Hard-fought podium spot for CORE autosport at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, WI, Saturday, August 20, 2011: The curtain closed on a positive note after four hours of drama for the CORE autosport Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) team in today’s Time Warner Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón.
Damaged caused by off-track excursions and repeated contact with slower GT cars required a herculean team effort by the CORE autosport crew, replacing splitters and bodywork. This hard work paid off with a third-place class finish (sixth overall) for the #05 Bayshore Recycling / Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 driven by young gun Frankie Montecalvo and team founder Jon Bennett.
Ricardo Gonzalez and Gunnar Jeannette, driving the #06 Excel Consultants / Composite Resources machine earned a fifth LMPC finishing spot (ninth overall).
After this event, round six in the nine-round ALMS season, the #06 drivers remain the 2011 LMPC driver championship points leaders, while CORE autosport still leads the 2011 LMPC team championship race.
Although Friday required a rebuild of the #05 machine after a crash in practice, Saturday’s race began in a positive way, with Gonzalez grabbing first place and Montecalvo working his way up to fifth spot despite battling GT cars.
A mere 25 minutes into the event Gonzalez spun entering turn five, resulting in contact with the wall and damaging the front splitter of the car. He re-entered the race with a damaged car and was able to work the injured #06 machine from seventh spot to fifth before the CORE autosport crew changed the front splitter, and, despite spinning again after contacting another LMPC car, was up to third spot before turning the car over to Jeannette.
Through pit strategy, the #05 car was soon in first spot, but after the opening hour of the race – just prior to Montecalvo turning the car over to Bennett, the #05 shot off of the “kink” resulting in contact requiring a nose replacement.
With less than an hour remaining in the event, Jeannette and a GTC-class Porsche made contact, resulting in a cut right rear tire, significant body damage and a limping #06 machine on the bottom of the class standings. The CORE autosport crew went to work repairing the car, and Jeannette re-entered the race to salvage the best finish he could.
Jeannette’s efforts worked as the #06 car is credited with the fastest LMPC lap of the race at 2:00.622 and a fifth place finishing spot, while the #05 met with good fortune and a combination of team strategy and smart driving by Bennett and Montecalvo resulting in a third place spot.
Viewers can watch the tape-delayed broadcast of the Time Warner Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrónon ABC-TV on Sunday, August 21 at 4:30 p.m. EST.
Next for CORE autosport is the first-ever Baltimore Grand Prix on Saturday, September 3 in the harbor area of downtown Baltimore, MD.