CORE autosport begins its Prototype Challenge (PC) Title defense at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Rolex 24 marks the first race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the product of a merger between the American Le Mans Series where CORE autosport has competed since 2011, and the Rolex Sports Car Series. It is also the first time the PC class will race at Daytona International Speedway.
Though it will be CORE's first Rolex 24, the team's experienced driver lineup has 24 starts at Daytona between them. Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are joined by Mark Wilkins and James Gue for this world-famous endurance event.
"Competing in the Rolex 24 is something I’ve thought about for a long time. In some ways I’m looking forward to doing the Rolex 24 for the first time… the second time. We were able to do it with a DP team last year and it was fantastic. It was a new race, a new team and new car for me, so it was a little hard to get in the saddle. Now I’m in a car that I’m comfortable with, a co-driver that I’m comfortable with and a team that I’m certainly comfortable with.
"Last year taught me a lesson about taking chances, but pacing yourself for 24 hours and being there at the end. While it’s important to go fast, it’s also important to keep going.
"It’s going to be exciting to see our new Series have its debut race, but in many ways it’s just our next event. It’s a little longer than what we’ve done in the past, but in terms of execution, so much is the same. Our team is one unit, excited to be back to work and back to racing after our winter break."
"The Rolex 24 is one of the biggest races in the world. It's a race every driver wants to win and one I've been coming to since I was a kid, tagging along with my dad. I got my big break at the Rolex 24 in 2005 when I was part of the Team 16 project. Arriving through the tunnel at Daytona knowing that I would be driving, was a moment I'll never forget. Now I'm making my 10th consecutive start and every year that goes by that I don't get one of those watches, it makes me want the win that much more.
"The dedication and preparation of the CORE autosport team has us in a good place to be in the hunt for a win. This is the first time the PC class will race at Daytona, so all of the teams are in the same boat in terms of experience. The PC class has always been really competitive and now add to that a new track and an influx of talented drivers and I think you'll see this race come down to the wire, even after 24 hours of racing. There's a lot of new rules and procedures for everyone to get used to, especially in the pits, and those penalties will add up fast, so being mistake-free, for sure, will play a big role in this race. We have a strong lineup with Jon, Mark, James and myself, so I'm really looking forward to the green flag on Saturday."
"I'm really excited to be joining CORE autosport for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. They have won the championship the past three years in the PC class, so they know a thing or two about what it takes to win! I feel fortunate to be a part of such a great team; and also to be part of the first race of the new unified series.
"I really like the PC category; being a spec class means there is more of an emphasis on the team and driver to do a good job and not who can outspend who. The class has a great format not to mention its fun driving a car with higher downforce and carbon brakes!
"The team had a good test a few weeks ago. I was able to do a few laps on the final day and got comfortable right away. I've I think the team is in a very good spot heading into the race."
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to drive for CORE autosport once again. This is the team you want to be with if you’re racing in the PC category and it’s going to be a lot of fun partnering with Jon and Colin for the team’s first-ever Rolex 24 experience. I'll also be participating in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series, so it'll be a busy week for me!
“I’ve raced in every Rolex 24 since 2004 and hope I can be a helpful resource for the team throughout the week. The PC car was everything I'd hope it would be at the test and should be a blast to race. I’ve finished on the podium three times now at the Rolex 24, but I’m still chasing a win. I’d love to make it to the top step with Jon, Colin, James and CORE.”