Four-time Prototype Challenge Champions CORE autosport will kick off its 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar season and a drive for five with ‘Roar Before the 24’ testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Reigning PC Driver Champions Jon Bennett and Colin Braun return for their fourth season as co-drivers in the No. 54 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09.
Also back in the driver seat for CORE are James Gue who will join the lineup for all Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races and Mark Wilkins, who completes the team’s Rolex 24 at Daytona lineup. This replicates CORE’s 2014 Daytona-winning lineup.
‘Roar Before the 24’ is IMSA’s official three-day test for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. All teams have eight track sessions available from Friday, Jan. 9 to Sunday, Jan. 11, including one night session. CORE then has a short week and a half to prepare for the legendary 24-hour endurance classic.
- 2015 marks CORE’s sixth season of professional sportscar racing
- In addition to winning the PC team and driver championship in 2014, CORE won the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup in 2014.
- Together Jon Bennett and Colin Braun have amassed nine PC-class victories
- Daytona is now the only combined road course / oval on the TUDOR schedule.
- Braun will appear on FOX35’s Good Morning Orlando, Thursday, Jan. 8
“I believe winning races, especially long endurance races, involves much more than outright speed. Colin, James, Mark, and myself have mutual respect for what each of us brings to the effort. We have good chemistry with each other and the entire team. We take care of each other and we all look after the car. We arrive fit and fresh and we all know everything else is outside our control. Each time we perform together, the bond gets stronger and our performance follows,
“Last year CORE had many new challenges to overcome. The Rolex 24 was our team’s first 24 hour race and our only chance to make a good first impression with our new factory racing partner, Porsche. The result was stunning with a double victory for our PC and GTLM cars. This day may never be repeated and that’s okay. Our mission and process for the 2015 race will be the same as last year. Like all events, we control the process and must adapt to circumstances beyond our control. There is a sense of calm in this approach.
“The key to a successful test is successful testing. Successful testing is not a straightforward as it seems. We will come to the Roar with a plan to gather the most useful experience possible. We are expecting new regulations that will dramatically change the dynamics of our PC car. We hope to create a blueprint for tuning our race car considering these new regulations
“The short off season is a blessing and a curse. It’s a great time to recharge the batteries and polish up the physical training. But, honestly, I miss the race car after about a week. Colin and I spend quite a bit of time karting and that helps fill the void a bit.”
– Jon Bennett
“Certainly, having the same group of drivers, engineers and mechanics together for such a long time, I think that, that is one of the strengths of our team; everyone’s ability to know their role and position and do their job and not have a lot of fuss.
“I’m looking forward to the Roar test. We have a lot of test items we want to run through and things the series has come up with, some new potential rules and things to try. I’m not clear on what they’re going to land on for the race, but I think they’ve got some different things they’d like to see us try. We’ll do some of those and see what works and try to get everyone some seat time and get comfortable, because when it comes to the actual race weekend it seems like you hardly get any practice time with all the cars and the red flags. You have to get the bulk of your work done at the Roar before you get to the race.”
– Colin Braun
“I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the CORE autosport team. It was certainly the most successful year of racing I have had. Winning Daytona, Sebring, Watkins and the NAEC Championship while helping Jon and Colin win the PC Championship was a dream season.
“I think CORE’s success can be attributed to all the guys back at the shop and engineering support. The level of detail and level of preparation is second to none and I think it is especially relevant for the longer races.
“To return to Daytona with the same winning lineup is ideal. The 24-hour race is so difficult to win, so if you can keep the continuity and not have any added variables it’s a big plus. It’s rare that you get four drivers that really work well together; so to keep the team together heading back to Daytona gives everyone confidence.
“The Roar test is going to be really important this year as the series has recently announced a number of rules changes for the PC class. So, it will be important for us to evaluate the effects the changes have.”
– James Gue
“I’m extremely excited to be back with my Rolex 24 champions! Last year was a dream come true for me and I can’t wait to work towards a repeat! It’s a real honor to be racing with Jon, Colin and James. These guys do such a great job behind the wheel. The CORE guys build an awesome car and the passion they put into their work is inspiring.
“I imagine it will take me a few laps to get reacquainted with the PC car because it’s a fair bit different than what I have been driving. That being said, I love PC and with the help of my teammates and a few laps at the test, I’ll be in good shape!
“Driving an open top car at Daytona is pretty wild. When we catch the GT cars we get some buffeting and it takes some getting use to that turbulence. Nothing like 180 plus miles an hour without a roof!
“My main focus at the test will be to get myself up to speed quickly while working with my teammates to find the best race setup possible. We have a slightly modified rule structure for the class, so we need to feel that out and the test is the best opportunity to do that.”
– Mark Wilkins
SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
Friday, January 9
10:20am – 12:05pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)
2:55pm – 5:25pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)
Saturday, January 10
9:00am – 10:45am: Practice #3 (All Classes)
1:05pm – 2:35pm: Practice #4 (All Classes)
4:15pm – 5:15pm: Practice #5 (All Classes)
6:45pm – 8:15pm: Practice #6 (All Classes)
Sunday, January 11
10:20am – 12:05pm: Practice #7 (All Classes)
2:40pm – 3:40pm: Practice #8 (All Classes)