CORE autosport scores podium finish at inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix
BALTIMORE, MD, Saturday, September 3, 2011: It was a good old-fashioned street fight for the CORE autosport Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) team in today’s Baltimore Grand Prix featuring the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón, with Frankie Montecalvo and Jon Bennett scoring a podium finish.
With a capacity crowd on hand, the #05 Bayshore Recycling / Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 driven by Bennett and Frankie Montecalvo finished third in the LMPC class (fifth overall).
After starting on the LMPC pole position, the sister #06 Excel Consultants / Composite Resources machine, driven by Ricardo Gonzalez and Gunnar Jeannette, was plagued by an ongoing electronics malfunction but managed to eke out a fourth-place LMPC finish (seventh overall).
The two-hour event began with Ricardo Gonzalez starting in the #06 up front and Jon Bennett in the #05 in fifth spot, behind a number of GT cars. Gonzalez immediately pulled out to a considerable lead over other LMPC contenders until a mere 22 minutes into the event the car began experiencing electronics issues, causing it to crawl around the track. The #06 was able to be re-fired and rejoined the race in sixth spot, 18th overall.
A yellow flag brought out by a loose manhole cover allowed the CORE autosport team to strengthen its position. Bennett stayed strong, picking his way through GT traffic and handed a solid fifth place car to Montecalvo. Using clever pit strategy, the team was able to get a lap back for the #06 car and Gonzalez turned the car over to Jeannette.
For the last 50 minutes, Montecalvo and Jeannette were on a mission to gain track position. Montecalvo was able to work his way up to third spot and Jeannette was able to make up considerable ground to finish fourth.
With these results, the 2011 LMPC championship has tightened considerably, with a mere one point separating the driver championship for the #06 car and the team championship down to a two point separation. Two rounds remain in the 2011 ALMS season for the drivers and first-year team to extend their lead.