DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2016) – The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season held its official preview for the 2016 season with the annual Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway. CORE autosport took part in three days of IMSA-sanctioned testing and ended up with the second-fastest Prototype Challenge time of the event.
Roar Before the 24 is a chance for all IMSA teams to prepare for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 28 – 31. CORE has finished first and second in it’s previous two attempts at the Rolex 24, but there is always more to learn and perfect in endurance racing. This includes developing team chemistry with new engineer Jeff Braun and new driver Martin Plowman, who join CORE’s traditional lineup of Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and Mark Wilkinson.
All four drivers got plenty of time behind the wheel of the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09. It was Braun who set the team’s fastest lap of the event, a 1:42.423, during the very first session of the test on Friday morning. The time ended up being just 0.305-second shy of the quickest PC time overall.
Roar Before the 24 isn’t about posting the fastest time however, it’s about getting your car setup and crew procedures on point for the grueling 24-hour race at Daytona. CORE autosport has won the legendary race once and is focused on doing it again.
Television broadcast details for the Rolex 24 at Daytona are forthcoming, but IMSA.com will provide live timing and in-car cameras throughout the event, plus commentary from IMSA Radio.
“Testing at the Roar was a good follow-up to our testing here in November. It gives us an opportunity to work as a team; now with our new engineering team, our new driver Martin Plowman and welcoming back Mark Wilkins. It’s good to have the band back together and be polishing small adjustments to the car. Things look really good for a successful Rolex 24.
“It was nice to see the improvements around the Daytona facility, but the track is very similar to what it’s been in the past and what is was like in November.”
– JON BENNETT
“I think we had a really good three-day test. We accomplished a lot and went through our whole plan. Mark, Martin, Jon and myself all got a lot of time in the car. I feel like it was our normal test plan, we worked through our normal procedures and never really focused on being the fastest, just focused on what we’ll need to do to win the race.
“We’ve run a lot of laps at Daytona. We’ve been at the Roar for the last couple of years, so we all know what it’s about. The success that we’ve had at Daytona in the past leads us to believe we know what we need to have in the Roar to be fast in the race.”
– COLIN BRAUN
“I think it was a dream start working with CORE. It was a breath of fresh air to come into a team as professional as CORE and be able to focus on my own performance and trying to fit in. What I really like is the chemistry within the whole team is a winning mentality. It’s not work to the mechanics, they’re all here because they’re passionate about racing and passionate about winning and that shows in their performance.
“I think last July was the last time I sat in any sort of PC car. It took two or three laps to knock the rust off and then it felt like home. I’m not ever going to be happy with the speed, you always want to be faster, but looking at where we are for race pace, I think we’re all very happy and we just need to make sure we do well in race.”
– MARTIN PLOWMAN
“It’s great to be back with CORE; with five championships, there’s no better place to be. It’s a great group of people. They’re very professional and everyone knows their job and has respect for what each of us can bring to the table. You just slot in and get back to it. It takes a bit of time to get reacquainted with the car, but as expected, Jeff Braun had a really good test plan for us. We ran through everything we needed to this weekend and we’re ready to go racing.
“Martin is great. We couldn’t ask for a better driver lineup. His resume speaks for itself. Each driver has the right approach and right mentality and knows what to ask for, how to optimize the car and what they need to communicate to Jeff to get the most out of the car. It makes our job fairly easy. We just have to hit our marks, stay out of trouble and make smart decisions on track.”
– MARK WILKINS
Members of the CORE autosport team came into Daytona with heavy hearts this week after the passing of team member, Laurent Coppee, the weekend prior. Coppee was an invaluable asset to the Porsche North America team as a data engineer on the No. 912 car since the team formed in 2014. Our condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.