ALTON, VA, Friday, September 14, 2012: Faster than a blink of an eye. The difference of two inches over more than three miles. That was the margin of success for CORE autosport’s pole winner Colin Braun in today’s American Le Mans Series (ALMS) qualifying session at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).
Braun piloted the #05 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 around the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit a mere .001 seconds and .002 mph over second place starter Kyle Marcelli, scoring the pole position in the highly contested Prototype Challenge (PC) class for Saturday’s four-hour VIR 240.
It wasn’t until the end of the session that he drove a lap of 1:14.006 with an average speed of 116.548 mph, scoring the first PC-class starting spot (seventh overall after the faster P1 and P2 machines).
This is the second pole position for Braun and the #05 in 2012 (the other was at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in July) and his second pole position at VIR in sports cars – his first was in 2007 in GRAND-AM Series competition. As this is the inaugural event at VIR for the ALMS, Braun also set a qualifying track record.
Tom Kimber-Smith, behind the wheel of the #06 Soloson Import sister car, was ranked in third place in the PC class (ninth overall) with a best lap time of 1:41.269 at 116.245 mph.
Since the team’s arrival at VIR, CORE autosport has been at the top of all timing charts, with the #05 and #06 cars coming off the transporters running very quickly against the ever-competitive PC class. Braun and his #05 co-driver, team owner and founder Jon Bennett, were the quickest in practice on Thursday and Friday morning. #06 drivers Kimber-Smith and lead driver Alex Popow were second in both Friday practice sessions.
The VIR 240 is crucial to the 2012 ALMS PC driver championship. Popow leads the standings over Bennett/ Braun by 32 points coming into this event, the penultimate round of the 10-race 2012 ALMS season.
The Rock Hill, SC-based team clinched its second consecutive ALMS PC team championship in August at Road America.
Prior to tomorrow’s race, CORE autosport will be holding a live auction in the ALMS paddock area benefiting the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, with many exclusive team items for bid. Acting as the auctioneer will be pole-winner Braun, and he will be joined by other team drivers and crew members. The auction starts at 12:15 p.m. (ET), just after the ALMS autograph session.
Upon the 2:30 p.m. (ET) start of the VIR 240 on Saturday, September 15th, Bennett will pilot the #05 and Popow will drive the #06 before turning their steeds over to Braun and Kimber-Smith, respectively.
Source: CORE autosport