The incident envolving the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 caused significant damage to the front end of the car.
MONTEREY, Calif. – CORE autosport’s storybook start to the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar season hit a speed bump at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. An early race incident brought the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 into pit lane for repairs and the time lost proved insurmountable despite Colin Braun setting that fastest PC lap of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda.
Starting fourth on the grid, Jon Bennett held his ground at the start of the two-hour race, but fell to sixth on a restart after the first full-course caution. From there, Bennett found himself in a three-way PC battle for seventh and eighth. That fight came to a head 35 minutes into the race when the No. 54 made contact with the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport car in the famed Corkscrew.
The incident caused significant damage to the front end of the car. Bennett brought the car into the pits for repairs and the CORE autosport crew quickly replaced the right front suspension, nose and performed a full service stop with new tires and fuel. Less than eight minutes later, Bennett returned to track.
Just shy of the race’s halfway mark, Braun climbed into the No. 54, now in eighth place and four laps down. After putting in a flurry of fast laps, Braun made one last pit stop with 45 minutes remaining in the race. Not long after, he set the fastest lap of the race at 1:21.229.
Despite Braun’s best efforts, the time lost could not be made up in the highly competitive PC field. The No. 54 did advance one position to finish seventh when the No. 38 Performance Tech car dropped out of the race.
CORE autosport still picks up 25 points in its quest for the 2014 PC Championship and now looks ahead to Round Four at Kansas Speedway, June 6 – 7.
Jon Bennett Driver: No. 54 ORECA FLM09: “It was a pretty reasonable start. I was struggling a little bit with the handling of the car. It’s hard to know what it really was. I was trying to move my way forward to the front, and I got in to a pretty good battle with another PC car. At one point he left the door open going up the hill to the Corkscrew and we got side-by-side in a place where only one car can go through. Unfortunately, we made contact and significantly broke our car. The CORE autosport team did a fantastic job getting a pretty severely broken car back on track in a matter of minutes.
“Then I handed the car over to Colin. In true fashion, Colin went out and set the fastest time of the day for our category.
“It’s a typical ‘that’s racing’ weekend for us. We’ve had great success at Daytona and Sebring this year, and today was a ‘not quite working out for us’ day. On the other hand, Colin did a splendid job in the race car, and the team did a good job getting the car repaired. It shows the depth of our team. We’re going to have little incidents along the way, but I’m looking forward to a good season."
Colin Braun Driver: No. 54 ORECA FLM09: “My time on track was pretty good. We had an issue when Jon was in the car, but the guys did a really good job changing that suspension out.
“I got back in the car and drove around really. I didn’t push too hard and just tried to be smart and log the laps. We didn’t get any yellows to get us back into contention. There wasn’t a whole lot we could do at that point.
“I’m proud of all these guys. They did a good job. We certainly had a tough weekend with the alternator issue that got us behind and then the issue in the race. We had the quickest race lap and our race pace was good. There’s a lot to be positive about. It’s just about collecting all of our information and building it to be better in Kansas. We’ve had some really good races before this one and we still had a lot of really positive things go on even during this race. We just got to be smart and keep focusing on the future. “