After clinching the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge Driver’s Championship for Jon Bennett and Colin Braun at Circuit of the Americas, CORE autosport now heads to Road Atlanta in the hopes of capturing its fourth-straight team title.
Since CORE autosport first entered the PC class in 2011, it has claimed the team championship every year. The first three came in the American Le Mans Series. Now, the team hopes to earn title number four in the new TUDOR Series.
Though the point margin is 11, earning championship number four will be no easy task, as Petit Le Mans is a brutal 10-hour race around the fast and unforgiving Road Atlanta circuit. Endurance races like Petit require an expanded driver lineup and James Gue will join Bennett and Braun in the driver seat as he did at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen.
In addition to a team championship, CORE autosport, Bennett, Braun and Gue can win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, a special prize for the team that does the best in the season’s four endurance races. CORE and its drivers currently have a 10-point lead. Points are awarded for running order at hour four, eight and the finish.
- CORE autosport has put a PC car on the podium at every Petit Le Mans event its entered.
- CORE won Petit Le Mans in 2012 with Alex Popow, Ryan Dalziel and Mark Wilkins.
- CORE autosport leads the PC Team Championship by 11 points and must finish seventh or higher to claim the 2014 team title regardless of where its competitors finish.
- CORE, Bennett, Braun and Gue have a 10 point lead in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
- Bennett finished third in last year’s Petit Le Mans with Wilkins and Tom Kimber-Smith.
- Braun drove CORE’s No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in last year’s race with Patrick Long and Michael Christensen, finishing eighth.
“Our focus will be on winning Petit Le Mans. Winning every event is always our goal, but we will adjust our risk management slightly to respect our larger mission. Every time our racecar takes the green flag there are factors outside our control, so it’s comforting to know that our driver’s championship is safe from the unexpected at Petit Le Mans. To earn a fourth team championship would be a fitting tribute to the hard work and dedication of our CORE autosport team. There is no way to fully thank them for their long hours. I know they enjoy winning as much as Colin and I.
“I have a lot of laps at Road Atlanta. In fact, Road Atlanta was the first race circuit I drove when I started racing in 1992. My favorite part of Road Atlanta is the braking zone for Turn 10a. The PC car has breathtaking stopping skills.
“I’m a night owl anyway, so I’m looking forward to racing at night. In some ways, there is a calm in the darkness once you establish your rhythm.”
“Winning the driver’s championship takes a little bit of worry away. We’re in a sport where there are a lot of things outside your control. For us to have that locked up is one last item to accomplish when we get to Petit.
“We’re just going to go out and drive. We’ve operated under that pretense all season. This group only knows one way to race; you’ve got to be fast, but you’ve got to be smart and be there at the end of the race. That applies if you want to win races or championships.
“The biggest thing we’re going to struggle with at Road Atlanta is traffic. It’s going to be busy with 54 cars, especially with the way that track flows and works. It’s got some really high-speed corners, but it’s also got some narrow, impossible to pass sections of the race track as well. If you get stuck behind a GTD car in the downhill Esses, you’re going to have to just sit there and wait. It’s going to be wild!”
“I think Colin, Jon and myself work well together because we each understand our role in the team and we focus on doing the best job we can on our specific tasks. It’s a great team environment that really helps get the best out of the drivers.
“Being a third driver puts you in a unique and difficult position. Jon and Colin are the regulars so it can throw off the rhythm of the weekend when you add another driver in because practice time has to split across three drivers. My objective is to get up to speed as quick as possible and play a supporting role in the race by keeping the car out of trouble and handing it back over to Colin and Jon up the front.
“So far it’s been a dream season with the three big wins; however I don’t feel any added pressure, to me it’s just another race and I’m going into this race the same way I approached any of the other races this year. If we execute and do the job we are capable of doing all those other things will come. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the end result and that’s when problems come up.”