ELKHART LAKE, Wis (Aug. 10, 2014) – The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase was perhaps the hardest race yet for CORE autosport in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Both Jon Bennett and Colin Braun fell victim to contact on course, which took them out of a podium position at Road America.
Starting from sixth on the Prototype Challenge grid, Bennett held the spot through the first full-course caution and when the team elected not to pit, the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 picked up two positions, re-starting in fifth.
Shortly after the restart, Bennett was spun around in Turn Six by the GTLM class leader. There was no damage and he was able to get the car back under way quickly, losing only one position in the process.
Bennett brought the car into pit lane during the next full-course caution and handed the car over to Braun. The quick work of the CORE pit crew gained the No. 54 three positions on pit lane. Braun dropped a spot on the restart but immediately re-took the position. One lap later, he was up to second.
With an hour and 15 minutes remaining, Braun dropped a spot to third and shortly there after was hit from behind entering Turn 12, known as Canada Corner, which is a 90-degree turn at the end of Road America’s back straightaway.
Braun ricocheted off the wall, tearing off the car’s nose, before jumping the curbing and landing in the gravel trap. The race went full-course yellow but it took the safety team several laps to retrieve Braun from the gravel. He limped the car back to the paddock where the crew immediately began repair work, which included replacing the right front and rear suspension, front nose and rear deck lid.
The No. 54 returned to the circuit eight laps down with less than 40 minutes remaining in the race. Braun brought the car home in eighth, salvaging valuable championship points after a brutal race. The team leaves Road America with a 19-point lead in the PC championship, unofficially.
The team now looks ahead to VIRginia International Raceway where it has scored podium finishes in each of its previous trips, including a win in 2012. The Oak Tree Grand Prix takes place Aug. 23 – 24 and will be broadcast on Sunday, Aug. 24 on FOX Sports 1 at 4pm ET.
“We had a busy start to the weekend with lots of changes to the racecar to make it behave well. By the time the race went green, the car was behaving very well – hats off to the team for that. Like any race, we had a hectic start jostling for position. I basically was trying to keep my nose clean and stay competitive. I’m not sure if we got a little help from a GT car, but I ended up spinning about midway through my stint. I recovered pretty well. By the time Colin got in the car we were in a position to have a good weekend. Unfortunately, Colin was a victim of a mistake by another driver. He ended up crashing with lots of damage. I’m very, very proud of the team for essentially rebuilding the car in about 20 to 25 minutes, which was important for Colin in order to get his points for the race. It wasn’t the race we’d hoped for, but we’re certainly OK and are off to VIR.
“The season is far from over, and we need to stick to our formula. It almost worked well for us this weekend. You just can’t predict what other drivers will do or other situations that are outside your control. We have plenty to learn from the weekend, and now we’re off to the next race.”
– JON BENNETT
“The team was doing a really good job leading up to the accident. We had a reasonable pace. When we changed drivers, we had a great pit stop and passed a few guys, which put us ahead a bit. I thought we were sitting pretty for the rest of the race, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Shortly after I got in the car, I went down into Canada Corner and was on the inside passing a GT car. I think Ostella in the No. 38 missed his brake marker and just ran plum into the back of us, which spun us out. From there, it was just about making the repairs so that we could return to track to get in time and earn championship points. It was a bummer to get cleaned out like that, but I guess that’s how it goes.”
“We’ve just got to put this behind us and look forward to the rest of the season.”
– COLIN BRAUN