CORE autosport completed three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway during the ‘Roar Before the 24.’ The event is the final IMSA-sanctioned test before the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the official kick-off to the brand new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
On an uncharacteristically cold day in Daytona Beach, Colin Braun topped the PC practice times in the very first session. Braun’s 1:42.468 lap could not be topped on Friday, but as the temperatures climbed, speeds rose. After eight sessions, over three days, Braun’s time stood as second-quickest of the weekend, just 0.107-second shy of the top spot.
Braun shared driving duties for the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 with team owner Jon Bennett and Canadian Mark Wilkins as CORE autosport prepared for its first ever Rolex 24 at Daytona and it’s first race on a roval. The team also welcomed back race engineer Tom Brown, who helped the team win the first of three American Le Mans Series PC Team Championships in 2011.
“It was nice to get a solid test in with the car. It was neat that we had three different kinds of weather over the last three days, which really helps with tuning. We’re starting to gel as a crew with our new engineer Tom Brown and I think we have a nice package for 2014. It’s been good to sit down, get back to work, see everyone in the paddock and start the season.
“Tom was with us in 2011 for our first season in the American Le Mans Series and did race engineering on the No. 06 for half a season. He did very well and has a wealth of experience. It’s really going to add depth to our program.
“We don’t spend much time thinking about the championship. We think about how well do we execute each day. It seems if you focus on how you perform each day and don’t get too excited with the ups and don’t get too disappointed with the downs, then you get the best result you can get. I think we’ll stick with that formula.”
The car was pretty good off the truck. Our best time of the whole weekend was in the first session. We ran through a lot of setup matrixes and changes to try and build our database of information for Daytona, which is a roval that has its own unique characteristics. We’ve succeeded in collecting a good deal of data and we all got a lot of seat time.
“For us, the high-banked roval is a little bit of a new experience. We’re working on blending the low speed corners and fast straightaways, and also working in traffic and learning the different speeds of the different classes. It’s all new this year. The rules in pit lane are different too. It’s a tremendous amount of new things that everyone is trying to work through. It takes time and these three days are huge for that.
“Tom Brown’s been doing a great job. He has a strong resume and brings a lot of confidence and stability to this organization. He’s worked with the team before in 2011, so he knows the infrastructure and he fits in really well. We immediately started working through setup changes and didn’t have to work too much on learning to communicate with each other."
“I’ve always enjoyed running with CORE and it’s great to bring the PC car to Daytona. It’s neat because it’s an open-top car, which traditionally is something you haven’t been able to do at Daytona. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. The PC car is really strong and durable and can take a lot and I think that’ll make for a great race car in a 24 hour race. It’s stout, reliable and fun and easy to drive.
“All the guys at CORE do an exceptional job. They’re spectacular at what they do and that’s been proven in the American Le Mans Series paddock. Now, in this new series, they’re raising the bar even higher.
“It’s my 11th Daytona. I want to win it. I’ve been third three times. I’d love to win it with Jon and Colin. We’ve got a great team together. We all know what it takes to win this race and we’re going to go after it.”