All posts in “Daytona”

911 RSR Takes Second Place in Race Debut

At the 24 Hours of Daytona, Porsche factory drivers Patrick Pilet, Fred Makowiecki and Dirk Werner secured second place with the 911 RSR for the Porsche GT Team factory squad. After 634 laps on the demanding Daytona International Speedway, they were just 2.988 seconds shy of claiming victory.

 

The 55th running of the Daytona 24-hour race proved tremendously challenging for drivers and teams, especially during Saturday night with steady rain and unusually cool temperatures. The race was repeatedly interrupted by safety car phases after many pilots lost control of their vehicles on the rain-soaked course and ended up trackside.

 

The longest of the 21 safety car phases lasted over two hours. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the race director made the decision for safety reasons due to the flooding on the racetrack. More than two hours – even the safety car ran out of fuel.

 

In the first race hours on the storied racetrack featuring two fast banked corners and a twisty infield, the 510 hp 911 RSR racers, designed from scratch by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach, lost time and positions due to six unscheduled tire changes. After the problem with the right front tires was solved by further optimizing the setup, both 911 RSR began to re-establish their rhythm. When heavier rain made conditions even more difficult, they fought their way to the top of the GTLM class and led the field over many laps on the 5.729-kilometre-long speedway.

 

Sports car fans did not let the bad weather spoil their fun and witnessed breathtaking fights for positions over the entire race distance, with constantly changing cars in the lead.

 

The race showed that the level of competition in the GTLM class is enormous. None of the vehicles of the five automobile manufacturers contesting this category could build a convincing lead over the course of the race. When the sun came up on Sunday, the field was as close as it had been the night before. Both 911 RSR had turned consistently fast laps to secure a good starting position, only to have an unscheduled pit stop for repairs on the right front suspension throw the No. 912 vehicle out of contention for a podium spot. Kévin Estre (France), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Richard Lietz (Austria) ultimately took the flag in sixth place.

 

However, their team colleague Patrick Pilet crowned his impressive final stint after an ongoing four-way battle with Ford, Ferrari and Chevrolet with a well-deserved second place. Thanks to this result, he secured a good position for Porsche in the North American Endurance Cup, for which the long distance classics of Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans in addition to Daytona count.

 

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “That was an incredible race and a great debut for our new 911 RSR. We were only two seconds off victory after 24 hours, but that doesn’t matter in this case. It was an extremely tough race, a fantastic fight for victory. Despite the bad weather conditions, the fans were treated to everything that makes racing so exciting. Both 911 RSR made it to the finish well and without any real problems.”

 

Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “I’m incredibly proud of my boys. The entire team spent 18 months giving their utmost so that we could tackle this race with a competitive car. Whether in Weissach, with our tire partner Michelin, or with our squad, every single person did everything they could. Today we reaped the rewards for this.

 

“It was an extremely gripping race to the finish. In the beginning we had some slight problems with the tires because we first had to find out where our limit was with the setup for the decisive final phase, but we never gave up and we fought back. The fighting spirit shown in the team made this possible. I’m incredibly proud of our works driver squad. They are our greatest asset. These guys don’t make any mistakes and always deliver top performances.”

 

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a typical Daytona race. I knew that not a lot would happen in the first 20 hours and the decision always goes down to the wire. That’s why I didn’t take too many risks, and didn’t fight for every position come what may. I possibly made some team member nervous by taking this approach, but I knew exactly how things work here. Then during the last two hours I pulled out all stops and squeezed every last ounce out of the 911 RSR. Now I’m pleased. It was the maiden outing for our new car and the one little drawback was that we didn’t win. Still, it was an important step. Now I’m looking forward to Sebring.”

 

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “That was a very emotional race for me; my first as a Porsche works driver. It certainly wasn’t for the fainthearted, particularly in the final phase. Patrick really gave everything he had and a couple of times I thought he might even win, but only a fraction was missing at the flag. Still, it was virtually a perfect race. The team worked really well together and the potential of the new 911 RSR makes us very optimistic. I take my hat off to the people who developed this car.”

 

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #911): “Congratulations to the entire team. What a great start to the season. The time that was invested in developing the new 911 RSR has paid off. The concept is good and it works. Of course not everything ran smoothly today, but we never gave up and we always fought back. One thing is certain – we’re back in the game.”

 

Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “That was a really cool race. Seven cars within ten seconds after 24 hours – you don’t get that very often. We were there when it counted, but not quite enough to have a say in the fight for victory. The whole team did their utmost. Daytona was just the beginning.”

 

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR # 912): “Daytona was my first race for Porsche, my first with the 911 RSR and the first in the USA. Everything actually went well, even though there’s room for improvement as far as the result goes. But I didn’t make any mistakes and that’s important. I wasn’t totally happy with my performance, I can do better, but I still have a bit of time. The car has potential and that makes me optimistic for the rest of the season.”

 

Richard Lietz (911 RSR # 912): “That was a great debut for the new 911 RSR. The car ran almost perfectly. The entire squad again worked together like clockwork. This gives Porsche a great foundation for the rest of the season. Now I’m curious to see how we perform at Sebring.”

CORE Leads Class Before Daytona Exit

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 29, 2017) – In its GT Daytona class debut, CORE autosport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R ran up front for the first half of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, before retiring because of crash damage. The team made it to the halfway point of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener, before contact forced it to take the car back to the garage.

 

Drivers Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, Nic Jönsson and Patrick Long faced adverse conditions in each of their stints. Bennett started the car from 25th followed by Jönsson. When it was Jönsson’s turn to pass the car to Long, a light rain began to fall. The rain continued to vary in intensity, which made tire choice a tricky decision.

 

As the sun went down, temperatures dropped and the rain held steady. Drivers likened the Daytona International Raceway circuit to an ice skating rink, even on wet tires. Despite this, the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R led a total of 22 laps in the highly competitive and 27-car strong GTD field.

 

Almost precisely at the halfway mark, Jönsson was hit from behind entering the Bus Stop. This sent him spinning into the wall. The Porsche sustained heavy damage to both the front and rear of the car. Upon closer inspection in the garage, it was determined the car would be unable to continue. Fortunately, Jönsson was able to walk away from the incident unharmed.

 

The early exit was disappointing for CORE, but nonetheless, the team was buoyed by their performance as rookies in the GTD class. CORE now looks forward to the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 16 – 18, in Sebring, Florida.

 

 

Jon Bennett
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“It was wonderful to start our first race with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Our qualifying wasn’t the greatest, but we had a good place to start the race in terms of being able to see what was going on. We took a conservative approach at the start. Then once things started to settle down after a lap or two, we started chipping away. I ultimately got to a really good pace for myself after the start and kept the car basically on the lead lap. Nic, Pat and Colin did a great job moving us up in the order, in addition to some great strategy by the team. In short order, we were near the top of the list. In fact, when the sun fell, Colin had our car in the lead in our first race and we held that lead for quite a long time.

 

“It just wasn’t meant to be. The rain was quite challenging. The car was new to all of us and it was a bit tricky drive. The conditions were some of the most difficult I’ve seen, especially when Nic took the car after my stint. We were struggling to find balance, but Nic did a great job. In the middle of the night, Nic unfortunately was hit from behind and there was nothing that he could do. He was just a victim of circumstances. We have a bit of a broken racecar, but it’ll get mended up quickly. My hat’s off to the crew for their hard work. We’ll be back strong for Sebring.”

 

Colin Braun
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“It was really treacherous for a big portion of our race out there. Nic did a great job in the car, but unfortunately, he got collected by someone. Nic and Jon both did a great job, and we led some laps and stuck to our plan there.

 

“There was so much mist in the air and everything was so cold. At night, it’s really tough to get the temperature in the tire. I’ve done this 13 years now, and it seems there’s always more heartbreak than there is time on the podium. Now we’ll go on to Sebring and I know that we have a fast car and are capable of running with these guys.”

 

 

Nic Jonsson
Driver: Porsche 911 GT3 R

“We had a very well-balanced car. The CORE guys gave us a really great car along with Porsche. I hadn’t driven the car a lot, so we decided to get going with it and get a good handle on it. We had a good pace and advanced to the lead at one point. The rain made the conditions very difficult, but Colin led for a while and Jon did a great job out there. When I got back in, I just carried on in the same style. We were one of the top three cars out there speed-wise.

 

“In my second stint, I got held up by another GTD car in Turn Six, so I had to check up, but then another car got a good run on me and then a Prototype approached fast from the back. The spotter alerted me, but the next thing I knew, I just got hit really, really hard from behind, right into the wall, several times. It was unfortunate; we had such a great car. A big thanks to Porsche Motorsport North America and CORE for all of their hard work.”

 

 

Patrick Long
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“I ran in mixed conditions – cold weather, rain and dark. That is the sort of trifecta of difficulty for a driver. The team did a great job giving me a versatile setup and keeping me calm. I enjoyed being with these guys. It’s a shame that we’re out early, but they’ll fight back. I look forward to following them the whole season.

 

“Every time I run with CORE autosport, it’s everything you could ever ask for. You have everything at your disposal so that you can put forth the best effort.”

CORE Launches GTD Program at Daytona

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Jan. 24, 2017) – CORE autosport’s first foray into the IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona category will take place this week in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The legendary twice around-the-clock race is the 2017 IMSA season opener.

 

In September of 2016, CORE announced it would move to the GTD category with a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Since then, the team has been hard at work prepping for 2017 and taken part in three IMSA-sanctioned tests at Daytona International Speedway with its new car.

 

Joining full-season drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun for the 24-hour race are sportscar ace Nic Jönsson and Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. The lineup is already quite comfortable together. Jonsson and Braun were teammates in the 2006-2007 GRAND-AM seasons and finished on the podium together at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007. Jönsson and Long drove a Porsche together at the 2006 Petit Le Mans and in 2013 Braun and Long drove a Porsche GT3 RSR together for CORE in two rounds of the American Le Mans Series.

 

The familiarity will serve CORE well as it faces stiff competition in the popular GTD category. The class has 26 entries from nine different manufacturers, some of them with factory backing.

 

Noteworthy:

  • CORE won the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the PC class.
  • Colin Braun made his professional racing debut at Daytona in a Porsche GT3 Cup when he drove for Team 16 in 2005.
  • Between them, the No. 54 driver lineup has 42 starts at the Rolex 24 and three victories.
  • Jon Bennett is a nominee for this year’s RRDC Bob Snodgrass Award, which recognizes exemplary team owners.
  • In addition to its 2014 victory, CORE finished runner-up in PC in 2015. The team retired with engine failure in the 2016 race.
  • Flex-Box once again teams with CORE for the 2017 IMSA season. The partnership is in its fourth year.

 

Jon Bennett
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“The Rolex 24 is a special race and can set the tone for the new season. This year, it’s a special honor to be piloting a Porsche GT3 R. Porsche has a long history of success at Daytona and we look forward to making our mark.

 

“Our new Porsche is quite similar to our Prototype Challenge car in many ways. The GT3 R makes incredible power and has an impressive amount of downforce. The driver change process is new and something we’ve had to reengineer.

 

“We didn’t realize how polished our PC operation was. Our team has come to expect a high level of execution and it has been a huge challenge to develop the same level of detail in 90 days. I am amazed at the dedication and long hours our team has invested to optimize our new Porsche program.”

 

 

Colin Braun
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“We all got along really well at the Roar. I’ve worked with Jon for a long time. Many years ago, back when I first got into DP racing in GRAND-AM, I worked with Nic for quite a long time. Pat and I have worked together on and off during different times in our careers. I knew everyone’s personality and wasn’t surprised that we all got along well.

 

“I did the Rolex 24 at Daytona when I was 16. Here we are now and I think this is my 13th consecutive 24-hour race. Daytona was my first big professional car race. It’s fun to flash back to the first few times I came to the track and was thinking about what an amazing opportunity it was when I was 16. Every time I come to Daytona, it reminds me not to take things for granted and to enjoy the moment, because it’s a cool job.

 

“GTD is such a competitive class and the cars have become so reliable, that it will absolutely be a sprint race in the last couple hours. I’m sure there’s going to be a handful of cars in the thick of the battle and if we do things right, we’ll be in the mix. It’s tough to say who will have an upper hand. We’ve got quite a few new makes in the series and until we get into the last couple hours, we won’t see the true performance of the new cars.”

 

 

Nic Jönsson
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“Everything went really well at the Roar. For me, it was the first time in a Porsche since 2007, so it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a rear-engine car. Pat and I used to be teammates in 2006 with a Porsche. Colin I’ve known since he was eight and I’ve worked with his dad in different programs. Jon was very welcoming as was the rest of the team. They’re very professional.

 

“Daytona is a unique 24-hour race, because it’s lit up like a stadium, so it’s never truly dark. Turns Three and Five are probably the darkest places on the track. I don’t really have a favorite time to be driving; anytime is a good time at Daytona when you’re in a race car!

 

“As far as the GTD class is concerned, I don’t think the talent has ever been this stacked before. There are teams with factory backing, there are teams with very talented driver lineups. The competition is going to be stiffer than ever. It’ll come down to who can keep it on track without making any mistakes or an unscheduled pit stop. CORE is absolutely up to the challenge. I feel very fortunate to be with an organization full of people who want to be here and gel very well together. I think that is a key recipe to success.”

 

 

Patrick Long
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“The talent pool in GTD is stacked. New manufacturers have brought factory driver lineups. There are a ton of entries and lots of big names, so it’s forcing everybody to raise their game.

 

“The 911 GT3 R may not have the quickest top speed, but we think our ability to keep the tires underneath us, to be reliable, and our braking efficiency are advantages. Daytona is known for really demanding braking. The 911 has always been strong at Daytona and I think that is a big reason why.

 

“Colin, Jon and Nic are guys I have known for a long time. I’ve race with them and against. There was no transition time needed. We got right to business. The leadership and structure that Jeff Braun (engineer) asks of his drivers: you get to work right away.

 

“CORE needs no introduction. They are champions and race winners. The team’s infrastructure and crew on the 54 car is still there and it’s been great to be back with the team. I’m looking forward to watching them factor in all season.”

CORE Adds Jonsson, Long to Rolex 24 Lineup

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Dec. 13, 2016) – CORE autosport has completed its driver lineup for the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Patrick Long and Nic Jonsson will join Jon Bennett and Colin Braun in the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R for the team’s first attempt at the 24-hour spectacle in the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona category.

Long is no stranger to CORE autosport, having partnered with both Braun and Tom Kimber-Smith in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for CORE’s 2013 GT effort in the American Le Mans Series. Porsche’s only American factory driver brings with him 14 years of Porsche experience, including a victory and three podiums at the Rolex 24.

For all Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Petit Le Mans), Jonsson will serve as CORE’s third driver. Jonsson has nearly two decades of professional sports car racing under his belt. His resume includes the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Rolex Sports Car Series, American Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship. The Swede has finished on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times and earned class victories at Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

Long and Jonsson will get their first seat time in the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R at the Roar Before the 24, January 6 -8. It will be the final test before the 2017 race season kicks off in earnest with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 26 – 29.

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotWJON BENNETT
No. 54 CORE AUTOSPORT PORSCHE 911 GT3 R

“The first race of the 2017 season with our GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R is going to be super competitive. I’m very fortunate to share the car all season with Colin, who I’ve spent a lot of time with and he knows how to win 24-hour races. Now, to have Pat Long and Nic Jonsson added to our lineup, I feel fortunate to be sharing the car with fast drivers with endurance backgrounds. Pat Long, obviously has extensive experience in our car. Although I don’t know Nic very well, Colin has praised his abilities and I look forward to getting to know him better.”

 

 

16-CORE-CB-HeadshotCOLIN BRAUN
No.
54 CORE AUTOSPORT PORSCHE 911 GT3 R

“I’m excited to have a guy that knows Porsches like Pat does with us. To have someone that knows the car and has so much Rolex 24 experience will be a great asset.

“Driving with Nic again will be great. I’ve known him for a long time and learned a lot from him back when I was driving for Krohn. Much like Pat, he’s done this race a lot and he knows GT3 cars. I think our lineup is a great one. It’s probably a sleeper lineup, because we don’t have any big IndyCar or F1 names, but I think it’s as good as it gets when it comes to sportscar racing.”

 

 

16-core-nj-headshotNIC JONSSON
No. 54 CORE AUTOSPORT PORSCHE 911 GT3 R

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of CORE autosport for the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup in their new Porsche GT3 car. I’m very thankful to both Team Manager Morgan Brady and Team Owner Jon Bennett for having the faith in me to offer this opportunity. CORE has shown ever since they came in to IMSA that they are one of the absolute top teams, winning races and championships in the very competitive Prototype Challenge category. To join an already very successful organization with one of the most iconic motorsports brands in Porsche and with such strong teammates in Jon, Colin and Pat makes me very excited.”

 

 

16-core-pl-headshotPATRICK LONG
No.
54 CORE AUTOSPORT PORSCHE 911 GT3 R

“It’s great to be back with CORE autosport. I feel we have a special past together and rejoining them for their first race in the GT3R has a special connection to the first time we rolled out as a team in the 911 RSR at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2013.

“There is some heavy competition in this year’s GTD class, but I have huge respect and confidence in the program Jon Bennett and Morgan Brady have put together and I know there will be no punches pulled leading up to the start of this year’s Rolex 24.”

CORE Gets First Taste of Porsche 911 GT3R

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2016) – CORE autosport unveiled its new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entry over two days of testing at Daytona International Speedway. Jon Bennett and Colin Braun gave the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3R its first taste of the race track in preparation for the team’s GTD class debut.

 

Under sunny skies, Bennett, Braun and crew logged approximately 250 laps in the IMSA-sanctioned test. Though Braun was slightly familiar with the car already thanks to his driver coaching duties, it was Bennett’s first time behind the wheel of the German-marque’s GT3 racer.

 

Prior to arriving in Daytona Beach, Bennett and Braun had already logged substantial mileage; both took part in the Los Vegas Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon, November 13th.

 

The two days of testing were completed without issue and allowed the team to experiment with the car’s full range of suspension and aerodynamic adjustments. It gave CORE a solid base of knowledge moving into two more IMSA-sanctioned tests at Daytona in December and January.

 

The 2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship official begins with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 26 – 29.

 

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotW“It’s a joy to move onto a new chapter for our race team. For me, I’ve been a fan of Porsche for a long time. I drive a 911 to work. It’s not a big stretch to move to this racecar. We had a very productive test and it bodes well for the season, because there’s a lot of manufacturer interest in the GTD class and it’s going to be a very competitive season.”

 

“Looking ahead to the Rolex 24, I think we’ll experience a change in traffic, having to manage what’s coming up behind us, just as much as what’s ahead. Another big change, going from PC to GTD, will be a lot more direct competition. There’s going to be a good number of GTD cars and they’ll be matched fairly closely.

 

“Obviously, we’ll have to re-invent our driver change. That’s easy enough to do in our shop in Rock Hill. Everything that we’ve learned and polished about getting in and out of the Prototype is out the window, but that’s just part of the new chapter. I’m definitely going to save money on tear-offs this year!”
– Jon Bennett

 

16-CORE-CB-Headshot“I have a bit of seat time in the GT3R. I have a client that I coach in the World Challenge Series. I’ve driven his car a bit, but not on the Continental Tire. I’ve only run those on the PC car so far.

 

“Porsche builds a fantastic car out of the box. This is a car that’s driven a lot of laps in all different forms of racing. For us, this test is about learning the car together as a team. The guys need experience working on the car and we need to learn how to engineer the car. We’ll continue to keep pushing. That’s how CORE autosport works; getting the most out of every procedure and process.

 

“As a driver, the biggest adjustment is going to be the traffic and how the newer Prototypes work. Coming from the PC car where we were the second-quickest class to the slowest class, GTD, is going to be an adjustment.

 

“It’s been a great test and what a great place to drive it for the first time!”
– Colin Braun

 

Podium Finish in GRC Debut for CORE

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 20, 2016) –In its first Red Bull Global Rallycross event, CORE autosport captured a GRC Lites podium finish at Daytona International Speedway.

 

Red Bull GRC events feature two heat races, where drivers battle to confirm a starting spot on the final grid. Drivers outside the top three in the heat races go to a last chance qualifier (LCQ) race to earn the final four spots on the grid.

 

Finishing third in both heat races, despite an accident in practice, Colin Braun automatically qualified for Saturday’s GRC Lites main event in the No 56. Jon Bennett found himself in the LCQ but fought his way to a third-place finish and earned the No. 54 a spot in the final.

 

Saturday’s 10-lap feature was delayed for some time due to thunderstorms moving through the area, but when it did get underway, Braun was embroiled in a fight for the podium with Tanner Whitten and Alejandro Fernandez. At the checkered flag Braun snagged himself a third-place finish in his rallycross debut.

 

Bennett, another rallycross rookie, showed he earned his spot in the final by keeping on pace for a ninth-place result.

 

Sunday proved a bit tougher. Bennett did not advance to the final and Braun finished second in both heat races, but had an accident on the opening lap of the final and soldiered on to finish 10th.

 

The GRC Lites event from Daytona International Speedway will air on NBC Sports Network Wednesday, June 22 at 4:30pm ET.

 

CORE’s next Red Bull GRC target is the July 30 event at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotGRC“Our GRC debut was a really fun experience. Our results are definitely something we can be proud of, especially considering it was our first ever rallycross outing. A podium finish was beyond our expectations. We have a lot to learn still, but we have the right people in place and great partners in ORECA and Sonic Tools. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel again!”

– Jon Bennett

 

16-CORE-CB-HeadshotGRC“GRC was a blast! I am super impressed with the series and the level of competition, but also how quickly these CORE guys put together a strong program. I’m happy I could put it on the podium for them on Saturday. GRC is pretty much a contact sport and sometimes you come out on the bad end of it like we did in the main on Sunday, but we sure showed we had a fast car in the heats and raced well all day! We have a lot to learn, but everyone at CORE is up to the task and we’ll be back and even more prepared at the next one.”

– Colin Braun

CORE autosport Unveils GRC Program Ahead of Daytona Debut

ROCK HILL, S.C. (June 7, 2016) – CORE autosport is ready to make its RedBull Global RallyCross debut at Daytona International Speedway, June 18 – 19, with drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun and with support from SONIC Tools and ORECA.

 

After receiving two RallyCross Lites vehicles in May, CORE has carried out testing and is ready to put both cars into competition at Daytona for Rounds Four and Five of RedBull Global RallyCross. Filling the driver seats will be CORE’s regular Prototype Challenge drivers Bennett and Braun, who will both make their GRC debut.

 

“I’m really looking forward to this new evolution of CORE autosport,” Bennett said. “We’ve got the right people in place and the perfect partners in ORECA and SONIC Tools. Colin and I may not have any rallycross experience, but we’ve tested and had a blast in the GRC Lites cars. It seems fitting for us to make our debut at Daytona, where we’ve achieved a good amount of success in sportscars. We even won the 24 Hours of Daytona in our debut… maybe that’s a tradition we can continue with GRC!”

 

CORE’s expansion into GRC comes with support from two partners: ORECA, which supplies CORE’s GRC program with steering wheels, seats and belts, and SONIC Tools, which CORE will use exclusively for this program.

 

“ORECA is glad and proud to bring support to CORE autosport as part of this exciting project in GRC Lites,” ORECA North America Manager, Renaud Chevalier declared. “GRC Lites is what our products are targeted for: a discipline involving budding young talents in keenly-fought and fascinating races. It’s the ideal challenge to show our products’ quality and we want to thank CORE autosport for trusting us.”

 

“As we continue to expand our motorsports presence, and presence in the USA, there was no better partner to enter into the GRC arena with besides CORE,” stated Colby McConnell, Chief Marketing Officer, SONIC Tools. “We have been working with teams in multiple areas of motorsports, and CORE is the one of the best in the business, so we are excited”

 

RedBull Global RallyCross rounds Four and Five at Daytona International Speedway take place June 18 – 19. Live timing and scoring is available on www.redbullglobalrallycross.com and the GRC Lites races will air on NBC Sports Network, Wednesday, June 22, at 4:30pm ET.

 

“This is a very exciting time for everybody at CORE autosport,” Program Manager Brian Colangelo said. “We’re venturing outside of our comfort zone into something new, but everybody here loves a challenge and we’ve hit the ground running. Partnering with ORECA and SONIC Tools has been tremendously helpful in getting our GRC program launched and feeling confident going into our competition debut. Recruiting Jon and Colin to drive was a no-brainer considering their racing accomplishments and we can expect excellent feedback from each of them.”

 

CORE autosport was founded in 2010 and has since gone on to win five Prototype Challenge Championships in American Le Mans Series and IMSA competition and has grown to include support of the factory Porsche GTLM program in North America, which produced back-to-back Manufacturer Championships in 2014 and 2015.

 

 

Rolex 24 Ends Early for CORE

A catastrophic engine failure ended CORE autosport’s quest for a second victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona less than six hours into the endurance classic that kicks off the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The team saw little track time leading up to the 24-hour enduro thanks to steady rain that soaked the track on Thursday. In an effort to avoid damaging the car, the team ran just a few laps in the day’s practice sessions and did not run in qualifying. Having skipped qualifying, the team was required to start at the back of the prototype category on Saturday.

Jon Bennett opened the race in the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 from eighth in the Prototype Challenge class. Bennett battled through the opening chaos and climbed two spots before handing the car off to co-driver Mark Wilkins nearly two and a half hours into the race.

Wilkins had a brilliant stint and some of the fastest PC laps on the track at the time. He capitalized on the third full-course caution of the race and used the wave-by to catch up to the lead lap. Wilkins pounced with several quick passes and was up to first by the four and a half hour mark.

Wilkins was working to extend his lead when a massive vibration jolted the car in Daytona International Speedway’s banked Turn 4. Wilkins was able to pull the car immediately into the pits. The No. 54 was taken behind the wall, but soon retired when it was discovered that the engine damage was irreparable. The team had completed just five and a half hours of the race.

The damage prevented co-drivers Colin Braun and Martin Plowman from turning a lap in the race. The team was also unable to complete the minimum drive times for Bennett and Wilkins and was therefore limited to one point in the championship race.

CORE is already focused on avenging this Daytona disappointment at the MOBIL 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh From Florida, March 17 – 19.

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotW“We were smart with the weather early in the week, and we had a clever race strategy. It was a disappointing ending to a successful week and race start. There were some new elements at our team. We had new driver, Martin Plowman, and of course, Mark Wilkins is well known to our team. It was one of the first real races with Jeff Braun doing the engineering and managing our effort. The race was really going to script, and unfortunately, we had an engine failure beyond our control. We’ll just pick up the pieces, build the new car and head to Sebring to continue the championship. I’m proud of the guys, and I’m confident in our approach. We’re definitely looking to better events ahead and a successful season.”
– JON BENNETT

 

16-CORE-CB-Headshot“Overall, the weekend was pretty disappointing. The weather prevented us from running very much, and then obviously, the ending wasn’t what we were hoping for. Jon did a great job starting off in the car, and Mark had a pretty healthy lead in the race. Then we had catastrophic engine failure. There wasn’t any warning. With the spec class, spec engine manufacturer, spec engine builder, you hope they put these together at a level where they’re able to run and run. The CORE guys did a great job prepping the car. It’s a disappointing way to finish, but there’s not much we can do beyond that.”
– COLIN BRAUN
 
 
 
16-CORE-MW-Headshot“Jon did an awesome job in his first run. Jeff Braun was making us do a lot of work all at once, which I think was a brilliant strategy. Jon did a rock-solid job and gave me the car perfectly clean. I knew my job was to get back on the lead lap and back in the fold. I didn’t really expect that we’d get all the way in the lead and then pull away.

 
 
The CORE autosport guys do such an amazing job, I’m gutted for them. They spend so many hours working in the shop to get the car this great. It’s a hard one, and it just goes to prove how hard this race really is to win. We didn’t get any warning. Everything was running fairly strong. Sixth gear just let go of the engine. It picked up a gigantic vibration, and I knew we had a problem so I brought into the pits. We’ll be back for Sebring stronger than ever and ready to makeup some points.”
-MARK WILKINS

 

16-CORE-MP-Headshot“It’s heartbreaking for the whole team. They’ve put so much into this race. I feel sorry for the guys because I truly feel this was our race to lose. The setup and strategy were a winning combination. Racing is cruel, but we’ll just focus on the next one. I want to thank Jon and the team for having me aboard this race. They’re deadly serious with their racing but really fun at the same time. The whole culture – there’s such a winning mentality. The team chemistry is amazing.”
– MARTIN PLOWMAN

CORE Launches 2016 Season with Rolex 24

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Jan. 27, 2016) – The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship kicks off this weekend with the 54th Running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Defending Prototype Challenge Champions CORE autosport are in search of their second victory at the twice-around-the-clock race, after a heartbreaking finish robbed the team of that feat in 2015.

 

Full-season drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are joined by Mark Wilkins and Martin Plowman in the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09. Bennett, Braun and Wilkins were part of the 2014 lineup that won the Rolex 24, while Plowman makes his race debut with CORE this week.

 

The 3.56-mile “roval” uses all four of Daytona International Speedway’s banked turns plus the banked start/finish section. This will place a lot of g-force on the drivers and make the right-side tires work hard. The banking and speeds also make spotters a necessity for the drivers.

 

No rain is predicted for the 54th running of the Rolex 24. Temperatures will be comfortable with highs nearing 70F and lows around 50F.

 

 

Notes

  • This is Braun’s 12th consecutive Rolex 24 start. He’s entered every since he was 16.
  • Braun and Plowman used to race karts against each other in Europe.
  • Plowman has kept busy between Roar and Rolex 24 by getting married.
  • CORE COO Morgan Brady has been named a partner at Composite Resources. His duties with CORE will continue as usual.
  • Braun holds the PC lap record at Daytona, a 1:41.777 (125.922 mph), set in 2014.

 

 

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotW“There are a few races in the world that everyone in the motorsports universe is aware of, like the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Le Mans 24, Monaco Grand Prix. I think that the Daytona 24 ranks in that list. For me, it’s very important and it’s an iconic, international race and I’m so glad to be here.
 
“There’s two relatively stressful times to drive: the first lap and the last lap. My favorite time to drive is the shift between 2:15 and 3:30 in the morning. There’s something about the cool night air. The race is always full-on, but there’s a certain calmness in the night that I enjoy.
 
“We’re very fortunate to have the same spotters over the years. We don’t have spotters at every race, so it takes a little time to get used to them, but since they’re not new to the team, it doesn’t take very long. It’s almost relaxing to have that voice in the background with you in the car, warning you about things that could be trouble ahead and on occasion, a little bit of encouragement.
 
“This is an iconic race and I enjoy being distracted to some degree by the pomp and circumstance. You do have to remember to stay grounded. This is a very serious race and the first race in our season. They are taking score, points are being awarded, so you can’t drift away too far. It’s a lot of fun walking to the car on Saturday and seeing all the fans, but then things get really serious.”

– Jon Bennett

 

 

16-CORE-CB-Headshot“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is a race that every driver, no matter their background, wants to win. That’s why you see NASCAR guys and open-wheel guys and people from all over the world driving in this race. It took me 10 tries to finally get a win in 2014. This year is my 12th shot at it and it never gets easier. You can hit all your marks, but it’ll still throw you a curve ball like it did for us last year.
 
“There’s not a whole lot of daytime racing at Daytona and the sunrise and sunset times can be difficult if you’re in the car, because of the sun shining in your eyes; especially in an open cockpit car, we don’t have anything besides our visors protecting us from glare. That’s why we have to chose them wisely depending on the conditions.
 
“At CORE we’re all about preparation, taking things one step at a time and constantly improving. I think that mentality is especially important for these long endurance races. We’ve prepared as best we can for every scenario and we’re going to execute according to the plan we’ve laid out but be ready to adjust for any problems that come our way. I have a great group of co-drivers in Jon, Mark and Martin that all share that mindset so I think we’ll be in good shape.”

– Colin Braun

 

 

16-CORE-MP-Headshot“The Rolex 24 is up there as one of the biggest races in the world and is definitely amongst the most prestigious endurance races. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to add winning the Rolex 24 to your résumé. It’s one of those races that every driver wants to win.
 
“Daytona is one of the only tracks where I think it’s critical to have a spotter on a road course, as they really help you to cut through slower traffic especially in the braking zones coming off of the oval banking; they enable us to make quick decisions without hesitation and having to look in the mirrors.
 
“I love driving at night, but it’s also the most tricky as it can get quite cold, so your tires are stone cold when you first leave the pits. The outlap is always very, very tricky and feels like driving on an ice rink!
 
“Sunrise and sunset are both equally challenging purely from a visibility standpoint. Visor selection is hard, but I always go conservative which means running a clear visor. When the sun reflects low off of the track there are times when you are literally driving blind and drive using only your reference points on the side of the track.
 
“Nicole and I enjoyed a really nice break away from our phones in Palm Beach on a sort of ‘mini-moon’. I’ll treat her to a longer celebration later in the year when the schedule permits, but for now my focus is fully on Daytona!”

– Martin Plowman

 

 

16-CORE-MW-Headshot“The Rolex 24 is certainly the highlight race of the year for me and is the premier endurance race in North America. The only endurance race in my mind that comes close is Le Mans.
 
“I love driving at night under the lights. I find I can really get into my sweet spot as a driver and the stints just fly by. A close second would be the mid-morning stint on Sunday as the end of the race closes in. The trickiest times to drive are certainly the sunset and sunrise where you experience lots of glare. Picking the right visor is tricky especially if you end up driving into the dark!
 
“Spotters are also key to success in this race. They allow the drivers to really focus forward and not worry so much about what’s behind them. They can be crucial to preventing or avoiding on track incidents. Spotters at Daytona are a must in my mind!”

– Mark Wilkins

 

 

 

Rolex 24 at Daytona | Jan. 22 – 25

 

Track Length: 3.56 miles, 12 turns

Race Length: 24 Hours

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Thursday, January 28

9:25am – 10:25am: Practice #1 (All Classes)

1:20pm – 1:50pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

4:50pm – 5:05pm: Qualifying (PC Class)

6:30pm – 8:00pm: Practice #3 (All Classes)

Friday, January 29

10:25am – 11:25pm: Practice #4 (All Classes)

Saturday, January 30

12:00pm – 12:45pm: Driver Autograph Session

1:05pm – 2:20pm: Pre-Race / Open Grid

2:40pm: Green Flag

Sunday, January 31

2:40pm: Checkered Flag

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Thursday, January 28

4:00pm – 5:30pm: IMSA.tv & IMSA App

LIVE Race U.S.:

Saturday, January 30

2:00pm – 4:00pm: FOX Sports 1

4:00pm – 10:00pm: FOX Sports 2

Overnight (Jan. 30 – 31)

10:00pm – 7:00am: IMSA.tv & IMSA App

Sunday, January 31

7:00am – 10:30am: FOX Sports 1

10:30am – 1:00pm: FOX Sports 2

1:00pm – 2:40pm: FOX Sports 1

 

LIVE Race International:

2:00pm Saturday – 3:00pm Sunday: IMSA.tv & IMSA App

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary: IMSA.tv & IMSA App

CORE Logs Laps at Daytona Before Rolex 24

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.

 

16-CORE-JB-HeadshotW“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

 

16-CORE-CB-Headshot“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

 

16-CORE-MP-Headshot“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

 

16-CORE-MW-Headshot“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

 

LaurentCoppeeMembers 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.