Jon Bennett qualified the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 fifth for Saturday’s TUSC race featuring the Prototype Challenge class.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (June 6, 2014) – In the team’s first visit to Kansas Speedway, Jon Bennett qualified the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 fifth for Saturday’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race featuring the Prototype Challenge class.
Bennett had the dubious honor of taking to the track for qualifying without having turned a single lap in practice. The 15-minute qualifying session was his first glimpse of the 2.37-mile road-course/oval. When forced to choose between his son’s high school graduation in Rock Hill, S.C., and the opening rounds of Kansas practice, Bennett chose his son Austin’s graduation. He hopped on a plane with his son immediately after the ceremony and arrived at the track shortly before qualifying at 10:45 pm local time.
Without any previous experience on the circuit, Bennett used the qualifying session to get his bearings. He qualified an impressive fifth place in his first-ever TUDOR qualifying session with a lap of 1:12.597 (117.526 mph).
The format for the Kansas event is different from anything the PC class has encountered before. Not only is the class combined with the IMSA Prototype Lites field, but Saturday’s race will be split into two 45-minute segments. Jon will start the No. 54 in the first segment at 4:15 pm CT. The second segment will grid based on the finishing positions from the first segment and will not start until 10:15 pm. Co-driver Colin Braun, who led all three practice sessions at Kansas Speedway on Friday, will drive the second segment. Points will be awarded to both drivers based on the finishing position from the second segment.
Saturday’s Grand Prix of Kansas will not be televised, but live timing and scoring is available at IMSA.com.
Jon Bennett (Driver: No. 54 ORECA FLM09): “My day’s been pretty strange. I just arrived at the track about 30 minutes ago. I’m very fortunate for all the work done by my co-driver Colin Braun and by Tom Brown on the engineering side. I had a very pleasant car to drive. After about two laps, you figure out which way to go and the rest is just polishing. I would have liked to qualify a little bit higher, but the class is grouped pretty tightly. All in all I’m pleased with how things went.
“I think I could probably find another half-second. It’s tempting fate going deeper and deeper into the slow corners and better understanding the brake points. More importantly, if you miss a brake point, how do you fix it without losing time? Those are the subtleties that come with more track time.
“It’s a cool track and bit more interesting than I was expecting to see. I realized this track is banked, but it’s a flatter banking than what we’ve run before and it generates a lot of lateral force. It’s pretty fun actually!
“I always believe that when it rains, it rains for all of us. It’s always about searching for the limit of the car; and wet or dry, it’s still the same objective. If it rains, that’d be fine.”