CORE autosport earns best GT finish and gains ground in PC Championship

Both the No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and the No. 05 ORECA FLM09 finished second in their classes in the penultimate round of the 2013 season.

ALTON, Va – CORE autosport celebrated both of its cars finishing on their American Le Mans Series class podiums at VIRginia International Raceway for the Oak Tree Grand Prix. Both the No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and the No. 05 ORECA FLM09 finished second in their classes in the penultimate round of the 2013 season.

#05 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09: Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun
#05 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09: Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun

Photo by: Jackie Buys

Starting from seventh on the GT grid, Colin Braun initially fell back in the opening laps of the two hour and 45 minute race, but a clever pit strategy had the No. 06 crew holding out longer than the rest of the class before making its second pit stop and driver change.

When a full-course yellow was issued shortly after Patrick Long climbed into the car, the team was able to pit for fuel only, which resulted in Long jumping to third in the GT order. On the restart, Long shot to the GT lead just before another full course caution came out for a big accident between a GT and GTC car in the Uphill Esses. Long did not pit during the lengthy cleanup that followed and retained the lead into the race’s final restart.

Long first had to defend the lead from the No. 3 Corvette driven by Jan Magnussen, but it was a hard charging Matteo Malucelli in the No. 62 Ferrari that soon became the bigger threat. Long did his best to hold off the Ferrari, but was overtaken exiting Turn 11 with 27 minutes remaining in the race.

His attention then turned back to Magnussen’s Corvette, which loomed in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR’s mirrors. Long’s nimble work through traffic delayed the Corvette as the minutes counted down and at the checkered flag Long held second place by 0.685-second over the Corvette. The runner-up finish marks CORE autosport’s highest GT finish since first entering the category in Round Three. It is also Braun’s first ALMS GT podium.

In PC, Jon Bennett started the No. 05 ORECA FLM09 from second and though he initially lost ground in the opening laps, he fought back to third place before handing the car over to Tom Kimber-Smith, who held onto the spot through the next pit stop. Quick work by the CORE autosport crew helped Kimber-Smith gain a position in the pits and re-enter the course in second place.

A quick stop for fuel with 50 minutes remaining slid Kimber-Smith back to third, but still within striking distance. Sure enough, with 20 minutes remaining, Kimber-Smith passed the No. 7 PC car driven by Rusty Mitchell and had second-place back in hand. Unfortunately, the gap to the leader proved to be insurmountable with the little time remaining in the race.

The runner-up finish comes on a day when CORE and Bennett’s nearest competition in the PC Championships finished fifth. CORE is now tied with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports in the Team Championship and Bennett’s deficit in the Driver Championship has narrowed to 12.

Petit Le Mans, the final round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series season and the final ALMS event ever, takes place at Road Atlanta, Oct. 16 – 19. The 10-hour race begins at 11:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 19, races into the dark and finishes at approximately 9:15 p.m. The race broadcast will alternate between FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 starting at 11 am on Oct. 19.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Teams PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports , CORE autosport
Article type Race report
Tags alms, bennett, braun, core, kimber-smith, long, oreca, porsche, vir