First class pit stops and strategy helped CORE autosport earn its third Prototype Challenge victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Jon Bennett and Colin Braun made their way from the back of the grid to the top step of the podium in the latest round of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.
IMSA rules require the qualifying driver to start the car in the race. Although Braun qualified the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 on pole, the team’s race plan was for Bennett to start the race. Changing its starting driver meant CORE needed to start from the back of the Prototype field.
Bennett had no problem with this hurdle, especially at one of his favorite tracks. He used the right balance of aggression and caution to move from seventh to second in his stint, which included an early pit stop for a splash of fuel.
When the No. 54 returned to the track with Braun at the wheel, it was fourth. Steadily, the remaining three cars ahead of Braun needed to pit and none of them could do it faster than CORE. Each competitor came out behind Braun. When he finally took over the lead it was by eight seconds. The gap hovered there for the remaining 20 minutes of the two-hour and 40-minute race.
A full-course caution was issued with less than two minutes remaining, forcing the race to end under yellow. This sealed CORE’s victory, its second of the 2016 season and third at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It was a well-deserved reward for the team, who had to rebuild the car in only a day after a rough race at Watkins Glen.
CORE autosport has a week off before it goes to Lime Rock Park, July 22 – 23, for the Northeast Grand Prix. It will air live on FOX, Saturday, July 23, at 3pm ET.
“In my stomach, I knew it was going to be a good race. It’s been a trying couple of races lately, and we’ve had to work through some technical problems. Personally, I think the events that start off a little difficult always have a good ending.
“My hats off to the team, no matter how difficult things get, they try harder. Their pits stops during the race were key to our success. Colin and I leap-frogged some competitors with excellent pit work. It’s the way I like it; it was an absolute team-effort win. Colin was flawless in the car, I held up my end, and we had an awesome team supporting us.
“Colin and I talk about this track often for months ahead of time. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a very, very fast track, and Colin and I both enjoy going fast. Maybe it’s your outlook going into a race – I expect to do well here. And, I expect to do well in Lime Rock.”
– JON BENNETT
“The crew guys did an amazing job. My dad [team Engineer Jeff Braun] and Colin Mason called a great strategy that didn’t really unfold until the last little bit of the race. We found ourselves with a really nice lead and a big chunk of that was thanks to great stops on pit road. Our guys absolutely killed it. We had good in- and out-laps. Jon did a great job keeping the car right in the mix. The whole strategy sort of hinged around Jon’s performance in the car, and he did a really good job keeping it where we needed to, to do our strategy. It was fantastic!
“I love this place. In years past, we really seemed to get into the swing of it in the middle of the summer and find ourselves right in the mix. I’m really hoping to be able to do that again. This is a tough track, but at the same time, it’s a place where you got to have a lot of guts to make some passes but a lot of patience to know where not to. I think it plays to Jon’s strengths and mine. We’re smart when we have to be smart and absolutely on the ragged edge when we have to be.”
– COLIN BRAUN