Lady luck was no friend of CORE autosport at Lime Rock Park. After qualifying on the Prototype Challenge pole for the latest WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round, the team was forced to exit the race early due to crash damage.
Though Colin Braun was yesterday’s PC polesitter, the team opted to put Jon Bennett in the car to start the race. The change in starting drivers meant the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 had to start from the back of the PC grid. The team knew this wasn’t an impossible obstacle to overcome; it went from last to first at Mosport two weeks ago.
Bennett moved all the way up to fourth before it was time to hand the car over to Braun, but a penalty for driving over pit equipment required Braun to return to pit lane and serve a drive-through.
Shortly after returning to the circuit, Braun was hit by a GTD car attempting to re-join the action after a spin. The hit damaged the left-rear suspension and brought the No. 54 onto pit lane for repairs. The team replaced as much as they could on pit lane before sending Braun back out, but the issue proved to be terminal and the team had to call it a day with an hour and half left in the race.
It was a trying day at Lime Rock Park for CORE autosport, but they have plenty of chances to race for wins ahead. CORE is off to its second RedBull Global RallyCross event next week in Washington D.C. and then it’s back to IMSA racing in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the first weekend in August.
“We were all braced for a relatively simple track but a complex race in terms of traffic and race strategy – when to stop and when not to stop. With some selective aggression, I was able to stay on the lead lap with the lead pack. I maintained a spot that, when handed over to Colin, would be something we could work with and head toward the win. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a lengthy stop and a penalty for running over an air hose on pit lane. It certainly wasn’t terminal for our chance to win though. Then Colin was unfortunately the victim of another driver’s mistake.
“You kind of hope at a track like Lime Rock Park that the stars will align for you and you can work your way through bad luck and things that aren’t necessarily in your control. Unfortunately, we came up on the wrong side of luck today.”
– JON BENNETT
“I jumped in the car and did a handful of laps and was behind a GTD car that ran wide off into the grass in Turn 5. I drove under him, then he spun out in the grass and stayed on the throttle. He drove into my left rear tire and spun me out wildly. There’s not too much you can do when that happens. I feel bad for the guys because they worked hard on the car. Jon did a great job bringing the car in on the lead lap for us to go to work. I would have liked to see how it played out, but that’s what sometimes happens in multi-class racing at this level.”
– COLIN BRAUN