All posts in “IMSA”

CORE on Front Row for Northeast Grand Prix

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 21, 2017) – CORE autosport earned its best WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying position of the year at Lime Rock Park. Colin Braun entered a lap just shy of the pole, but will start second in tomorrow’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.

In his first-ever qualifying attempt with the No. 54 Flexbox / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R, Braun was only 0.191-second off the GT Daytona pole time. His best lap around the 1.474, 7-turn road course, a 52.699, put him second on the grid, the best of the Porsche GTD entries and 0.137-second faster than Porsche factory driver Patrick Long.

The last time Braun served as the qualifying driver for CORE was at Lime Rock Park one year ago.

Braun will pair with Jon Bennett for Saturday’s two-hour and 40-minute race that features just the GT Daytona and GT Le Mans classes. The Northeast Grand Prix will go green tomorrow at 3pm ET on FS2.

 

“We decided to try a different strategy today to see how things shook out. Traffic is an issue here because the track is so short. We don’t have great pit lane position, so I was at the back of the pack for the qualifying session. There were some slower guys in front of me that I tried to build gaps to. I felt like I had a pretty good shot at it, but on my last lap there was a lot of dirt on the track in many of the corners. That made it tough to go through some of these fast corners knowing that there was a pile of dirt waiting.

“All in all, we’re happy to be P2 and on the front row. I haven’t qualified in a long time and didn’t have a chance to do a new tire run because we were so focused on our race package. I’m a little bit surprised, to be honest, to be that close to pole.

“The Porsches qualified really well here. We had good balance right off the truck. But, it’s always a bit of a game here. You never know who’s doing what, so we’ll see the last 10 laps the true pace of all these cars.”
– Colin Braun

CORE Wants to Continue Canadian Win Streak

ROCK HILL, S.C. (July 6, 2017) – It’s only been a few short days since the checkered flag fell at Watkins Glen International, but CORE autosport is eager to return to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), site of its most recent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory.

 

CTMP is one of CORE’s most successful tracks. The team has scored four Prototype Challenge victories at the circuit formerly known as Mosport, including the last two seasons (2015 – 2016). In fact, CORE has never finished off the podium at CTMP.

 

Continuing such a streak will be no easy task this weekend. Now running a Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GT Daytona category, drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are up against a field of 14 incredibly diverse and competitive cars.

 

 

Noteworthy

  • CORE autosport has won the PC class at CTMP in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
  • Braun has earned the PC pole at CTMP twice: 2012 and 2016.
  • Bennett raced in the Porsche GT3 Cup races at CTMP in 2013 and finished second in the Masters Class.
  • CORE is missing its first GRC race of 2017 because of the conflict with CTMP this weekend.

 

 

“Colin and I always look forward to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It’s a track that we’ve had success at in the past and it’s just a really fast, flowing track that requires a lot of commitment and confidence. It will be interesting to attack its fast corners in the Porsche instead of the PC car that we’ve brought there since 2011. We won’t have the same kind of downforce as we had with the PC car, so it will be about finding the most mechanical grip that we can.

 

“It’s a shame to be missing our first GRC event of the season, but it will be good for Colin and I to have back-to-back races in the Porsche. It’s only been a few days since Watkins Glen, so the muscle memory and the feel for what the car wants is still in the forefront of our minds.”
– JON BENNETT

 

“It’s good to have back-to-back races. We’re fortunate enough that we didn’t tear our car up, so we’re able to polish on it and make it a little better and take it to Canada. I think it’s good for everyone that we get to work some back-to-back weekends. We get to carry some momentum forward. For Jon and I specifically, we’re not jumping into something different, like the GRC cars, between IMSA events. I think for us it’s nice that we can carry that momentum into the next one. Hopefully that helps us move the bar forward at Mosport.

 

“We’ve had a lot of success at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but PC racing was a different game. We’re still learning this car and figuring it out as a group. We do our best every weekend and we’re improving. We’re learning a lot about this kind of racing and what this car needs. I think we’ll have a decent result at Mosport. This kind of racing is up and down with the way the cars are and the balance of performance. We race wheel-to-wheel. We beat the Acura at the Circuit of the Americas, and then they won the last two races. It just goes to show how the cycle of speed and tracks favor a car. We’re looking forward to Mosport and hoping that it will be a great track for the Porsche.”
– COLIN BRAUN

CORE Ready to Flex Its Endurance Muscles

ROCK HILL, S.C. (June 28, 2017) – It’s been a month since CORE autosport last took part in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are itching to get back into the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R. They’ll be re-joined by Nic Jönsson at Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

 

After three IMSA rounds lasting two hours and 40 minutes or less, this weekend’s race will go six hours from green to checker. Watkins Glen is part of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. It is the third of four races that compose this championship within a championship, Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans being the other races.

 

CORE took part in a test at Watkins Glen in May to prepare for this weekend’s six-hour race. The team won the race in 2014 in the Prototype Challenge category, but this will be its first race at the historic road course in the Porsche 911 GT3 R.

 

Noteworthy

  • CORE autosport won at Watkins Glen in 2014 with Bennett, Braun and Mark Wilkins.
  • The 2014 PC win was from pole position, scored by Braun.
  • CORE finished fourth at WGI in 2015 and sixth in 2016.
  • Jönsson’s last race at WGI was 2012 in the Continental Tire Series.
  • Jönsson won the 2005 WGI race in a Daytona Prototype with Krohn Racing.
  • WGI marks the halfway point of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

 

“The long race at Watkins Glen provides a great opportunity for our first podium of the season. CORE autosport excels at the longer endurance races. These long races allow our team to leverage our skills in car preparation, race strategy, and quick pit stops.

 

“Turn 10 is my favorite portion at Watkins Glen. It’s slightly banked and super fast. It reminds me of a quick flick turn on a bobsled run.

 

“Our recent test at The Glen was helpful to learn how our new Porsche will perform during the race event. We discovered a few tuning concepts that should give us an advantage during the race. Testing always helps confidence by providing an opportunity to experiment and uncover techniques to find speed. With Colin’s support and Jeff Braun’s engineering, I was able to continuously reduce lap times throughout the test. We were all encouraged with our results at the conclusion of the test.

 

“Colin and I are happiest when inside a race car. While alternating between IMSA and GRC has been fun, we are looking forward to this active period of the IMSA season.”
– JON BENNETT

 

“I’m looking forward to a longer race. We seem to do well in longer races with more pit stops and more opportunity to execute good strategy. That’s what we excel at as a group.

 

“We had a really good test at Watkins Glen a month ago. One of the biggest things that came out of it was a breakthrough moment for Jon. He gained a lot of confidence from being able to drive the car flat-out in the privacy of our test session.

 

“For me, it’s been a busy schedule between IMSA, GRC and my coaching commitments. I love that part of the job. The opportunity to be busy and always driving race cars is what I love to do. No matter what the series is or what race track we’re at, I’m pushing to the limit. It’s becoming similar for Jon too, incorporating the GRC schedule into the mix. It’s going to be a lot of fun clicking off a bunch of back-to-back IMSA weekends and getting some momentum going on the Porsche side of things.”
 – COLIN BRAUN

 

“Watkins Glen has everything you could ask for. I like the whole track and the whole environment. It’s an old-school track with elevation changes, high-speed sweeping corners and hard braking zones. It’s on my list of top-five tracks in the world. If I had to pick a favorite section, it’s probably The Boot section from the Bus Stop until you come back to the straight.

 

“I haven’t been to Watkins Glen since they repaved it (2015). I’ve spoken with Jon and Colin and other drivers over the last couple of years about it. Like any other track, it gains a lot of grip, which is no big surprise. I can imagine the physical aspect of it has changed as well. Anytime you pick up more grip, it becomes more physical. I think you won’t have as much tire degradation. It’s going to be a very close, tight, competitive race just because people will probably double or even triple-stint tires. I don’t think the traction-control or ABS will be much of a factor because of the grip level. It’s going to be very high-pace, possibly the fastest Six Hours of The Glen ever.”
 – NIC JÖNSSON

CORE Cracks Top-10, Finishes Eighth in Detroit

DETROIT, Mich. (June 3, 2017) – CORE autosport earned its best finish of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship thus far, finishing eighth on the streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle. The No. 54 Flexbox / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Jon Bennett and Colin Braun was also the highest finishing Porsche in the race.

 

Starting from 14th on the GT Daytona grid, Bennett kept the car out of trouble and within striking distance of his GTD competitors during his stint.

 

Thirty minutes into the 100-minute race, the first and only full-course caution was issued for an accident in Turn One. This presented the perfect opportunity to pit and hand the car over to Braun.

 

A flawless pit stop under yellow had Braun back out in 13th and ready for the restart. Competitors serving penalties for pit stop violations immediately bumped Braun up to 11th. He was then able to get around the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R for 10th with 30 minutes left in the race.

 

Two more GTD cars dropped out of contention, promoting the No. 54 to eighth.

 

With three laps to go, Braun went on the attack, running side-by-side with the seventh-place No. 15 Lexus RCF GTS. He came up just short, however, and crossed the line in eighth, the best finish so far for CORE in 2017 IMSA competition and the team’s best finish to-date with the Porsche 911 GT3 R.

 

Immediately after the checkered flag, Bennett and Braun quickly changed into street clothes, grabbed their bags and headed for the airport with the goal of making it to Thompson Speedway in Connecticut in time for the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites final.

 

The duo’s next IMSA event will be in Watkins Glen, New York. The Six Hours of the Glen, at Watkins Glen International Raceway, will take place June 29 – July 2.

 

“Street courses are unique and so are the starts, but I’m really happy with our performance at this event. We all really gelled together as a group. The team did a great job. The car was well engineered. I’m really starting to understand how to get this car dialed in and what it wants. I’m encouraged by our forward progress in this event and I think that helps set the tone for the team as we move into the second half of the season.

 

“The yellow flag came at the perfect time for everybody, so I’m not sure we got a big advantage, but it certainly fit well within our strategy. I think that with our strategy and chemistry this weekend, it wouldn’t have mattered when the caution came.

 

“My focus never wandered to GRC while I was in the car, but now I’m looking forward to the trip!”
– Jon Bennett

 

“Jon did a good job early in his stint to stay with the pack. We got a pretty timely yellow and the guys did a nice pit stop. We gained a little bit and then lost a little bit on the restart. I got stuck behind some Prototype Challenge and Prototype cars.

 

“We had good pace and I caught back up to the pack. I was able to get around Joerg (Bergmeister) and then I ran bumper to bumper with the Lexus teammates. I think we were a bit quicker, but this place is really tight and that makes it hard to pass. The Lexus is a pretty big car and when you’re racing hard you can make your big car pretty wide. We just didn’t have a large enough edge to pass those guys.

 

“It’s tough at the end, when you get all the P cars coming by and the PC cars coming by. Those guys are having their own race, but it’s disruptive to the flow of traffic for us in the GTD cars. As much as I looked ahead trying to plan a pass when I was in PC, that’s how much I’m looking behind to come up with a plan on when to let those guys by. There’s a lot mental work going on even if it looks like you’re just driving around.”
– Colin Braun

 

CORE Starts Wild Double Race Weekend from 14th at Detroit

DETROIT, Mich. (June 2, 2017) – CORE autosport is on the eve of an attempt to take part in both the IMSA Chevrolet SportsCar Classic and Red Bull Global Rallycross New England events on the same day. That day will begin in earnest when Bennett takes the green flag on the streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle from 14th on the GT Daytona grid.

 

The Belle Isle circuit is made up of roads within a park on an island in the Detroit River. Notoriously bumpy, Bennett and co-driver Colin Braun were pleased to find the temporary circuit much smoother when they took to the track for morning practice.

 

After another round of practice in the afternoon, it was time to qualify. Bennett was at the wheel of the No. 54 Flexbox / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R for the 15-minute qualifying session. He steadily improved with each lap and even picked up 0.5-second on his final try. This put him 14th on the GTD grid for Saturday’s 100-minute race.

 

Bennett will start the race and hand the Porsche over to co-driver Braun during the pit stop.

 

Once the checkered flag waves, Bennett and Braun will rush to the airport to take a plane to Thompson, Connecticut, where the GRC New England event will already be underway. If all goes according to plan, the two drivers will make it to Thompson Speedway in time to take part in the GRC Lites final. Regardless of when they arrive, they’ll be able to take part in a full day of GRC action on Sunday.

 

The Chevrolet SportsCar Classic from Detroit will air live on FS2, starting at 12:30pm ET, Saturday.

 

 

“Coming into Detroit, we heard a rumor that the track had been improved. Sure enough, they did a spectacular job smoothing out the roughness of this track. I think Colin and I both liked the layout before, but now with a smoother track surface, it’s certainly a joy to come here and race.

 

“In terms of qualifying, of course, I would like to be faster. The transition from the prototype to the Porsche requires a great deal of respect and patience. I’m quite happy with my progression so far. Colin and Jeff Braun have helped me a great deal getting up to speed. Little-by-little, session-by-session, we’re getting faster and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
– Jon Bennett

CORE to Race Both IMSA and GRC in Same Weekend

ROCK HILL, S.C. (May 31, 2017) – CORE autosport has one busy weekend ahead of it, as it will take part in both the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and the latest round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites Championship in Thompson, Connecticut.

 

Continuing their WeatherTech GT Daytona season, drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will share the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R on the streets of Belle Isle on Friday and Saturday, culminating in the 100 minute race on Saturday at 12:40pm ET. Bennett and Braun nearly won the Detroit race last year in the Prototype Challenge category, but ultimately ended up second.

 

Immediately after the checkered flag, Bennett and Braun will rush to the airport to board a plane bound for Thompson, Connecticut, where the latest round of the Global Rallycross Championship will already be underway and CORE’s GRC crew will have the No. 54 and No. 56 GRC Lites cars ready to go. If all goes according to plan, Bennett and Braun will have time to join the Last Chance Qualifier, scheduled for 5pm ET, and hopefully qualify for the final by finishing in the top two.

 

The GRC round at Thompson is a doubleheader, so even if the pair do not arrive in time on Saturday, they’ll have a full day of activities on Sunday.

 

Braun is currently third in the GRC Lites Championship and Bennett fifth.

 

The IMSA race from Detroit will air live on FS2, Saturday, June 3, at 12:30pm ET. The GRC Lites races from Thompson will air on NBC Sports Network, Wednesday, June 7, at 5pm ET.

 

 

 

“CORE autosport is committed to competing for championships in both IMSA WeatherTech GTD and Red Bull GRC Lites. We noticed the possibility of competing in both events. The idea was like an ember, that spread to a flame, which became a mission. Our IMSA WeatherTech race on Belle Island ends at 2:40pm. With the miracle of air travel, Colin, myself, and some crew will fly to a regional airport near Thompson arriving at the circuit with 30 minutes to spare before the Saturday LCQ!

 

“I have always enjoyed the street circuits we visit with IMSA. I like the precision and intensity that racing on a street circuit demands. On the other hand, the Belle Island circuit is extremely bumpy. Conveniently, this meshes well with recent GRC experience I have gained; tires off the ground are no problem.

 

“It’s also great to be in Detroit so we can welcome our friends from Paragon D&E to the track.

 

“I was certainly pleased with our entire team’s performance at the most recent GRC event in Louisville. Our GRC learning curve is beginning to flatten out and I expect more successful events to come. Colin and I have extensive experience understanding and learning new circuits. While not ideal, I expect we will be competitive in the LCQ.”
– Jon Bennett

 

 

 

 

“Jon and I were talking about how disappointing it was going to be to miss Thompson with the GRC cars. We kind of looked at each other and said ‘hey, there’s a possibility, since the Detroit race is on Saturday, that we could do both.’ We looked at the schedules and it looks like we could make the LCQ on Saturday and then all day Sunday. We’re doing pretty well in the GRC points, so we’d hate to give up being a contender over there.

 

“I like Belle Isle. It’s a great street course. It’s got corners that are a bit faster than a street course would usually have. The high-speed stuff is fun, but it also has the technical, low-speed, 90-degree corners. The flow and blend of corners makes it really cool.

 

“It’s going to be tough arriving in Thompson without any track time, but we’ve got a great group of guys on the GRC side. They’ll send us some videos from the practice on Friday to give us an idea on the layout, braking points etc., so when we do show up for the LCQ, we’ll be good to go and hopefully transfer right into the main. One of the great things about GRC is that the track changes so much during the weekend, you’re always figuring it out lap by lap, so hopefully that doesn’t put us at such a big disadvantage.”
– Colin Braun

 

 

Chevrolet SportsCar Classic & GRC New England | June 2 – 4

IMSA Track Length: 3.4 miles, 20 turns

IMSA Race Length: 100 minutes

GRC Track Length: 0.895 miles

GRC Lites Final Race Length: 10 laps

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30am – 10:00am: IMSA Practice #1 (All Classes)

1:00pm – 2:30pm: IMSA Practice #2 (All Classes)

4:44pm – 5:10pm: IMSA Qualifying (GTD Class)

 

Saturday, June 3

8:00am – 8:20am: IMSA Warm Up (All Classes)

10:30am – 11:15am: IMSA Driver Autograph Session

11:45am – 12:30am: IMSA Open Grid / Fan Walk

12:40pm – 2:20pm: Chevrolet SportsCar Classic

 

5:00pm: GRC Lites Last Chance Qualifier

5:55pm: GRC Lites Final

 

Sunday, June 4

12:40pm: GRC Lites Practice/Qualifying

1:40pm: GRC Lites Round One Heats

2:40pm: GRC Lites Round Two Heats

3:40pm: GRC Lites Semi Final

5:05pm: GRC Lites Last Chance Qualifier

6:00pm: GRC Lites Final

6:45pm: GRC Driver Autograph Session

 

IMSA TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Friday, June 2

4:45pm – 6:00pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Saturday, June 3

12:30pm – 2:30pm: FS2

LIVE Race International:

12:30pm – 2:30pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com

 

GRC LITES TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Wednesday, June 7

5:00pm: NBC Sports Network

CORE Hangs on for 13th at COTA

AUSTIN, Texas (May 6, 2017) – CORE autosport faced stiff WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition and rising temperatures at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Never the less, drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun persisted and were able to finish four positions ahead of their qualifying spot in Austin, Texas.

 

Bennett qualified the Porsche 17th on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona grid and took on starting duties. His position was improved even prior to the start of the race when two competitors opted to change their tires and move to the back of the field.

 

On the start, Bennett adeptly dodged several spinning cars in the first corner and came out unscathed. As track temperatures rose to 120 degrees, the hottest in IMSA competition so far this year, Bennett managed the tires through his stint in the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R.

 

After an hour in the car, it was time to hand the wheel over to Braun. On the way into pit lane, Bennett was caught exceeding the pit lane speed limit. As a result, the team was issued a drive-through penalty.

 

Thanks to smart pit strategy, Braun was able to make up the ground lost by the penalty and began some intense battles among his GTD rivals. Though fading brakes hindered his forward progress, Braun managed to advance two more spots to 13th, even with a late-race caution and restart.

 

The next IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round will take place on the streets of Detroit, June 2 – 3. Prior to that, Bennett and Braun will compete in the second round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, May 20 – 21, in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

 

“Brick-by-brick we are making progress. We were able to finish on the lead lap this race, which is an indication of forward progress. I’m still a little behind pace-wise and we are still working to learn the various systems of the car – ABS, traction control, etc. Each of these systems has to be catered to, so we’re learning more and more about the car.

“I think we are all encouraged going forward and heading to Detroit. It’s a track that both Colin and I like and it’s a bit challenging. There’s a bit of opportunity and chaos that will ensue at Detroit and our learning season continues.”

– JON BENNETT

 

 

 

“The car had a really good pace this race. Jon did a good job in his opening stint. Unfortunately, he got a pit road speeding penalty coming in. We were fortunate enough to get our lap back with our pit sequence that the guys on the box called.

“Even though we had that set back, the whole team stayed focused forward and I gave it my all to pick up some spots and get these CORE guys a finish they could be proud of.  All-in-all, we finished on the lead lap and we continue to improve our performance each race. We’re moving forward and had great stops on pit road.”
– COLIN BRAUN

CORE is Bringing the Heat to Texas

ROCK HILL, S.C. (May 2, 2017) – Days after competing in the opening round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross GRC Lites Championship, CORE autosport is back on the road for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will go from dirt and air time to the immaculate Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

 

CORE has plenty of reasons to look forward to COTA: it’s finished on the podium there in all of its visits with the Prototype Challenge car, including a win in 2015. This year, however, the team takes its GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R for its first crack at the 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course, which hosts the Formula 1 US Grand Prix in October.

 

Traditionally, IMSA has raced at COTA in September, but this year sees the first time the race is held in the spring. Though temperatures are not expected to be as brutal as September, COTA will still be one of the hottest races on the calendar.

 

 

Noteworthy:

  • Thursday, May 5 is Jon Bennett’s birthday.
  • Bennett and Colin Braun’s PC win at COTA in 2015 sealed its fifth-straight PC Championship.
  • CORE finished second in PC at COTA in 2014 (Bennett & Braun) and third in 2013 (Bennett and Tom Kimber-Smith).
  • CORE did not take part in last year’s race at COTA.
  • Braun grew up in Ovalo, Texas, 3.5 hours from Austin.

 

 

 

“We’re looking to put together our first mistake-free event of the season. We’ve had several snafus that hurt our performance over the course of the season. We’re looking forward to what our performance will be when we can accomplish a typical CORE weekend, which is normally mistake-free.

 

“We’re pretty well suited for our first hot race of the season. We have good systems to keep the driver cool. More importantly, in some ways, COTA is our first traditional road circuit with the Porsche. It’s not an oval converted for road racing, it’s not an old airport, and it’s not a street course. We’re looking forward to getting the Porsche onto a more conventional road circuit.

 

“I like COTA because it’s used for Formula 1, so it has generous amounts of runoff and I like to take risks and I think in the process learn the limits of the race car without putting the equipment in jeopardy. I’m looking forward to that aspect of COTA; it allows you to hang the car out on the edge without big mechanical risks.”
– JON BENNETT

 

 

 

 

“COTA is a pretty unique place. It’s a very exciting, cool track, since it’s a Formula 1 track. It’s got a lot of first-gear hairpins, it’s got an interesting section of Esses and a really long right-hand corner. It has a lot of unique things that mix together for a track that doesn’t have a lot of flow, but certainly presents a lot of challenges and is fun in that aspect.

 

“At a place like COTA, with the surface that they have, tire wear isn’t too big of a concern. For us, it’s going to be different since we’re going earlier in the year. We’re used to seeing really high track temperatures and high ambient temps. If we were going back in the PC car, we’d probably take a different approach than previous years, but we’re going in a car that we’ve never run there, so we don’t know any better.

 

“If you look on paper at the performance Mercedes has had over the first three races, those would have to be the cars to beat. They’ve had good pace and been very dominant. Those were a completely different set of tracks though and COTA is going to be interesting one. It has very long straightaways and very long braking zones. It has a lot of places where putting the power down is going to be important and I think those areas are where the Porsche is going to be very strong.

 

“Jon and I have both had success at COTA and locked up PC championships there, so I feel like we have a lot of confidence about that circuit. We’re learning every time we go racing with this car. This is the fourth different race track we’ve been to now, so we’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we were. Jon and the whole team have done an amazing job, building on everything through the season, so I’m excited to get things kicked off at COTA.”
– COLIN BRAUN

 

 

Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown | May 4 – 6

Track Length: 3.4 miles, 20 turns

Race Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Thursday, May 4

10:45am – 11:45am: Practice #1 (All Classes)

3:55pm – 4:55pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

 

Friday, May 5

9:55am – 10:55am: Practice #3 (All Classes)

1:05pm – 1:20pm: Qualifying (GTD Class)

 

Saturday, May 6

9:40am – 10:00am: Warm Up (All Classes)

11:45am – 12:30pm: Driver Autograph Session

2:35pm – 5:15pm: Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Friday, May 5

12:55pm – 2:35pm: IMSA.com

Race U.S.:

Saturday, May 6

7:00pm – 10:00pm: FS1

LIVE Race International:

2:35pm – 5:15pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com

Second Podium for New Porsche 911 RSR

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2017)  At the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the new Porsche 911 RSR claimed its second podium result at its third race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. On the spectacular city course in the port district, where the pits are just a stone’s throw away from where the docked ocean-liner giant “Queen Mary” lies anchored, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France) secured third place on Saturday with the No. 912 car. In the sister 510 hp 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, last year’s winner Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) finished sixth.

The race set against a postcard-perfect backdrop of sun, sea and palms is regarded as the American equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix for good reason. Despite the short race duration of just 100 minutes, the completely walled and fenced 1.968-mile street circuit demands everything from the drivers, and on the grandstands and balconies of high-rise apartments, keen sports car fans mingle with famous stars. The simple reason for the high number of prominent celebrities is that Hollywood is virtually just around the corner.

The race was as spectacular as the backdrop. After just one lap, the leading trio in the particularly competitive GTLM class clashed – which opened the door for Laurens Vanthoor. Taking up the race from the fourth grid spot, the Belgian, who was the winner of the 2016 Macau Grand Prix is no stranger to narrow city circuits, moved into the lead. Vanthoor held onto the top spot for almost 45 minutes until the first pit stop – no other GTLM vehicle stayed out on the track as long without a tire change. It was only while handing the 911 RSR off to Kévin Estre that the position was lost. Running in fifth place, the Frenchman then took up the chase again. In the final laps of a race that had seen no less than five safety car phases, events turned truly dramatic: Kévin Estre advanced to fourth place and kept his cool in the hairpin just before the finish line: In stop-and-go traffic he overtook another competitor in the last seconds to secure the second podium result for Porsche in North America’s premier racing series.

In the second 911 RSR with the starting number 911, two former Long Beach winners had to line up at the back of the field; Patrick Pilet (2016) and Dirk Werner (2015) were unable to take part in the qualifying session due to an accident during practice and were therefore relegated to the very back of the 35-strong field. Putting in a spirited drive, Patrick Pilet ploughed his way through the pack and as he came into the pits he was running in eighth position. Dirk Werner gained another four places during his stint and was even looking good for a podium spot. However, a drive-through penalty imposed by the stewards of the meeting for making contact with another competitor put a sudden halt to his charge.

Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be contested on May 6 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “It takes a while to digest such a race. It was turbulent and difficult to keep oversight. Finishing in third place at the end was pretty good. Still, you’re left feeling that there could have been more. Thanks to a good strategy and fast pit stops we managed to gain ground, particularly with our number 911 car, which had started from the very back, but because of the drive-through penalty it wasn’t enough for a podium result.”
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “That was a crazy race with highs and lows. We suffered a setback on Friday when our number 911 car that was damaged during practice, but the team worked brilliantly to repair the car in time to compete. The race started turbulently. We were able to take the lead at a relatively early stage, which suited our strategy perfectly. At the next safety car phase we then split the strategy, like most other teams, and that also worked well. As far as the result is concerned, we definitely did the best we could under the circumstances, but no one needs such a rollercoaster of feelings every weekend.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a dramatic race with a lot of incidents. The safety car had to be deployed often. There were a lot of collisions and drive-through penalties, and then the front-runner loses the race in the final lap because several cars didn’t make it around the bend. That’s pretty crazy.”
Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “Patrick got us back in the race with great overtaking maneuvers. We were lucky with the caution phases and by mid-way through the race we were already running in the top four, but then we were handed a drive-through penalty and our fight for a podium spot was over. It’s a shame for the team who worked so hard through the night to repair our 911 RSR. Those guys certainly deserved a better result.”
Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “It was a difficult race. We actually did everything right with our strategy. We were leading, but then lost places due to the many safety car phases. In my first lap I was hit quite hard in the rear. After that I had hardly any downforce, but I kept fighting and was rewarded in the bizarre final lap.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We actually didn’t expect to be on the podium, but we’re happy to take it home. My teammates told me a lot about Long Beach, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite so turbulent here.”

CORE Takes on Busy Streets of Long Beach

ROCK HILL, S.C. (April 4, 2017) – The third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes CORE autosport to one of the most famous temporary circuits in the world; the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix takes place on the streets of Long Beach, California.

 

Featuring the Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona categories, this year’s event features the largest field IMSA has ever brought to the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course. Thirty-five cars are slated to take the green flag for the 100-minute race, 16 of them GTD cars. With minimal passing opportunities and a full race track, qualifying, pit lane performance and race strategy will be critical to a win at Long Beach.

 

Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are no strangers to Long Beach, but once again they face a familiar circuit in an unfamiliar vehicle: the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R. It will be the duo’s first time running the GTD car on a street circuit. The Porsche offers more forgiving suspension, plus traction control and ABS, as compared to the Prototype Challenge car they raced together at Long Beach in 2012, 2013 and 2016.

 

Noteworthy

  • CORE won the PC class at Long Beach in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • This year’s Long Beach race is earlier in the day (1pm local time) than previous years.
  • CORE’s No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 will be on display for fans at Thunder Thursday in the Pike Outlets. The event starts at 6:30pm local time.
  • Long Beach is the only race that will be broadcast live, in its entirety on FOX.
  • IMSA shares the weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series and Pirelli World Challenge.

 

 

 

Jon Bennett
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“Colin and I have had good results at Long Beach in recent years and we are both excited to bring the Porsche GT3 R to the streets of Long Beach. The Porsche’s sophisticated suspension is more compliant than the prototype; this will give us the freedom to use more of the race course, including the curbs.

 

“The set up is tough at Long Beach because the race course is constantly changing grip level from the first session right through the end of the race. We will start with a set up that suits a slippery surface and adapt to the grip for every on track outing.

 

“Traffic will be a challenge and should be quite interesting for the race fans. The speeds of the GTLM and GTD cars are similar. Combined, there will be 25 GT type cars. Finding passing opportunities for the faster prototypes will be a challenge in many areas of the circuit.

 

“Our team’s spirits are high despite our slower than usual start. We all understand the ups and downs of motorsport. We also realize the effort required to adapt to a new race car platform. Despite the quality of the 2017 GTD field, I expect to see CORE autosport on the top of the podium in the near future.”

 

 

Colin Braun
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“I think the biggest change from PC to GTD is going to be how the classes interact together. In the PC cars we were the second-fastest class on track, but with the GTD cars, we’ll be the slowest class, so the interaction might be a bit easier, but we’ll have more cars to contest with. A lot of people are unsure what to expect on the GTD side, because it’s the first time this class has gone to Long Beach. I’m as interested as anyone to see what it will look like.

 

“The biggest challenge for us when it comes to setup is the schedule. We’re the first thing on track Friday morning and it’s usually very dusty and dirty. We have all of our practice and qualifying on Friday and then we don’t race until Saturday afternoon. It’s hard to set your car up for what the race will be like when there’s a lot more rubber and grip on the track. We’re always trying to set it up to be strong on Saturday and trying to know what that feels like on Friday is always a challenge.

 

“Going from a PC car to a GTD car, we’ll be able to use a little bit more of the apex curving. We won’t be getting any closer to the wall though; I’ve already been scraping all of those in some fashion or other in the PC car! There’s not a lot more room to be had! It should be a nice addition for us to have traction control and ABS though, which we did not have the last time we were at Long Beach.”

 

 

 

BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach | April 7- 8

Track Length: 1.968 miles, 11 turns

Race Length: 100 minutes

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Friday, April 7

10:40am – 12:40pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)

7:45pm – 8:10pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

8:20pm – 8:35pm: Qualifying (GTD Class)

Saturday, April 8

12:45pm – 1:30pm: Driver Autograph Session

4:05pm – 5:45pm: BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Friday, April 7

7:30pm – 9:15pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Saturday, April 8

4:00pm – 6:00pm: FOX

Full flag-to-flag coverage is available on FOX Sports GO with FS1 authentication

 

LIVE Race International:

3:50pm – 5:45pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com