Podium Result for CORE in Prototype Debut at Daytona
February 6, 2018
In it’s Prototype class debut, CORE autosport charged through the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship field to take the final podium spot at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The No. 54 Flex-Box / Composite Resources ORECA 07 LM P2 was the highest finishing Pro-Am entry and top finishing ORECA.
This year’s IMSA Prototype class could be the most competitive ever, with factory-backed entries from Cadillac, Acura and Mazda, renowned teams like Penske and Joest, and driving support from current Formula 1, IndyCar and World Endurance Championship drivers. Only a handful of teams employ a Pro-Am lineup like CORE, which partners amateur driver Jon Bennett with pros Colin Braun, Romain Dumas and Loïc Duval.
Throughout each driver’s first stint, the car hovered in the top 15; even through a rainstorm in hour five that brought Duval in for a switch to rain tires. In the overnight hours, the No. 54 did fall several laps behind the leaders, but the team remained focused on turning consistent laps, taking care of the car and executing perfect pit stops.
The strategy paid off. Come sunrise, numerous teams had run into mechanical problems or suffered damage from contact, but the No. 54 was up to fourth. In an effort to protect their cars to the finish, the leaders were slowing, but CORE was clicking off its fastest times yet.
In his closing stint, Braun passed the race leader three times to return the car to the lead lap. Moments after returning to the lead lap, the checkered flag was out and CORE was third, a mere 90 seconds behind the winner.
A podium finish at the Rolex 24 in its Prototype debut was reward enough for CORE, but by being the highest finishing Pro-Am entry, all four drivers collected a brand new Rolex watch (the second Rolex Daytona watch for Bennett and Braun who won the Prototype Challenge category in 2014).
The podium finish kicks off the 2018 IMSA season for CORE, which stays in Florida for round two: the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 15 – 17.