BOWMANVILLE, Canada (July 21, 2013) – CORE autosport earned its second Prototype Challenge win of 2013 in the American Le Mans Series, taking the checkered flag by more than 25 seconds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The GT squad fought hard for an eighth-place finish, the best of all the Porsche entries.
Colin Braun and Jon Bennett’s run to a PC win began before the green flag even waved, when the class polesitter was moved to the back of the grid for changing tires between qualifying and the race. This promoted the No. 05 ORECA FLM09 from second to first on the grid, which was originally set by points as Saturday’s qualifying session was cut short by a red flag.
Starting from the top spot, Bennett was swallowed by a wolf pack of PC traffic and opted to drive a conservative race in the opening laps to avoid a potential accident. His choice proved wise, as attrition slowly moved him up the order. Just when it appeared the No. 05 was on a path to victory, Bennett suffered a cut tire while running third.
When Braun took over the wheel of the No. 05, he had a tough task ahead of him: come back from nearly two laps down. But the Texas kid delivered, attacking the PC class and setting the PC race lap record at CTMP, a 1:10.962 (124.748 mph). Braun’s speed combined with flawless pit stops brought the No. 05 through the PC field to victory. It was the team’s second win of 2013, the first coming at Long Beach in April.
CORE autosport now leads the PC Team Championship and Braun the PC Drivers’ Championship.
Tom Kimber-Smith and Patrick Long also had a tough task ahead of them in the highly competitive GT category. The No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR started from seventh on the grid and was in the middle of an all-Porsche battle when contact with a P2 car knocked Kimber-Smith back to 10th. He was able to work his way back to eighth before handing the car over to Long near the one-hour mark.
Long also spent the majority of his race in an all-Porsche battle with Team Falken Tire and Paul Miller Racing. Whilst working through a never-ending train of traffic, Long was able to hold off the other Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, crossing the finish line in eighth.
In addition to his PC driving duties, Bennett continued his IMA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, collecting a pair of 11th place finishes. Bennett advanced an impressive six positions in both races.
Driver: No. 05 ORECA FLM09
“I was at the tail end of a fast PC train with lots of paint trading and I decided the smarter thing to do was to wait and see what happens—we still had two hours and 45 minutes to go. After about 45 minutes, the paint trading got to a point where people started disappearing and the next thing I know I was P2 and P3 and things were going great.
“Unfortunately, I picked up a big chunk of rubber that broke the carbon fiber louver above the tire. Over time, that louver cut the tire. It happened right after the pit entrance, so I had to do a lap with a flat left-front tire. The team did a good job making the tire change. The other thing we didn’t see coming is the wheel that has the flat tire is also the sensor for maintaining pit speed. So the wheel wasn’t really turning at the right speed and that got us a pit speed violation.
“I handed the car off to Colin and our bad luck started to drift to other teams. It was a fantastic drive from Colin and the next thing you know we’re P1. Colin was able to hold that until the end.”
Driver: No. 05 ORECA FLM09
“It’s unfortunate that Jon had a rough stint. I knew we had a fast car and we were going to have good pit stops. We executed and we stuck to our game plan. I put my head down and tried to go as fast as I could. We had really good pit stops and were able to overcome the deficit and get the race win, which is what we’re all about.
“I would have loved to have pole number four of five this year, but I think the performance today proved we had the car to beat all weekend. I’m happy to get the win and I’m proud of all the CORE autosport guys that did a heck of a job today.”
“Ultimately, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs were the only cars we could fight with over a stint. We had some intense battles with the Falken car and I think our strategy and our tire wear prevailed and for that I’m proud that we fought some more experienced teams with an equal car. Unfortunately, in the big scheme of things, we were outside the window of being competitive today.
“The race demanded a lot of physical and mental energy, not because I was discouraged, but because the car was difficult to hold on to. The faster I drove it, the more violent it was. With that, it was about fighting for every lap regardless of the position and being proud that, although we didn’t finish where we wanted to finish, we beat some really professional teams and we did the best with what we had.”
Driver: No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
“When we were running on our own, we were quick, but I kept getting held up. The track was very hard to overtake on because of the fast corners. As soon as you went off line, you’re in the runoff, so it’s a tricky course to overtake on. Every time I made good progress forward, I got sent back, because I’d be trying to overtake or was in the middle of being overtaken, and 99 percent of the time I was really unlucky with track position.
“We were off the pace today. We struggled all weekend with the balance of the car, but I think it’s the nature of the circuit, especially after they laid that new tarmac down; it seems to have really upset the Porsche and not the rest of the cars as much.”