Glen.”
 
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “We had the chance for a podium result here. It’s a shame that we didn’t managed to use it. At the exit of the pit lane I was alongside a BMW and I didn’t notice – for whatever reason – that the pit lights were red. The resulting penalty cost us the race, what’s more I had already been sent into a spin by a GTD car prior to this. All in all, it wasn’t a great race for us.”
 
Wolf Henzler (911 RSR #912): “I didn’t imagine my first race this season with the 911 RSR would be like this. In the very first corner after the start, a Ford and a Ferrari had a big encounter and that set off a chain reaction. When I sped up right behind a Corvette, it suddenly spun. I couldn’t avoid it and we collided. Our 911 RSR was so badly damaged that the resulting repairs cost us all chances of a good result.”
 
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “By the time I climbed into the car for my stint, the race was as good as over for us. That was not a great weekend for us. We’ll now go testing and hopefully we’ll return stronger after the summer break.”

CORE Hangs on for 13th at COTA

AUSTIN, Texas (May 6, 2017) – CORE autosport faced stiff WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition and rising temperatures at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Never the less, drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun persisted and were able to finish four positions ahead of their qualifying spot in Austin, Texas.

 

Bennett qualified the Porsche 17th on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona grid and took on starting duties. His position was improved even prior to the start of the race when two competitors opted to change their tires and move to the back of the field.

 

On the start, Bennett adeptly dodged several spinning cars in the first corner and came out unscathed. As track temperatures rose to 120 degrees, the hottest in IMSA competition so far this year, Bennett managed the tires through his stint in the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R.

 

After an hour in the car, it was time to hand the wheel over to Braun. On the way into pit lane, Bennett was caught exceeding the pit lane speed limit. As a result, the team was issued a drive-through penalty.

 

Thanks to smart pit strategy, Braun was able to make up the ground lost by the penalty and began some intense battles among his GTD rivals. Though fading brakes hindered his forward progress, Braun managed to advance two more spots to 13th, even with a late-race caution and restart.

 

The next IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round will take place on the streets of Detroit, June 2 – 3. Prior to that, Bennett and Braun will compete in the second round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, May 20 – 21, in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

 

“Brick-by-brick we are making progress. We were able to finish on the lead lap this race, which is an indication of forward progress. I’m still a little behind pace-wise and we are still working to learn the various systems of the car – ABS, traction control, etc. Each of these systems has to be catered to, so we’re learning more and more about the car.

“I think we are all encouraged going forward and heading to Detroit. It’s a track that both Colin and I like and it’s a bit challenging. There’s a bit of opportunity and chaos that will ensue at Detroit and our learning season continues.”

– JON BENNETT

 

 

 

“The car had a really good pace this race. Jon did a good job in his opening stint. Unfortunately, he got a pit road speeding penalty coming in. We were fortunate enough to get our lap back with our pit sequence that the guys on the box called.

“Even though we had that set back, the whole team stayed focused forward and I gave it my all to pick up some spots and get these CORE guys a finish they could be proud of.  All-in-all, we finished on the lead lap and we continue to improve our performance each race. We’re moving forward and had great stops on pit road.”
– COLIN BRAUN

CORE Wraps Up COTA Qualifying

After skipping last year’s IMSA round at Circuit of the Americas, CORE autosport has returned to find May much cooler than the race’s traditional September date. Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the 70’s, Jon Bennett qualified 17th for Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown.

 

Hopping aboard the No. 54 Flexbox / Composite Resources / Micro WaterJet Porsche 911 GT3 R one day after his birthday, Bennett once again was given qualifying duties on the 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course. Bennett’s early times put him in the top-15 in class, but at the close of the 15-minute session for the ultra-competitive GTD field, Bennett was 17th on grid.

 

The two-hour and 40-minute race will go green at 1:35pm ET Saturday, May 6. Coverage on FS1 will air later, at 7pm ET. Live radio, scoring and in-car cameras will be available on IMSA.com as well as a live race stream for viewers outside the U.S.

Jon Bennett
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“We hoped for a little faster lap time, but we’ve been improving the car each session since we’ve been here. The car is working pretty well. The race is entirely different than practice and qualifying. We have a strong team and I think that pays at the end of the race. We’ll be in good shape on Saturday afternoon.”

CORE is Bringing the Heat to Texas

ROCK HILL, S.C. (May 2, 2017) – Days after competing in the opening round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross GRC Lites Championship, CORE autosport is back on the road for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will go from dirt and air time to the immaculate Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

 

CORE has plenty of reasons to look forward to COTA: it’s finished on the podium there in all of its visits with the Prototype Challenge car, including a win in 2015. This year, however, the team takes its GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R for its first crack at the 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course, which hosts the Formula 1 US Grand Prix in October.

 

Traditionally, IMSA has raced at COTA in September, but this year sees the first time the race is held in the spring. Though temperatures are not expected to be as brutal as September, COTA will still be one of the hottest races on the calendar.

 

 

Noteworthy:

  • Thursday, May 5 is Jon Bennett’s birthday.
  • Bennett and Colin Braun’s PC win at COTA in 2015 sealed its fifth-straight PC Championship.
  • CORE finished second in PC at COTA in 2014 (Bennett & Braun) and third in 2013 (Bennett and Tom Kimber-Smith).
  • CORE did not take part in last year’s race at COTA.
  • Braun grew up in Ovalo, Texas, 3.5 hours from Austin.

 

 

 

“We’re looking to put together our first mistake-free event of the season. We’ve had several snafus that hurt our performance over the course of the season. We’re looking forward to what our performance will be when we can accomplish a typical CORE weekend, which is normally mistake-free.

 

“We’re pretty well suited for our first hot race of the season. We have good systems to keep the driver cool. More importantly, in some ways, COTA is our first traditional road circuit with the Porsche. It’s not an oval converted for road racing, it’s not an old airport, and it’s not a street course. We’re looking forward to getting the Porsche onto a more conventional road circuit.

 

“I like COTA because it’s used for Formula 1, so it has generous amounts of runoff and I like to take risks and I think in the process learn the limits of the race car without putting the equipment in jeopardy. I’m looking forward to that aspect of COTA; it allows you to hang the car out on the edge without big mechanical risks.”
– JON BENNETT

 

 

 

 

“COTA is a pretty unique place. It’s a very exciting, cool track, since it’s a Formula 1 track. It’s got a lot of first-gear hairpins, it’s got an interesting section of Esses and a really long right-hand corner. It has a lot of unique things that mix together for a track that doesn’t have a lot of flow, but certainly presents a lot of challenges and is fun in that aspect.

 

“At a place like COTA, with the surface that they have, tire wear isn’t too big of a concern. For us, it’s going to be different since we’re going earlier in the year. We’re used to seeing really high track temperatures and high ambient temps. If we were going back in the PC car, we’d probably take a different approach than previous years, but we’re going in a car that we’ve never run there, so we don’t know any better.

 

“If you look on paper at the performance Mercedes has had over the first three races, those would have to be the cars to beat. They’ve had good pace and been very dominant. Those were a completely different set of tracks though and COTA is going to be interesting one. It has very long straightaways and very long braking zones. It has a lot of places where putting the power down is going to be important and I think those areas are where the Porsche is going to be very strong.

 

“Jon and I have both had success at COTA and locked up PC championships there, so I feel like we have a lot of confidence about that circuit. We’re learning every time we go racing with this car. This is the fourth different race track we’ve been to now, so we’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we were. Jon and the whole team have done an amazing job, building on everything through the season, so I’m excited to get things kicked off at COTA.”
– COLIN BRAUN

 

 

Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown | May 4 – 6

Track Length: 3.4 miles, 20 turns

Race Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Thursday, May 4

10:45am – 11:45am: Practice #1 (All Classes)

3:55pm – 4:55pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

 

Friday, May 5

9:55am – 10:55am: Practice #3 (All Classes)

1:05pm – 1:20pm: Qualifying (GTD Class)

 

Saturday, May 6

9:40am – 10:00am: Warm Up (All Classes)

11:45am – 12:30pm: Driver Autograph Session

2:35pm – 5:15pm: Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Friday, May 5

12:55pm – 2:35pm: IMSA.com

Race U.S.:

Saturday, May 6

7:00pm – 10:00pm: FS1

LIVE Race International:

2:35pm – 5:15pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com

CORE Narrowly Misses GRC Podium in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 1, 2017) – CORE autosport narrowly missed out on a podium finish in the opening round of the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season. In the end Colin Braun came away with a fourth-place and Jon Bennett earned a seventh-place result in their first GRC Lites race of the year.

 

Memphis International Raceway is a paved 3/4-mile oval, previously used for NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. The GRC course used the entire oval, except for the Turn Three area, plus a good portion of the paved infield, including a quarter-mile section covered in dirt. With its extensive road racing experience and Braun’s Xfinity Series appearance at Memphis International Raceway in 2007, CORE was optimistic it would have an edge on its GRC Lites competition.

 

That looked to be the case early in practice and qualifying rounds, but the rest of the 11-car field quickly adjusted to the learning curve. Bennett and Braun were in for some stiff competition in the heat races.

 

Braun was able to pick up his first heat race win and after finishing third in the Semi-Final, earned a spot in the Final without having to first make it through the LCQ. Bennett was not as lucky, but was able to finish second in the LCQ, which punched his ticket to the Final as well.

 

Two cars were served penalties on the opening lap of the 10-lap Final, which immediately promoted Bennett to eighth and Braun to fourth.

 

Driving the No. 56 Composite Resources/ORECA Gear GRC Lites, Braun did an expert job reeling in the No. 44 of Cyril Brooks. Braun used his Joker Lap with two laps to go to pass Brooks for third, but Brooks did the same thing right back on the final lap to take back the final podium spot. Braun finished fourth, while Bennett picked up one additional spot in his No. 54 Composite Resources/ORECA Gear GRC Lites car to finish seventh. This matches Bennett’s best GRC finish to date.

 

“I want to thank everyone on the team for the hard work leading up to the race and for the long nights due to late parts delivery,” GRC Program Manager Brian Colangelo said. “We’ve made significant gains as a team and with the cars as a result of everyone’s efforts. Jon and Colin drove well and we feel confident we are close to the top step of the podium, even with the stacked GRC Lites field.”

 

The next stop for CORE on the GRC tour is Louisville, Kentucky, May 21. But first, Bennett and Braun will head to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, May 4 – 6.

 

 

 

JON BENNETT

No. 54 Composite Resources/ORECA Gear GRC Lites

“I would say the layout in general was good, but there’s certain aspects of converting a race track to GRC course that can be complex. There was trouble with some of the pavement in the infield that wasn’t meant to be used as race track. Our cars and the Supercars really broke up the surface quite a bit. Parts of it were a little bit like Baja. I didn’t really mind that much, but it was really hard on equipment.

 

“The dirt section after the ramp was mixture of gravel and sand. For the first half of the event it got very rutted. I think from Friday to Saturday they came up with something to give that sand and gravel some more body. The dirt section wasn’t too bad Saturday.

 

“The LCQ went fairly smoothly. I lead every lap except the last lap, but two cars transfer, so we went to the Final. I had a great start and was moving through traffic pretty well. I’d say that our cars lacked a little bit of top speed and that hurt us a little bit. I ran a clean, mostly mistake-free race. I was able to move up a bit through attrition.

 

“I’d say that as a team, this was probably our best executed GRC event. Some of the work that we did in the off-season has made the cars better handling and we’ve put together a really solid crew that can get the job done in a matter of minutes. I think we’re steadily making progress, but the competition is tight and all the cars are really dialed in.”

 

 

COLIN BRAUN

No. 56 Composite Resources/ORECA Gear GRC Lites

“The track itself was a great concept, I think, but the layout made it incredibly hard to pass. The dirt section was very loose like kitty litter. That dirt ended up getting dragged all around the asphalt surface and so you had one clear lane, which is where everyone drove and that made it hard to pass. It made the starts really important. The way the Joker Lane was configured didn’t really make it a huge gain either. It was important to get a good start and from there it was all about track position.

 

“We had very rutted out and bumpy dirt section. There were quite a few cars, us included, who hit those bumps the wrong way and ended up bending bumpers underneath the suspension. The CORE guys had to work extra hard to fix these cars up.

 

“We had a good, fast car and got our first heat win. They have a new format this year for how points are accumulated and they’ve added semi-finals too. It was interesting to see how it played out. We were able to get a heat win, but we ended up lining up fifth for the Final. It wasn’t where we wanted to start considering how important track position was. We had a really fast car all weekend, we just never really had good track position in the Final. With the track being so hard to pass, it kind of kept you stuck where you were.

 

“For the Final, the top four cars were all nose-to-tail for the whole race. We had the Joker in our pocket. We thought we’d do it one lap ahead of Brooks and put in a good lap and put in a gap, so that when he Jokered, we’d still be in front and in third. The cars were so competitive and so close that we Jokered and popped ahead of him, but on the final lap, he Jokered and got right back to the position where he was before.

 

“I feel like we made some good improvements. We’ve finished on the podium and had good results before, but I feel like this time, we had better pace to the front-runners. We still have some work to do, but I feel like we’re much closer to getting our first Final win. We’ve made great strides. Jon showed good pace and had good results. I feel like as a team, we’re getting closer to where we need to be. We’ll keep working and keep our heads down.”

Second Podium for New Porsche 911 RSR

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2017)  At the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the new Porsche 911 RSR claimed its second podium result at its third race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. On the spectacular city course in the port district, where the pits are just a stone’s throw away from where the docked ocean-liner giant “Queen Mary” lies anchored, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France) secured third place on Saturday with the No. 912 car. In the sister 510 hp 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, last year’s winner Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) finished sixth.

The race set against a postcard-perfect backdrop of sun, sea and palms is regarded as the American equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix for good reason. Despite the short race duration of just 100 minutes, the completely walled and fenced 1.968-mile street circuit demands everything from the drivers, and on the grandstands and balconies of high-rise apartments, keen sports car fans mingle with famous stars. The simple reason for the high number of prominent celebrities is that Hollywood is virtually just around the corner.

The race was as spectacular as the backdrop. After just one lap, the leading trio in the particularly competitive GTLM class clashed – which opened the door for Laurens Vanthoor. Taking up the race from the fourth grid spot, the Belgian, who was the winner of the 2016 Macau Grand Prix is no stranger to narrow city circuits, moved into the lead. Vanthoor held onto the top spot for almost 45 minutes until the first pit stop – no other GTLM vehicle stayed out on the track as long without a tire change. It was only while handing the 911 RSR off to Kévin Estre that the position was lost. Running in fifth place, the Frenchman then took up the chase again. In the final laps of a race that had seen no less than five safety car phases, events turned truly dramatic: Kévin Estre advanced to fourth place and kept his cool in the hairpin just before the finish line: In stop-and-go traffic he overtook another competitor in the last seconds to secure the second podium result for Porsche in North America’s premier racing series.

In the second 911 RSR with the starting number 911, two former Long Beach winners had to line up at the back of the field; Patrick Pilet (2016) and Dirk Werner (2015) were unable to take part in the qualifying session due to an accident during practice and were therefore relegated to the very back of the 35-strong field. Putting in a spirited drive, Patrick Pilet ploughed his way through the pack and as he came into the pits he was running in eighth position. Dirk Werner gained another four places during his stint and was even looking good for a podium spot. However, a drive-through penalty imposed by the stewards of the meeting for making contact with another competitor put a sudden halt to his charge.

Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on May 6 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “It takes a while to digest such a race. It was turbulent and difficult to keep oversight. Finishing in third place at the end was pretty good. Still, you’re left feeling that there could have been more. Thanks to a good strategy and fast pit stops we managed to gain ground, particularly with our number 911 car, which had started from the very back, but because of the drive-through penalty it wasn’t enough for a podium result.”
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “That was a crazy race with highs and lows. We suffered a setback on Friday when our number 911 car that was damaged during practice, but the team worked brilliantly to repair the car in time to compete. The race started turbulently. We were able to take the lead at a relatively early stage, which suited our strategy perfectly. At the next safety car phase we then split the strategy, like most other teams, and that also worked well. As far as the result is concerned, we definitely did the best we could under the circumstances, but no one needs such a rollercoaster of feelings every weekend.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a dramatic race with a lot of incidents. The safety car had to be deployed often. There were a lot of collisions and drive-through penalties, and then the front-runner loses the race in the final lap because several cars didn’t make it around the bend. That’s pretty crazy.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “Patrick got us back in the race with great overtaking maneuvers. We were lucky with the caution phases and by mid-way through the race we were already running in the top four, but then we were handed a drive-through penalty and our fight for a podium spot was over. It’s a shame for the team who worked so hard through the night to repair our 911 RSR. Those guys certainly deserved a better result.”
Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “It was a difficult race. We actually did everything right with our strategy. We were leading, but then lost places due to the many safety car phases. In my first lap I was hit quite hard in the rear. After that I had hardly any downforce, but I kept fighting and was rewarded in the bizarre final lap.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We actually didn’t expect to be on the podium, but we’re happy to take it home. My teammates told me a lot about Long Beach, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite so turbulent here.”

Long Beach Grand Prix 2017

CORE Powers Through Long Beach Grand Prix

The legendary streets of Long Beach put up quite a fight for the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix and the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Amidst the largest Long Beach grid in IMSA history, Jon Bennett and Colin Braun were able to advance one spot from their qualifying position.

Starting from 15th in the GT Daytona class, Bennett took on opening race driving duties in the No. 54 Composite Resources / Flex-Box / Micro WaterJet Porsche 911 GT3 R. Bennett expertly navigated the concrete lined street course and avoided the melees, which brought out a total of four full-course cautions during his stint.

Following his teammate’s lead, Braun took over the wheel nearly halfway through the 100-minute sprint race and executed a solid run. The short race length, copious amounts of traffic and another full-course caution period made it difficult to advance, but Braun picked up one spot before crossing the finish line 14th.

The team now heads to Braun’s home state for the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Show Down at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The event weekend runs May 4 through May 6 and features a two hour and 40 minute race around the 3.4-mile circuit.

Jon Bennett
No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“The starts here at Long Beach are always interesting. That’s the beauty of a street course – the confined space and lots of traffic. Unfortunately, this year the tail of the field got a bit strung out from the start of the field. I was a bit disappointed to not be able to completely pack up before the start of the race. Luckily, a yellow was part of the start too and that basically allowed a second chance at a start.

“On the restart, things were going very well. I was running with the GTD field and I was competitive. I lost a few positions, but in general, we ran with the pace of the GTD field. We were holding our own and waiting for some good pit stops and to get Colin in the car to move up the order. Our program is getting stronger and we’re all getting more familiar with the GT3 R. I’m looking forward to COTA to see if we can move the car up, and I really think we have the potential to do so.”

 

Colin Braun
No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“The biggest challenge today was that it was such a short race. We got trapped a lap down early in the race, and at that point, everyone had made their last pit stops. The pit-stop window for GTD cars is about an hour under green. Once everyone made their pit stops, we were trapped a lap down. It is pretty impossible to get your lap back at that point because there are no more pit stops and you can’t get a wave-by. It’s also tough to balance a street course. You have to race and do your part while respecting the other guys that are on the lead lap and racing for position. We had a pretty decent car in terms of pace there at the end. We had better pace than some of the guys that were running in the top five. It felt like we would have had a top five car had we had some luck and things fall our way. We made it to the end, and we’re definitely improving.”

CORE Charges onto Streets of Long Beach

CORE autosport is ready to attack a temporary street circuit for the first time in a GT Daytona car when it starts 15th in Saturday’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.

This year, IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has brought more cars to Long Beach than ever before. Contributing to the loaded entry list this weekend is the addition of the GTD class to the mix, which boasts 16 entries, including the No. 54 Composite Resources / Flex-Box / Micro WaterJet Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Jon Bennett was designated as the driver for today’s 15-minute qualifying session. Bennett’s fastest lap was a 1:22.837 (85.5mph). This puts the No. 54 15th on the GTD grid for tomorrow’s one-hour and 40-minute race.

Bennett shares the car with Colin Braun. The pair won at Long Beach in 2013, driving in the Prototype Challenge category.

The BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach airs live on FOX, starting at 4pm ET.

 

 

Jon Bennett
No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“The track was a bit better than I expected from this morning.  It took a bit of an adjustment to take advantage of the grip that was developing. I went nearly a second faster than my session this morning. We are getting incrementally better each session, so I’m optimistic. Of course, there’s a lot more that goes on during the race than tenths of seconds. My biggest surprise was how close the GT3-based GTD cars are similar to the GTLM cars. It’s a lot closer than I expected. Hopefully that won’t hinder either class in the race, but this track has certainly brought the two classes close together.”