CORE targeting VIR victory

Aiming to repeat Porsche VIR success

Quick off the truck at Circuit of the Americas following a complete rebuild of the No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, CORE autosport was on track for a top-five finish in Round 8 of the American Le Mans Series before a gearbox issue forced the team to retire early.

Still, the team left Texas with their heads held high after it was announced that CORE had been chosen by Porsche as its competition partner for a two-car effort in the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship. The announcement served as a ringing endorsement of what the team has accomplished in its short time in GT racing and what Porsche believes it to be capable of in the future.

Colin Braun
Driver: No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
"I really enjoy VIR, it’s one of my favorite tracks. I’ve had good success there between the Rolex Series and the PC car and all my NASCAR testing there. It’s narrow and fast and has a really good flow to it. I feel like you can get into a good rhythm, but it can be hard to find a good place to pass.

"Going through the “Oak Tree” turn without the tree is weird! I’ve done it already. I was driver coaching some guys there and drove their cars and it feels really strange going through there without the shade from the tree. It’s okay though, because it’s still the same great layout it’s always been.

Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun
Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun

Photo by: Richard Sloop

"I think for CORE’s Porsche program, our goal is to continue to grow and progress at each race. We’ve got some things we’re working on and we’re trying to get achieve the best results we can. I was really impressed with how the crew performed on the pit stops at COTA. Hopefully, it will be drier at VIR than COTA and I can keep getting a good feel for the car."

Patrick Long
Driver: No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
"I finished second at VIR last year, so it’s a good track for the Porsches. Mechanical grip is important there and the long straights and tight corners are well suited for our car. I also recall there were few yellows in the race.

"VIR has great history and pedigree. I think as soon as you come through the entrance, the heritage is present. It’ll be strange not having the Oak Tree there though. Ultimately, I think VIR is very worthy of its hype. I enjoy going there and it’s a beautiful part of the country this time of year.

"The GT competition is as high as ever, so it won’t be easy, but I feel like we’ve had a good pace the last couple of races. With the team’s plans for 2014 set we’re 100 percent focused on the weekend in front of us. The focus is on race strategy and a car setup that suits both drivers. We’ve been very happy with the handling of the car the last few races, so strategy will be a high priority."

CORE familiar with VIR podium

With only two races remaining in the 2013 American Le Mans Series season, CORE's Prototype Challenge team is focused on strong execution. Having won the previous two ALMS PC championships, the team knows that hitting all of its marks will lead to positive results.

CORE put both of its PC cars on the podium at VIR last year, with the No. 05 piloted by Jon Bennett and Colin Braun winning from pole position and the No. 06 driven by Tom Kimber-Smith and Alex Popow finishing third.

Following Round Eight at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, CORE finds itself second in the PC Team Championship, and Bennett third in the PC Drivers' Championship, which means the team must be aggressive in the final two rounds to secure a championship.

Jon Bennett
Driver: No. 05 ORECA FLM09
"I am looking forward to our event and VIR. It’s a fantastic track that’s not too far from our shop in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and I have quite a bit of experience there. Colin and I had a very smooth weekend at VIR last year and it resulted in a win for us. Tom Kimber-Smith finished on the podium with us in the team’s sister PC car, so I think Tom and I definitely have the pace to have a successful weekend.

"Obviously we’re targeting a win to put a third championship within reach, but I have to say that no matter the outcome, piloting a prototype with downforce through VIR's Esses with the throttle wide open is one of life's greatest joys."

Tom Kimber-Smith
Driver: No. 05 ORECA FLM09
"This is my third trip to VIR and I have to say it’s probably my favorite circuit in America. All the tracks here are unique, but this one is particularly fast and flowing. There’s not any technical bits, so it’s all about carrying speed, and if you make a mistake you either hit the wall, or you’ve ruined your lap.

"We’re in a tough spot in the championship right now. We can’t do anything too safe or conservative. For these last two rounds, we can take bigger risks, because basically we’ve got to win the last two races and hope that the competition has a DNF at some point. We have to go full on attack at VIR and Petit Le Mans.

"Since we’re the underdogs now though, I think it’s easier and makes our thought process much clearer. When you’re out front, you’re wondering what you have to do and make decisions based on how your competitors are doing. Now, we don’t worry about anything but ourselves and doing the best we can. This team’s won championships back-to-back—there’s no question on if the team is good enough or if the car is fast enough. As long as we do our jobs and hit our marks, we will come away with a victory."

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About this article
Series ALMS
Teams CORE autosport
Article type Preview
Tags colin braun, core, core autosport, jon bennett, oreca, patrick long, tom kimber smith, vir