CORE autosport‘s strong start to the 2014 season ended at Laguna Seca, with an early race incident putting them on the back foot for the entire race.
Jon Bennett started the race in the #54 Oreca FLM09 from fourth, dropping to sixth at the restart after the first full-course caution of the race. He was then right in the middle of three car battle for sixth, which eventually came to a sticky ending 35 minutes in to the race at the infamous Corkscrew corner.
“It was a pretty reasonable start,” said Bennett. “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.”
Despite some stellar work from the CORE autosport pit crew, replacing the nose and right front suspension, as well as performing a full service, in less than eight minutes, the team had lost too much time on track to be able to get back in the hunt.
The second half of the race saw Colin Braun take over driving duties, and despite setting the fastest lap had to settle for seventh after one of the other PC entries retired.
“I got back in the car and drove around really,” explained Braun. “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.”