DETROIT, Mich. (June 4, 2016) – CORE autosport earned its second-straight WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium on the streets of Detroit, finishing second in the Chevrolet Sports Car Challenge.
Jon Bennett was due to start fifth, but a missing car on the grid promoted the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 to fourth before the green flag. When it did, Bennett was cool and composed, holding his ground through the tight, concrete-lined street course. He briefly made his way up to third, but was back to fourth when it came time to pit.
CORE was one of the first Prototype Challenge teams to pit and it was a lightning quick stop. Colin Braun took over the driver’s seat and returned to the track just before a full-course caution. After the remaining PC teams pitted and the pass around procedures were complete, Braun was sitting in second place.
On the restart, Braun got around the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and took over the PC lead.
A series of short full-course yellow periods followed. On each restart, Braun was able to pull out a comfortable gap, that was then erased a few laps later with the next full-course caution. When green flag racing returned for the final 25 minutes of the race, the gap to the new second-place car—the No. 8 Starworks Motorsports entry—began to close.
Driver Renger Van Der Zande had Braun in his sights, but as the two began to work their way through slower GTD traffic, it appeared Braun had the edge. With two laps to go, Braun attempted a pass through the Turn Seven, Eight and Nine complex. He got too far offline and spun. He was able to return to the circuit quickly, but it allowed Van Der Zande to get by and take the win. Braun crossed the finish line in second.
The podium finish is CORE’s second-straight; the team finished third at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.
CORE now has a month off, before returning to the race track, July 1 – 3, at Watkins Glen International.
“During my stint I was pushing really hard and watching the race develop. I was running laps close to my qualifying times. It was all pretty clean and uneventful stint. Then, the strategy started to unveil itself.
“We had a super fast pit stop and driver exchange. The crew did an excellent job during the pit stop and Colin was just magic during his first stint. We just about won the race! My hat’s off to the team and a super driver for Colin. It’s definitely a positive step in the championship and now we look forward to Watkins Glen.”
– Jon Bennett
“I had to push pretty hard, early, because I felt like we had a good car on the restarts. Once I passed Tom [Kimber-Smith], I was trying to keep some of the prototype cars behind me and Renger [Van Der Zande] and I had built a little bit of a gap.
“We’d get a yellow and I’d pull a little bit of a gap, over and over. Each time we had a restart, I could get going for a lap or two, but I don’t think we had the long-run pace today. Unfortunately, the end was the longest green flag run we had.
“Things started to get tight, but then we hit traffic and I was able to keep a car between us through traffic. I went around the outside of a BMW in the triple-left, where I’d been passing cars all weekend. I didn’t expect to half spin out. He moved a little to the right and I moved a little to the right to give him some room and I got off in the marbles and that was that. It doesn’t take much to make it work versus not work and I had been able to make it work up until that moment. I’m disappointed, but that’s racing and part of being on the limit.”
– Colin Braun