All posts in “Road Atlanta”

Two Titles in the North American Endurance Cup for New 911 RSR

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2017) – At legendary Road Atlanta, the maiden race season for the Porsche 911 RSR in the USA and Canada drew to a close with a significant success: Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner secured the GTLM-class title in the prestigious Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

 

The long-distance classics of Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen as well as Saturday’s Petit Le Mans in the US state of Georgia count towards the world’s toughest performance and reliability competition in GT racing. With the 911 RSR, developed from scratch by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach for the 2017 season, the Porsche GT Team also won the team classification. Finishing second in the manufacturers’ classification, just one point off taking home the title, Porsche beat strong competition from Chevrolet, BMW and Ferrari. At the four long-distance races of the North American Endurance Cup, teams and drivers had to underline their consistency and reliability over a total of 52 hours.

 

Petit Le Mans on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit also marked the last round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, North America’s premier sports car race series. In the hotly contested ten-hour race, Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) joined forces with a third driver, overall Le Mans winner Nick Tandy (Great Britain), to bring home sixth place in the GTLM class after 392 laps. This result was enough for the drivers and the Porsche GT Team, who travelled to the race leading the points table, to win the North American Endurance Cup. After spending long stretches on course for a podium spot, their teammates Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) were ultimately flagged off as fifth in the sister 911 RSR. The third driver in this car was Earl Bamber (New Zealand), another outright Le Mans winner from Porsche’s factory squad.

 

During its maiden race season in the USA and Canada, the new Porsche 911 RSR had already notched up numerous successes. Its first victory came on 22 July at Lime Rock, with four podium placings at Daytona, Long Beach, Elkhart Lake and Laguna Seca as well as pole position at Mosport.

 

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “We’ve clinched the first title for the new 911 RSR at this race. By winning the North American Endurance Cup for drivers and teams, we’ve shown that we were always at the front at the right time for the major endurance races and, hence, have underlined the reliability of our car over the season. For a maiden season with a completely new car, this was a good performance.”

 

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Winning the North American Endurance Cup is a great team effort. I’m thrilled to take this trophy home to Weissach as a thank you to everyone who has worked on the new 911 RSR and has supported us this season so brilliantly. This race was very tough for us. We had to fight hard to defend ourselves against the strong opposition. I’m pleased we managed it.”

 

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “Our main goal at this race was to win the North American Endurance Cup. We did that and I’m delighted for everyone in our team. It was a difficult season, and this final race, with its many incidents and safety car phases, was anything but easy. That makes this success all the more thrilling.”

 

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “It was wonderful for me to be a part of this team again on this legendary circuit and to support Patrick and Dirk in their bid to win the North American Endurance Cup. The fact that it’s also the first title for the new 911 RSR makes it even more valuable.”

 

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “We didn’t have the pace today to seriously fight for victory. We tried everything, we had a great strategy, but it wasn’t enough. I’m pleased that our teammates have won the North American Endurance Cup. That’s a terrific achievement. Now we’re looking ahead to 2018 and we’re all determined to come back even stronger.”

 

Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “What a tough fight. We lost time with the pit stop incident, when our 911 RSR caught fire briefly. However, thanks to a perfect pit stop strategy, we were able to make up that lost lap. The many spirited duels were huge fun.”

 

Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “It was great to drive the new 911 RSR at Road Atlanta. Our long runs were good, we only had problems at the restarts. Still, we fought to the flag. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to reward ourselves with a podium result.”

 

Petit Le Mans Qualifying

CORE on Eve of Final IMSA Race of 2017

CORE autosport will make its final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start of 2017 tomorrow, October 7, at the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R qualified 17th on the GT Daytona grid for Saturday’s 10-hour race.

 

Petit Le Mans represents not only the final race of the 2017 IMSA season for CORE, but also the team’s final race with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. CORE announced last month that it will switch to the Prototype class in 2018 with an ORECA.

 

Jon Bennett qualified the Porsche 17th on the grid with a lap of 1:23.379. He will take the green flag in tomorrow’s race and share the car with Colin Braun and Nic Jönsson.

 

Live TV coverage of the Motul Petit Le Mans begins at 10:30am ET on FS1 with continuing coverage on FS2 at 11:30am and 5:30pm.

 

“The car has been getting better and better all week. At some level, I’m quite happy with the qualifying results. Personally, I need a little more pace. The car is engineered well, and it’s handling well. Colin and Nic both have excellent pace.

 

“Tomorrow is a long race and I think we’re poised for success. The key will be to stay somewhat invisible and out of trouble until the sun goes down. Then it becomes a 90-minute sprint race until the end. We’ll have Colin and Nic in the car at that time, and we’ll have an excellent chance at our best result of the year.”

– JON BENNETT

IMSA Season Comes to a Close at Petit Le Mans

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Oct. 3, 2017) – It’s time for the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend at Road Atlanta.

 

CORE autosport will close out its 2017 season with the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans endurance race. Nic Jönsson will once again join Jon Bennett and Colin Braun for driving duties in the No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 R.

 

The team comes into the season finale off of its season-best finish of fourth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. There, CORE led the most GT Daytona laps before having to pit for a splash of fuel.

 

The Motul Petit Le Mans is also the final race in the Patron North American Endurance Cup, which is composed of the IMSA season races that are six hours or more in length.

 

 

Noteworthy

  • CORE won Petit Le Mans in the PC class with Alex Popow, Ryan Dalziel and Mark Wilkins in 2012.
  • CORE has earned four podium finishes in total at Petit Le Mans, all of them in the PC class.
  • This will be CORE’s last race in GTD. The team recently announced its move to the Prototype class for 2018.

 

 

 

“We were all pleased to see the CORE and Porsche colors leading the GTD field for much of the race at Laguna. We all have been pushing through our personal limits to improve our competitiveness in GTD. It was great to see the effort generate results.

 

“I believe we all embrace the basic physics of long races. While it is important to be fast and aggressive at all times, there is a bigger picture in play that involves smart choices, self-control, and a bit of luck. Our ultimate goal is to keep the car off the TV broadcast until the end!

 

“The hardest part of PLM, like the Rolex 24 and Sebring, is understanding the bigger strategy of peaking in the final minutes of the race. You need to resist the urge to attack too soon and be fast and aggressive while keeping the big picture in mind.

 

“I think a fair goal is to always improve upon your last result. If we accomplish this goal at Petit Le Mans, we should all be soaked with champagne late Saturday night.”
– JON BENNETT

 

 

 

“I feel like the momentum we bring from Laguna is a good thing. We don’t really change our approach or how hard we work based on prior results, but a good race is always boosts everyone’s spirits. The guys have been working extremely hard and I feel like it’s going to be a helpful thing going into the last race of the season for sure.

 

“The longer races are an opportunity to execute good strategy and pit stops and smart racing. Those are things that, as a team, we’re good at. Also, in terms of a driver package, I feel like that’s an area where we excel. Jon’s done a great job in the long races and over the past couple years, we’ve had some great guys joining us and it will be no different with Nic at Petit.

 

“The hardest part of Petit is the intensity of the race. It’s a relatively short lap. It’s easy to get behind. It’s not a super long race where you have a ton of time to make it up. It’s a really interesting mix of length of the track, distance of the race and the cadence of the race. It’s unlike Sebring and Daytona. Even though it’s only a few hours shorter than Sebring, it has a totally different flow to the race.

 

“Closing out the season with a win would be great. It’s been an up and down year, not by any fault of our own. I’m hopeful we can have a trouble-free event and show what we’re capable of doing. I know if we can do that, we’ll be right in the mix to contend at the end of the race.”
– COLIN BRAUN

 

 

“Compared to Daytona and Sebring it’s a shorter lap. I think the track is more physical; you don’t have a lot of time to rest. The track is a little more narrow, so you have to have a lot of patience. The darkness lasts an hour to an hour and a half and usually it brings quite a bit of excitement, because it can be hard to see where exactly the other cars are.

 

“CORE had been very successful in the PC class for a number of years and they changed to a completely different formula. That takes some time to adapt, not just for the drivers, but also for the crew. CORE is a very professional team and we had really good pace right away at Daytona and Sebring, unfortunately we didn’t have luck on our side. The crew has become more accustomed to the car and they do phenomenal pit stops.

 

“CORE has done a great job adapting to GTD this year and I think they showed that with a strong result at Laguna a couple weeks ago. Hopefully the momentum from Laguna will carry to Petit and help us finish the season with a podium.”
– NIC JÖNSSON

 

 

Motul Petit Le Mans | October 5 – 7

————————————————————

VENUE

Track Length: 2.54-miles, 12 turns

Race Length: 10 hours

 

SCHEDULE (All times Pacific)

Thursday, October 5

11:10am – 12:10pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)

3:15pm – 4:15pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

7:30pm – 9:00pm: Practice #3 (All Classes)

 

Friday, October 6

11:40am – 12:40pm: Practice 4 (All Classes)

2:30pm – 3:15pm: Driver Autograph Session

4:20pm – 4:35pm: Qualifying (GTD class)

 

Saturday, October 7

8:30am – 8:50am: Warm Up (All Classes)

9:45am – 10:45am: Open Grid

11:05am – 9:05pm: Motul Petit Le Mans

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Friday, October 6

4:10pm – 5:50pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Saturday, October 7

10:30am – 11:30am: FS1

11:30am – 2:30pm: FS2

5:00pm – 9:30pm: FS2

LIVE Race International:

10:55am – 9:05pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com

CORE Seeks Fifth Consecutive Championship

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Sept. 29, 2015) – The 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship comes to a close this weekend with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta. There, CORE autosport will attempt to collect its fifth-straight Prototype Challenge Championship.

 

CORE arrives at the season finale riding high on its recent win at Circuit of the Americas, which helped the team and drivers open their point lead to 12 over PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports. With eight PC cars entered in the Petit Le Mans, the point spread from first to eighth is exactly 12 points. CORE must finish seventh or higher to lock in the 2015 championship.

 

To help secure the team’s fifth-straight title, CORE has brought in veteran sportscar driver and Atlanta native Anthony Lazzaro to team with Jon Bennett and Colin Braun. Lazzaro has raced every category of race car and at Petit Le Mans since the event made its debut in 1998.

 

Petit Le Mans also marks the final round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, a special prize for teams who perform the best in races six hours in length or more. CORE, Bennett and Braun are currently second by three points in the TPNAEC.

 

Petit Le Mans will air live on FOX Sports 2, Saturday, Oct. 3. See below for TV schedule. Follow live timing, radio and in-car cameras at IMSA.com.

 

 

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“The brainchild of Dr. Don Panoz, the Petit Le Mans is the newest of the classic endurance races. While Petit will never eclipse the 24 hours of Le Mans or Daytona, Petit has a spotlight all its own as the closing act of IMSA’s TUDOR Series and the Patron Endurance Cup. Performing well in this event is paramount to a winning season.

 

“At Petit Le Mans, our team will add Anthony Lazzaro to the lineup. While Anthony will be new to the CORE team, his extensive success in piloting a prototype will be an asset to our effort.

 

“It is difficult to ignore the points situation going into the last event of the season. While the incoming point totals may shape some race decisions from our strategists in pit lane, from the cockpit, Colin and I prefer the same approach we have employed all season: go win the race! Certainly, winning two weeks ago at COTA has brought a welcome confidence boost to our team and valuable points leverage for our quest for the TUDOR Championship.”
– Jon Bennett

 

 

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“Petit Le Mans is a race I want to win really bad. Together, Jon and I have won Daytona, we’ve won Sebring, we’ve won Watkins Glen, we’ve won Mosport, Lime Rock, COTA… it seems like we’ve won at just about every race track except for Road Atlanta. I definitely need to get this one checked off the list!

 

“For me, having somebody come into our group like Anthony, with the experience he has—not only at Petit, but in high-downforce race cars—is great. He’s a driver that’s been in this sport for so long and driven for many different teams. I think he’ll fit into our CORE dynamic perfectly. We’ve had a test with him and we all clicked and it felt like he’d been there for years.

 

“For us, the unique challenge of Road Atlanta is that, although it is an endurance race, it seems to be a strange mix of endurance race and sprint race. It’s one of those where it seems like so many things are happening and there are lots of opportunities to make a mistake. With the way the track flows and the amount of traffic there is, you really have to be heads up at all times. It’s easy to get behind there because the laps are pretty short. It’s easy to get out of sequence on a pit stop and get a lap down. You have to cross your T’s and dot your I’s to stay out of trouble and on the lead lap.”
– Colin Braun

 

 

15-CORE-AL-Headshot“I did the very first Petit, back in 1998 in a Ferrari 333. I’ve finished second, four times. I’ve never won, but I’ve come very close. Two years ago I was with ESM in a P2 car and we lost by 1.3 seconds after leading a lot of that race. Jon, Colin and I are definitely on a mission this week.

 

“I’ve watched CORE since its inception. I’ve watched Jon drive an IMSA Lites car for a number of years. I’ve known Colin since he was a little kid and we drove together at Sebring in 2011 and I’ve known Colin’s father forever. For me, it’s a very comfortable environment as far as driving and engineering and so forth. It’s an honor to be involved with the team and certainly with our driver lineup it should be a lot of fun!

 

“Petit Le Mans has built itself into one of the premier races in the world. I think it actually started with the very first race. Road Atlanta is my home track. I’ve been going there since the 70’s and racing there since the 80’s. When I saw the crowd come for that very first race, I knew it was special. It’s only gotten better throughout the years. Don Panoz has created something spectacular. It’s a world-renowned endurance race. I want to win it so bad! It’s in my backyard!”
– Anthony Lazzaro

 

Noteworthy

  • Jon Bennett and Colin Braun have not won Petit Le Mans before. In 2014 they finished second.
  • CORE autosport won Petit Le Mans in 2012 with drivers Alex Popow, Ryan Dalziel and Mark Wilkins.
  • Anthony Lazzaro has not won Petit Le Mans, but finished second as recently as 2013 driving a P2 car.
  • This is Lazzaro’s debut in the PC category.

 

 

Point Standings
PC Team Championship

  1. CORE autosport #54   289
  2. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #52 277
  3. RSR Racing #11 275

 

PC Driver Championship

  1. J.Bennett/C.Braun   289
  2. M.Guasch/T.Kimber-Smith 277
  3. Cumming/Junqueira   275

 

Tequila Patrón NAEC

  1. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #52   36
  2. CORE autosport #54   33
  3. Starworks Motorsport #8   26

 

 

 

 

Petit Le Mans | October 1 – 3

Track Length: 2.54 miles, 12 turns

Race Length: 10 Hours

 

 

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Thursday, October 1

11:10am – 12:10pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)

3:25pm – 4:25pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)

7:30pm – 9:00pm: Practice #3 (All Classes)

 

Friday, October 2

10:05am – 11:05am: Practice #4 (All Classes)

12:30pm – 1:15pm: Driver Autograph Session

4:25pm – 4:40pm: Qualifying (PC Class)

 

Saturday, October 3

9:00am – 9:25am: Warm Up (All Classes)

9:50am – 10:50am: Open Grid

11:15am – 9:15pm: Petit Le Mans

 

 

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

 

LIVE Qualifying (Worldwide)

Friday, October 2

3:30pm – 5:15pm: IMSA.com

 

LIVE Race (U.S.)

Saturday, September 19

11:00am – 12:00pm: FOX Sports 2

12:00pm – 2:30pm: IMSA.com

2:30pm – 7:00pm: FOX Sports 2

7:00pm – 8:30pm: IMSA.com

8:30pm – 9:30pm: FOX Sports 2

 

LIVE Race (Outside U.S.)

Saturday, September 19

11:00am – 9:30pm: IMSA.com

 

Race Highlights (U.S.)

Sunday, October 4

1:30pm – 4:30pm: FOX Sports 1

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com (http://www.imsa.com) & IMSA App (http://www.imsa.com/all-new-mobile-app)

Four for CORE

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct 5, 2014) – CORE autosport wrapped up the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar season with a treasure chest of hardware including a podium finish at Petit Le Mans, top Prototype Challenge honors in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup and it’s fourth-straight PC Team Championship.

Colin Braun started the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 fourth on the PC grid. He quickly climbed to the top of the PC class on restart from the race’s first of many cautions and lead the next 30 minutes of the race until it was time for the first pit stop.

Braun pitted from first and returned to the track in third. As traffic picked up, Braun battled between fourth, fifth and sixth positions until another full-course caution. The team chose to pit from fifth for fuel only and returned to track in second place, which enabled Braun to take over the lead for a time after the restart.

Braun handed the car off to teammate Jon Bennett in fourth. Despite multiple yellows, Bennett held a strong position in the top five for most of his run. Nearly halfway into the race, Bennett pitted under yellow from fifth for a driver change to James Gué.

Gué kept the car clean and held it in a good spot battling between fourth and fifth place. Gué handed the car back to Braun in third place for Braun’s closing run.

Braun again encountered multiple yellows and held the car in the top five, alternating between fourth and fifth place. With nearly 15 minutes to go, the leading No. 25 8Star car was involved in an accident on track, brining one last yellow flag. Several teams pitted during the yellow, advancing Braun to second place where he remained through the restart and all the way to the checkered flag.

The runner-up finish was more than enough to earn CORE it’s fourth-straight PC Team Championship (three in the American Le Mans Series and now one in the TUDOR Series). Bennett and Braun had already clinched the PC Drivers’ Championship a round early at Circuit of the Americas.

By simply starting the 10-hour race at Road Atlanta, CORE earned the first Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup PC Team Title. A prize awarded to the team with the best finishes in the season’s four endurance rounds (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans). Bennett, Braun and Gué earned the same prize in the driver category, making for a clean sweep of the TPNAEC prizes.

Highlights from the 17th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda will air on FOX, Sunday, Oct. 5 around NFL coverage. Check your local listings.

 

driver_bennett_400x400“It’s hard to find words to describe the culmination of this season. It was kind of an unusual season as you look back. We started the season with a 24-hour race that our team had never done. To get here tonight with all of our objectives done, and done well, at the end of the day is a testament to the team and an absolute dream come true. I couldn’t be happier.

 

“We had a split strategy going into the race today. On one hand we were spring loaded to win the race, but at the same time we realized how far we’d come and what the championship implications were of the race today. While we didn’t talk about it much, I think it was in the back of all of our minds to behave ourselves and be respective of the championship we were chasing. I’m very grateful to have won the championships and to finish second on top of that. Again, it’s another testament to the strong, strong car that Eric Vanbibber built and to the CORE autosport race team.”
JON BENNETT

 

driver_gue_400x400This race was a struggle in terms of handling. We didn’t nail it quite as closely as we did at the other races. My stint wasn’t the easiest of stints, but we hung in there. We were able to hand the car over to Colin in a decent spot and within reach of the leader. It’s a fantastic result for CORE and certainly a dream season for me.

 

“To join CORE and be a part of this Patrón Endurance Cup is pretty spectacular. To get three of the biggest wins of my career and second place here at my home track is pretty big.

 

“CORE is an absolute first-class team and one of the best teams I’ve ever driven with. That’s why they get the results.”
JAMES GUÉ

driver_braun_400x400“Our goal first and foremost was to win the team championship. To win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup is a notable accomplishment as well. Obviously, we would have loved to win the race, but I’m really happy to finish second. It was a tough, challenging, long day.  There were a lot of cars and a lot of places to find trouble, but we were able to avoid the trouble and do what we needed to do to win the team championship.

 

“I had a good opening stint and led for quite a while. We had to be protective of our racecar early on to make sure we were there at the end. Jon and James did a great job today. We had great pit stops and good strategy.

 

“I thought we were fourth or fifth there at the end then the next thing I knew something happened with the leading No. 25 car. A couple other guys had to make pit stops so that moved us up to second and away we went.”
– COLIN BRAUN

 

CORE autosport to Start Fourth at Petit Le Mans

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 3, 2014) – The No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 will start the TUDOR United SportsCar season finale from fourth on the Prototype Challenge grid. Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gué will share the car for Saturday’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans event.

After skipping the morning practice session, which was red-flagged for rain, Braun took to the wheel of the No. 54 for the 15-minute qualifying session. Though the rain had stopped and several support series had since dried off the track, dark clouds loomed on the horizon as the PC cars arrived on pit lane.

Braun slotted into fourth place early in the session and remained there through the checkered flag. His times improved to the end, settling in at a 1:16.612 (119.355 mph). It may not have been a pole position, but the team ended qualifying happy with the race car they are taking into tomorrow’s Petit Le Mans endurance race.

Bennett and Braun wrapped up the PC Drivers Championship at COTA two weeks ago, but now CORE will attempt to capture its fourth-straight team championship as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. CORE currently holds an 11-point lead in the team standings and a 10-point lead in the TPNAEC standings.

Petit Le Mans goes green at 11:15 am ET on Saturday. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.com and broadcast on FOX Sports 2 beginning at 3 pm ET. A race recap will air on FOX around local NFL coverage (check your local listings).

 

14-CORE-web-Braun-Headshot“We had a rain out in the first practice session, so for qualifying we went out on a track we hadn’t really seen. It was a green track kind of for our rubber. With all of the rain earlier, we didn’t really know what to expect. Of course, we would’ve liked to qualify better. We had pace, and I thought we would have been higher than that. It’s a long race, and in the end, we’ll be fine.

 

“Overall, we’re really happy with the racecar we have and our performance all week. It’s much more about how you get through traffic, execute pit stops and how all three drivers’ pace is than it is about one flying lap. We’ll look to the race and execute a good plan and be in good shape.

 

“The key tomorrow is staying out of trouble. It’s going to be really busy with all the traffic and all of the cars. Everyone is racing hard because this is an important race.  We just got to stay smart and stay out of trouble until we get to the end and see where the chips lay.”
– COLIN BRAUN