All posts in “Rolex 24”

CORE Adds Endurance Champions Dumas and Duval to Daytona Lineup

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Nov. 30, 2017) – For its Prototype class debut, CORE autosport has recruited Romain Dumas and Loïc Duval to its driver lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The two Frenchmen will join Jon Bennett and Colin Braun for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

 

Dumas and Duval are both former FIA World Endurance Champions and overall winners at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 

A Porsche Factory Driver, Dumas won the 2016 FIA WEC Championship in a Porsche 919 Hybrid with teammates Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. He’s won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times; in 2010 driving an Audi R15, in 2013 at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR and in 2016 with the Porsche 919 Hybrid. Dumas has also collected wins at the 24 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Nüburgring.

 

Duval is an Audi Factory Driver, the 2013 FIA WEC Champion and 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, both titles with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish in an Audi R18.

 

Not only do Dumas and Duval bring exceptional endurance racing experience to CORE, but both drivers have prior experience in the ORECA 07 Gibson, taking part in various rounds of the 2017 FIA WEC.

 

Duval made his debut at Daytona in 2017 (driving an ORECA 07 Gibson), while Dumas has made five appearances and finished as high as third in class (2002 and 2008). Neither has tasted victory at Daytona, which is something CORE can boast, having climbed the top step in its first attempt in 2014.

 

CORE is confident this powerhouse driver lineup paired with its IMSA experience will help it achieve success again at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, January 27 – 28.

 

 

“I am excited to share our new ORECA 07 with an amazing group of all-star teammates. Both Romain Dumas and Loïc Duval are simply two of the most talented race drivers in the world. Both Romain and Loïc have unmatched experience in 24 hour endurance competitions. In the trophy case, both Romain and Loïc have proof of the day they stood upon the podium as overall champion at Le Mans. I know Colin [Braun] and I share our new teammates’ passion for adding the Rolex 24 overall win to our collection of victories.

 

“Our team principle, Morgan Brady, was instrumental in searching the world for the best endurance drivers. We have developed many great relationships since CORE’s beginnings in 2010. These relationships and Morgan’s talent for understanding personalities and strong team chemistry brought us to this incredible opportunity for us all.”
– JON BENNETT

 

 

“I’m really happy to go back to Daytona. For a long a time I’ve been looking to come back, but Dakar is always at the same time. This year, as soon as I get the opportunity with CORE, I decided not to do Dakar.

 

“Loïc and I were teammates at Audi in 2012 and as soon as I heard it was a possibility for him to be part of the team, I was very enthusiastic. We live very close to each other—eight miles away—so we have a good relationship. It was clear when I spoke with him that we are there to achieve the best result and we are old enough to understand that we are here for the team and that’s very important for Daytona.

 

“I drove this car [ORECA 07 Gibson], this year at Le Mans with Alpine and at Spa. I know it’s a very cool car. I think its pace will be pretty good. I know we have a lot of competition ahead of us. First, we have to do our own race, without looking at everyone else, then the race will come to us if we are doing a good job.”
– ROMAIN DUMAS

 

 

 

Loïc Duval

“Going to Daytona for a racing driver means a lot. It was good to be there. The most impressive thing for me was the banking. When you’re in those corners and you’ve never done an oval or anything like that, it’s impressive to see the angle you can take.

 

“The main thing I know about CORE is they are the GT factory team for Porsche and to be honest that is about it. I spoke a little but with Romain and he explained to me about how professional the team is. It wasn’t a surprise though, because when you are a factory team for Porsche it means a lot already. I knew that the team was first class.

 

“I’ve been doing some testing back in Europe and I was racing in Bahrain in WEC in the ORECA. It’s definitely good training for me because I will not race any car from now to Daytona, so I’m quite sharp in the LMP2 ORECA, which for me also makes a lot of sense to be fully fit for Daytona.”
– LOÏC DUVAL

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 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 Starts Rolex 24 from PC Front Row

DAYTONA, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2015) – CORE autosport will defend its Rolex 24 at Daytona crown from the front row of the Prototype Challenge grid. Colin Braun narrowly missed pole position, qualifying second.

CORE’s ‘drive for five’ PC Championships begins this weekend at Daytona International Speedway where the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is kicking off. Last year, CORE’s victory at Daytona was the start of a remarkable season that culminated in CORE’s fourth PC Team Championship, the PC Driver Championship for Jon Bennett and Colin Braun and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup titles for both team and drivers.

Braun is the defending polesitter for the PC class at Daytona. It looked as though he was en route to two in-a-row today, until Johnny Mowlem and the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports car began to exchange provision pole times with Braun. On his final flyer, Mowlem claimed the top spot, putting the No. 54 CORE autosport/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 second on the PC grid with a lap of 1:42.498 (125.037 mph). Braun’s 2014 Daytona qualifying lap record of 1:41.777 still stands.

New IMSA regulations require the qualifying driver start the car in the race, so Braun will take the green flag in Saturday’s grueling Rolex 24 at Daytona. He will share the car with the same roster of drivers that won last year’s race: Jon Bennett, James Gué and Mark Wilkins. The green flag waves at 2:10p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 24.

The Rolex 24 will be broadcast live on FOX from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 24. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., FOX Sports 2 will take over and then hand off coverage to FOX Sports 1 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The overnight shift, 10 p.m. – 7 a.m. will be streamed on IMSA.com, with FOX Sports 1 taking viewers from 7 a.m. to the checkered flag.

Live scoring and in-car cameras are available throughout the race at IMSA.com.

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“Qualifying wasn’t too bad, and we were P1 most of the session. I think I just waited too long to get us a gap and we ended up doing one less lap than everyone else. These Continental Tires seem to get better and better as you run. Of course, it would have been nice to be on the pole, but I think we have a really good racecar. That’s certainly what we’ve been focusing more on than just raw speed, so we’re pretty happy.

“The key to the race on Saturday is to stay out of trouble, make good decisions in traffic and make sure we’re there at the end. So much can happen in the first 20 hours of the race. If we can stay in it and stay close, we’ll be fine.”
-Colin Braun

CORE Seeks Repeat Rolex 24 Victory

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will officially begin this week at Daytona International Speedway, where Round One, the grueling Rolex 24 at Daytona, will go green on Saturday, Jan. 24.

CORE autosport is the defending Prototype Challenge category race winner at Daytona. The No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex-Box ORECA FLM09 crossed the finish line one lap ahead of its nearest competitor and in ninth-place overall. It marked the start of championship season number four for CORE, who would also go on to collect the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup in the PC category.

The driver and crew lineup from last year’s race-winning effort returns in 2015 to attempt a repeat. Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, James Gue and Mark Wilkins will share driving duties. At Daytona, Bennett and Braun will begin their quest to defend their 2014 PC Drivers’ Championship.

 

NOTEWORTHY

  • Team owner/driver Jon Bennett is nominated for the Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence, given to a team owner who exemplifies integrity and passion for the sport.
  • Colin Braun was the 2014 Rolex 24 PC Polesitter with a lap of 1:41.777.
  • Braun was the quickest PC driver in Daytona testing this month, fast lap of 1:41.769.
  • Bennett, Braun and Wilkins will visit Camp Boggy Creek, an official IMSA Charity, on Wednesday.
  • Braun’s brother Travis is currently a finalist in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest. His ad and voting can be found here.

 

 

15-CORE-JB-Headshot“CORE autosport had a productive test at this year’s Roar Before the 24. We were impressed with the new power in our less-restricted Chevy motors. We are hoping to see regulations that improve our top speed on the oval to help separate the classes. We spent most of the Roar experimenting and not concentrating on outright lap time. Watching Colin at the top of the timesheet for several sessions was a bonus for our team.

 

“Starting the season with a 24-hour race can be stressful. There is a lot of effort that goes into a 24-hour race. An extremely busy December pays dividends in January (usually). Compared to last year, CORE autosport now has a successful template to work from. Last year, CORE was preparing for our first 24-hour race ever and building a full-on factory program with our partner Porsche North America.

 

“I am very proud to have our motorsports company recognized with the nomination for the Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence. Every member of CORE has performed with excellence and teamwork beginning the day we opened our doors. I am thrilled with the success we have achieved together and it would be an honor to accept this prestigious award for my teammates.”
– Jon Bennett

 

 

 

15-CORE-CB-Headshot“After last year, we certainly know what it takes to win. It’s nice to be doing it again with the same group of people. I think it gives you a little bit of comfort knowing that we already did it and now we just need to do it again. Being the type of organization that we are, I don’t think we get caught up in the hype or pressure. We’re a group of guys that want to win everything we compete in, so I think we’re feeling the same way about it we did last year. If anything, we put the pressure on ourselves to do a good job.

 

“As with all these events, it’s not just about ‘saving the race car.’ Obviously, we’ve got to be smart and make good decisions in traffic, but by no means are we pacing ourselves or taking it easy or driving at 95 percent. We’re going as hard as we can the whole event. Goal number one is to get to the end of the race, but other than that it’s a full on sprint race.

 

“I think my favorite time to drive is the middle of the night. There’s not as much going on, traffic’s thinned out and everyone’s just doing their thing. For the most part everyone is making smart choices. It’s a lot of fun because it has a good rhythm and flow to it.

 

“With IMSA’s rule package we have a very unique rule set compared to what a lot of the other classes have. It is tremendously difficult to pass the GTLM cars with their straight-line speed, but also frustrating to deal with the GTD cars because we are so much faster than them, but we can’t pass them on the banking at all. It’s a little bit of a head scratcher. It’s going to make for a long event, but that’s something that will be the same for everybody.”
– Colin Braun

 

 

 

15-CORE-JG-Headshot“The Roar test was very productive; everything went to plan and we were able to accomplish everything on our list. We even were able to do a little bit of running in the rain. All in all, I was very happy with the test and it felt like we just picked up where we left off last year. As usual (engineer) Tom [Brown], (crew chief) Eric [Van Bibber] and all the guys at the shop gave us a great car.

 

“I think the hardest part of the 24-hour race is the mental aspect and being able to adapt very quickly to changing conditions like the weather, car problems, fatigue etc. It is hard to get yourself to shut down and get rest in between stints, but it’s essential that you do otherwise you’ll be worn out before you get to the end.

 

“I think you’ll find most drivers enjoy driving at night; I find that the most enjoyable time. There is something about night time driving that gives you a different level of focus; all the lighting at Daytona blocks out a lot of the visual distractions you would see in the day time. The other time of race that is a favorite of mine is when the sun rises on Sunday morning, as it comes up it re-energizes everyone and it’s a reminder that the finish is near.

 

“The key to winning the race is a combination of many things but it usually comes down to preparation and sticking to your plan. Speed is important, but when you look back at the history of the race it is usually won by being consistent, smart in traffic, staying out of trouble and the team’s ability to deal with adversity. Every team will face unforeseen challenges during the race, and many times success hinges on how well you deal with it. I think one of the keys to CORE’s success over the years is how well prepared and organized they are.”

– James Gue

 

 

15-CORE-MW-Headshot“The Roar test went very well. The car ran flawlessly and the pace was spot on. The balance of the car is where we want it to be for a 24-hour race and I think we are well positioned for the race.

 

“I think the real take away from last year’s race is how we achieved the result. We collectively focused on execution, kept the car out of trouble and ran a strong but smart pace. I think we will utilize a similar mindset going into this year’s Rolex 24.

 

“I’d say the toughest part of a 24-hour race is the moment you wake up after a short sleep, in the middle of the night, exhausted and you have to prepare to go flat out. The mind and body say sleep and you have to push through that and get focused. This is certainly one of the most grueling aspects.

 

“So many factors are involved in winning the Rolex 24. I’d say the key factor is the people. Without a great team, it’s certainly a hard one to win. Everyone at CORE is outstanding at what they do and they have every detail covered. It’s the little things that make the difference.”
– Mark Wilkins

 

 

 

Rolex 24 at Daytona | Jan. 22 – 25

 

VENUE

Track Length: 3.56 miles, 12 turns

Race Length: 24 Hours

SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

Thursday, January 22

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 23

11:25am – 12:25pm: Practice #4 (All Classes)

Saturday, January 24

11:30am – 12:15pm: Driver Autograph Session

12:45pm – 1:45pm: Pre-Race / Open Grid

2:10pm: Green Flag

Sunday, January 25

2:10pm: Checkered Flag

 

TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)

LIVE Qualifying:

Thursday, January 22

4:00pm – 5:30pm: IMSA.com

LIVE Race U.S.:

Saturday, January 24

2:00pm – 4:00pm: FOX

4:00pm – 8:00pm: FOX Sports 2

8:00pm – 10:00pm: FOX Sports 1

Overnight (Jan. 24 – 25)

10:00pm – 7:00am: IMSA.com

Sunday, January 25

7:00am – 2:30pm: FOX Sports 1

 

LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary:

IMSA.com

 

 

CORE autosport Tops Daytona Testing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2015) – CORE autosport kicked off its 2015 season at the Roar Before the 24, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s official test session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. After three days of testing, CORE’s No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex-Box ORECA FLM09 came out on top of the Prototype Challenge times.

With eight total sessions spread from Friday through Sunday, drivers Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, James Gue and Mark Wilkins had plenty of time to put the No. 54 through its paces, feel out different track conditions and practice pit stop procedures. This included a night session on Saturday and a wet session on Sunday morning. Having checked off all it’s test items, the team opted to skip Sunday’s final session to get a head start on its trip back to Rock Hill, S.C.

Beautiful conditions on Saturday morning brought about the fastest times of the weekend. It was in Practice 3 that Braun set the fastest PC time of the event, a 1:41.769 (125.932 mph). Braun’s PC pole time for the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona was a 1:41.777 (125.922 mph).

CORE’s roster of drivers and crew remains largely unchanged and it is with this group that it won the 2014 Rolex 24 race. The time to defend that victory is now less than two weeks away. The Rolex 24 at Daytona goes green, Saturday, Jan. 24 at 2:10pm ET and will be broadcast live on FOX until 4pm, when coverage will switch to FOX Sports 2.

 

15-CORE-headshot-CB-helmet“Yeah, I think everything was good to go off the truck. We had a list of things we wanted to work through and try and continue to build on from last year. We were just checking things off the list. It’s nice when you show up at a test and it’s the same group of personnel. I think that’s a real big help for us. Nobody had to get used to anything, they just got right to work.
 
“I think we had enough clear track time that we were able to accomplish what we wanted, but also get a taste of what it’s like in traffic. I think we definitely had less cars on the entry list and that made it a bit easier to get clear laps than in years past.
 
“We have a reasonable grip on the new rules now. We had a mid-day rule change on the first day of testing. That keeps you on your toes, but we’re adaptable and ready to figure it out and that’s what makes us a strong group.
 
“We feel really prepared and ready to go. Obviously there’s not a whole lot of time between now and the 24-hour race like there has been in year’s past, so the boys have a lot of work to do to get the car ready to go, but we’ve got good people in place and they know what to do. There’s not enough time to work on a whole lot, so I’m really glad we put in a lot of time preparing over the off season. We knew the short break was coming and we’re ready to go!”