ROCK HILL, S.C. (March 15, 2016) – Defending Prototype Challenge champions CORE autosport are on a mission to rebound at Sebring International Raceway after exiting the season opener at Daytona early.
CORE has experienced plenty of success at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida, including a second-place finish last year and wins in 2012 and 2014.
This week, CORE and the rest of the PC teams come into Sebring with an engine and electronics upgrade. The Chevrolet LS3 engine is now 25lbs lighter thanks to a new crank and rod, while the car’s electronics are now controlled via a Motec system that provides predictive lap times, live telemetry and traction control.
All these enhancements will serve Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and Mark Wilkins well on the notoriously challenging 3.4-mile Sebring circuit, which is partially made up of old concrete airport runways. The multiple surfaces and bumps make the track very physically demanding on the drivers.
• CORE autosport has finished on the Sebring podium six times including wins in 2012 and 2014.
• Bennett has made five starts at Sebring, finishing on the podium in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
• Braun has made six starts at Sebring, finishing on the podium in 2012 and 2014. He was the PC polesitter in 2013.
• Wilkins has made two starts at Sebring and won in his debut in 2010. Jeff Braun was the engineer for that victory.
• CORE autosport welcomes new associate sponsor Micro Waterjet LLC, a world leader in contract manufacturing of precision components using proprietary cutting technology. Their micron-precise process harnesses the power of a high-pressure stream of water applied with finer-than-pinpoint accuracy.
“I am extremely happy with our new package on the PC cars. The improvements will bring our class into alignment with the other classes in the WeatherTech Championship. While I felt the PC car was certainly drivable in its previous configuration, it was not compatible with the other traction control assisted classes on cold tires or in the rain. The new Motec electronics and real-time telemetry will certainly be appreciated as the season progresses.
“Traction control is a new experience for me. I had a short exposure to our new system during its development phase at the last Sebring test. Drake DeVore from Motec did an amazing job fine-tuning the parameters to match the PC car. I began to trust the new system toward the end of our test. I am sure that a new driving style will emerge and some hard wired ‘catch’ reflexes will need to be suppressed. I am looking forward to adapting to this new technology.
“Predictive lap times can be a double-edged sword depending on the driver’s personality. I have lived without predictive lap times since I left IMSA Lites. For me, predictive lap times can be a distraction. It takes some discipline to use predictive lap times and not be taunted into over driving.
“Certainly, we will match the traffic much better on cold tires and in the rain. In normal competition, the new enhancements will make the PC car a bit faster and easier to drive quickly. How each team and driver adapts over the next few races will be interesting to watch.”
– Jon Bennett
“We have a lot of different bits on the car from an electronics standpoint and the engine package has changed a bit. We spent some time doing a bit of development work at the winter test and we’re really excited about the new stuff. It’s a great step forward for the car and maybe it’ll re-excite people about the class.
“I know myself, Jon and Mark all enjoy driving at Sebring. I think the bumps present a good challenge and are what makes Sebring fun and interesting. The track surface is what makes it an iconic and historic track; it’s what makes Sebring, Sebring.
“How the traction control will handle the bumpiness is something we’re still as a team and as a class trying to understand. I don’t think we know quite enough about that aspect of it yet. It should make it easier not to spin the tires over the bumps, which will be helpful, especially on cold tires.
“I think traffic will be a bit easier too with the traction control and will make it easier for the gentlemen drivers; it’ll help those guys out who struggle with the torque these cars make and on cold tires and restarts. It’s a good step foreword for the series, because up to now we’ve been the only class without traction control, which makes those situations extremely challenging.”
– Colin Braun
“After Daytona, I was very excited to experience the changes to the PC car for Sebring. The test allowed us some time to get acquainted with all of the changes and I think they were all positives. The addition of the Motec data system really upgrades the whole electronics package in the car. More data for the drivers to review, a cleaner and crisper display and obviously the addition of traction control is a functional improvement to the car.
“With the new upgrades, the car seemed pretty lively overall. With a bit more of a racier feel. I think it will be a bit easier to get through traffic. Obviously, the addition of traction control may help in this area as well, especially in less than ideal track conditions. As always, using the aero capabilities of the PC and keeping the momentum up is key to navigating slower traffic.
“I think the approach to managing a 12-hour is a touch different than a 24 simply due to the race length. I always find the 12-hour is more intense; perhaps it’s the track being more demanding and less forgiving overall than Daytona. If you fall behind in a 12-hour, it’s harder to make it back up with less time on the clock.”
– Mark Wilkins