PC championship hangs in balance for CORE autosport at Road Atlanta

Kimber-Smith put the No. 05 third with a top time of 1:15.215, while s lap of 1:19.947 put Long eighth in the GT order.

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 18, 2013) – In the final qualifying session of the 2013 American Le Mans Series season, CORE autosport qualified third on the Prototype Challenge grid and eighth on the GT grid for Saturday’s 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans race.

Following a full day of practice in the rain at Road Atlanta on Thursday, dry conditions prevailed for today’s qualifying sessions. The track temperature continued to rise throughout the day, putting engineers in an unenviable position when choosing a qualifying setup.

Driving the No. 05 ORECA FLM09, Tom Kimber-Smith was pleased with the qualifying setup on his car, but faced stiff competition amongst the PC field. In a category where the top five qualifiers were separated by just 0.4-second, Kimber-Smith put the No. 05 third with a top time of 1:15.215 (121.571 mph).

#05 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 Oreca: Jonathan Bennett, Tom Kimber-Smith, Mark Wilkins
#05 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 Oreca: Jonathan Bennett, Tom Kimber-Smith, Mark Wilkins

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Jon Bennett and Mark Wilkins will join Kimber-Smith in the car for Saturday’s race. The trio will be hunting for CORE autosport’s third-straight PC team title. CORE is currently tied for the lead in the PC team standings. Bennett himself is hoping to capture his first PC drivers’ title and goes into Petit Le Mans with a 12-point deficit to first place. There are 24 points on the line for a win Saturday.

Patrick Long climbed behind of the wheel of the No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for the 15-minute GT qualifying session. A lap of 1:19.947 (114.376 mph) put Long eighth in the GT order.

Driving with Colin Braun and Porsche Junior Driver Michael Christensen, the Porsche squad is confident that although outright speed is not on their side at Road Atlanta, a strong race strategy and flawless pit work will move the No. 06 to the front by the end of Saturday’s 1,000-mile enduro.

Qualifying immediately followed a live auction at the CORE autosport paddock where the team put one-of-a-kind pieces up for sale to benefit the Austin Hatcher Foundation, the official charity of ALMS. With such priceless items as the No. 06 hood, fender and wing from the Baltimore crash and Patrick Long’s racing suit up for bids, the team raised $6,240 for the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s efforts to erase the effects of pediatric cancer.

Tom Kimber-Smith
Driver: No. 05 ORECA FLM09 PC
"The team did a great job though and Morgan Brady did an excellent job engineering the car. It doesn’t matter where we qualify because tomorrow is such a long race, but to qualify third feels pretty good.

"It’s going to be a sprint race tomorrow. If you look at the times from qualifying everyone is really close. Nobody is going to be taking it easy at any point.

"The final ALMS race is going to be special, but I don’t see it as the end, it’s just going to be a different chapter next year. We’re here, we’re concentrating on tomorrow’s race and we’re focused on getting a victory and a championship."

Patrick Long
Driver: No. 06 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
"The time to establish a setup was limited by weather but most of the other teams were working with the same situation. We didn’t have huge hopes coming into qualifying. It’s the same situation as VIR; over a single lap we aren’t the fastest, but we feel the longer the race the better.

#06 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: Patrick Long, Colin Braun, Michael Christensen
#06 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: Patrick Long, Colin Braun, Michael Christensen

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

"Qualifying is really just about measuring your speed and trying to start as far forward as possible to avoid trouble. But realistically, in an endurance race after the first 10 minutes, nobody is going to remember qualifying. It’ll all be about how well the car handles over a complete stint. We’re focused on analyzing the data and understanding how the track will change between now and the race.

"It’s special to be a part of the ALMS is wrapping up at Road Atlanta. It’s been the home of the series and where the inaugural race was, but it’s also just another race that we want to go out, do what we know how to do, and win."

CORE autosport

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About this article
Series ALMS
Teams CORE autosport
Article type Qualifying report
Tags core autosport, gt, jon bennett, mark wilkins, oreca, patrick long, pc, porsche 911 gt3 rsr, road atlanta, tom kimber smith