Bennett & Braun have first shot at an overall win Sunday
Colin Braun qualified the championship-leading No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 fourth in the Prototype Challenge category at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by MAZDA. Co-driver Jon Bennett will start the car on Sunday.
Braun‘s quickest lap around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course was 1:20.453 (100.143 mph) - 0.730 seconds behind the top PC qualifier.
Braun had the fastest PC lap in practice with a time of 1:20.915 (99.571 mph) and was set to defend his 2013 Monterey PC pole. However, CORE’s afternoon practice was cut short when the team was forced to return to the garage to replace the alternator. Quick work by the crew had the car back out on pit lane and ready to qualify less than an hour later.
Braun lead the 15-minute qualifying session early, but was soon in the middle of a four-way battle for the PC pole position. The provisional polesitter swapped with each lap and when the checkered flag finally appeared, Braun found himself in fourth-place.
CORE autosport takes to the track for the Monterey Grand Prix on Sunday, May 4 at 10:15 a.m. PT, with the unique opportunity to win its first overall race and CORE’s third-consecutive PC win for 2014. This is the first time the TUDOR United Sports Car Series separates its four classes of sportscars into two races - PC and GT Daytona cars race together in the morning and Prototype and GT Le Mans cars race together in the afternoon.
Driver: No. 54 ORECA FLM09
“It was obviously not where we wanted to qualify considering we had good pace in the first practice. In the second practice we had a little mechanical thing to take care of before qualifying that was unexpected. Missing all of the second practice was a challenge going into qualifying. I didn’t see what the racetrack was going to be like or continue to work on our car between practices.
“I think all-in-all, the guys did a great job getting the part changed out. To qualify where we did isn’t too bad considering all that. We’ll look at our stuff, crunch numbers and come up with a good package for tomorrow’s race. It’s a lot different deal come race time. It’s a lot about how you get through traffic and strategy. I think we’ll be in good shape.
“I think the key tomorrow is going to be adapting to the new race format. We haven’t ever raced with just GTD cars before, and we haven’t done a two-hour race in quite a while. It’s a short race, and it’s going to go by quick. It’s going to be about being on your game and being quick, but at the same time staying out of all the carnage.”