CORE autosport gets first taste of IMSA GT3 Challenge at Sebring Winter Test

Jon Bennett and his CORE autosport team prepares for the IMSA and ALMS challenge at Sebring.

SEBRING, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2013) – Two-time American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge Champion CORE autosport turned its first laps with a new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car Tuesday and Wednesday at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for the start of the 2013 IMSA GT3 Challenge by Yokohama season. In its debut with the car, CORE came away with the second quickest time of the two-day session.

CORE autosport tests their Porsche GT3 Cup
CORE autosport tests their Porsche GT3 Cup

Photo by: Porsche Motorsport

The annual Winter Test at Sebring comes shortly after CORE’s announcement that it will add two Porsche cars to its stable. Patrick Long and Tom Kimber-Smith will drive CORE autosport’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón GT category, while team owner/driver Jon Bennett is entered in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Yokohama with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

Just as CORE is diversifying its racing program with the addition of the Porsche GT car, Bennett has enrolled in the GT3 Challenge as a means of diversifying his driving experience. Bennett has driven in the PC category for the past two seasons in ALMS and comes from a background of open-wheel and prototype cars. His PC co-driver, Colin Braun, was on hand to help coach Bennett in his new ride.

After two days of testing the GT3 Challenge car at Sebring, CORE showed it is certainly up to the task of GT racing, setting the second quickest time of the two-day test, a 2:07.442 (105.648 mph).

With those encouraging results, CORE is looking forward to the start of the 2013 GT3 Challenge season, which kicks off March 13 – 15 at Sebring International Raceway.

Jon Bennett

“The PC car is one I share with someone else. I thought it might be a more efficient use of my time to be involved in one of the support series and get more seat time and race experience that ultimately would make me a sharper driver. We considered going back to IMSA Lites, but the customer partnership with Porsche led us in the direction of the GT3 Challenge car, which is a car I’ve admired for a long time and it’s been a pleasure so far to drive that car.

“Testing’s been great. I’m still trying to figure out the puzzle that is the GT3 car and having a few sessions in the car helps to start a base line for the team. I think, overall, it was a very productive test and we’ll be back in a few weeks and ready to go.

“The trickiest part has been remembering how to drive without down force and getting back to the pure sport of driving. The Porsche is a more pure driving experience than the prototype. I have to remember to be quick with the hands and squeeze tenths of a second out of the car and I’m enjoying it.

“Hopefully the transition between the PC and GT3 Challenge car won’t be too bad on race weekends. When you strap into a different car, you’re in a different environment and I think that somewhere, deep inside, you have a program that recognizes where you are.”

Morgan Brady

“We got the car on Tuesday night at seven pm. We had two days with it in the shop, loaded it up on Friday and made our way down to Sebring. First of all, we’re absolutely impressed with the quality of the Porsche itself. Porsche says when they deliver a car it’s race track ready and that’s 100 percent accurate from what we’ve seen.

“We’ve proven ourselves over the past few days by showing up with very little work done to the car and having a successful two-day test. We came here with the objective of an opportunity for the team to learn the car and Jon to learn and adapt his driving style to the Porsche.

“In the same way that the team is getting some exposure to GT racing with the RSR program, the IMSA Challenge program is an opportunity for Jon to get exposure to GT racing and diversify his skill set as a driver.”

CORE autosport

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IMSA Others , ALMS
Drivers Colin Braun , Patrick Long , Tom Kimber-Smith , Jon Bennett
Teams CORE autosport
Article type Testing report
Tags alms, bennett, brady, braun, core autosport, imsa, porsche, sebring