Today, September 16, 2011 marks 201 years of Mexican independence. CORE Autosport will celebrate by featuring a special “Viva Mexico” livery on the #06 Excel Consultants / Composite Resources machine.
Four of the six CORE autosport drivers have not driven an LMPC car on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit, known for turns 8 and 8a, otherwise known as “The Corkscrew,” which drops five and a half stories in a mere 450 feet. #05 drivers Montecalvo and Bennett have driven there in the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lights series, while #06 drivers Gonzalez and Junco competed in the ALMS GTC class in 2010, as well as in other series.
Three drivers will pilot each CORE autosport entry. In the #05 Bayshore Recycling / Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 will be former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andy Wallace joining regulars Frankie Montecalvo and team founder Jon Bennett for the first time.
The sister #06 Excel Consultants / Composite Resources machine will feature Road America LMPC winner Rudy Junco along with driver championship points leaders Gonzalez and Jeannette. The #06 lineup comes back together after a podium finish at the first-ever American Le Mans Series race for CORE autosport, the 2011 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.
After mixed results in Baltimore which narrowedthe American Le Mans Series LMPC standings to a one-point lead for CORE autosport drivers Ricardo Gonzalez and Gunnar Jeannette over Eric Lux, and a mere two point lead for the team championship over Genoa Racing, CORE autosport is taking no chances as they approach the six-hour ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Tequila PatrÃ³n.
Gunnar Jeannette appeared determined: “The perfect headline for this race for us is 'crunch time.' Here we are going into the second to last race of the year and there's only a few points separation in the driver and team championships. Combine that with more points that are available in longer races and it's going to be a close run to the championship.”
Jeannette continued, “I'm very glad to be driving with my teammate Ricardo Gonzalez and to have Rudy Junco back on board. I'm hoping that Rudy can bring to us some of his recent luck from his LMPC drives with other teams and get us into a leadership position. I love Mazda Raceway. There's nothing not to like about it – it's picturesque and great to drive with a mix of high and low speed sections. The 'corkscrew' is going to be a fun passing zone – it can be difficult in multi-class racing like we have in ALMS. Six hours of racing there will be difficult, but it's the challenge which is why we do what we do, not because it's easy.”
Owner/Driver Jon Bennett is clearly excited as the team enters the penultimate round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series season: “CORE autosport had another successful weekend in Baltimore, scoring both the pole position for the race and another podium for the team coming from the #05 car with Frankie.
“We're trying to get as many points as we can to finish out the year strong and looking at the last two races of the season, CORE autosport is poised to have a good showing.
“All of us at CORE autosport are looking forward to having two new teammates on our squad for the Laguna round, with Rudy in the #06 and Andy in the #05. Adding these two super-qualified teammates will improve our chances at what's going to be a very challenging six hour race.
“We want to run well and get more podiums, which will set us up for a great run at the season finale, Petit Le Mans.”
“I've never raced at Mazda Raceway in an LMPC car, but I have driven the track in a Prototype Lites car. I love the track, the area and the atmosphere.” says Frankie Montecalvo
“There are many tracks you visit where the actual course is great and the grounds are fun, but when you leave for the day there's not much to do. Not in Monterey though, it's a beautiful town right on the water and there's always something to do.
“Mazda Raceway is obviously known for the 'corkscrew' and man, when I drove it for the first time at speed it was hold-your-breath time. It's going to be a great race for the fans and exciting for the team.
“Speaking of the team, I'm very excited to be co-driving with Andy Wallace. He's a great racer and he'll add a lot to the team for the six-hour race, especially his knowledge of how to get through traffic.
“I'm just working hard, staying in shape and getting ready to drive. I think we're ready for it.”
Just like his teammate, Ricardo Gonzalez has never raced an LMPC car at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca: “Mazda Raceway is now the only track on the schedule that I haven´t driven in the LMPC car and one that I’m really looking forward to.
“We’ve had our share of bad luck in the last three events and we are ready to put that behind us and go out and clinch the championship in the last two races of the year.
“We’ll have a very strong package at Laguna, Rudy Junco is joining us as our third driver. He’s already proven how good he is by winning at Road America, and Gunnar and I are always the guys to beat, now we just need a little bit of luck!
“This is going to be a special weekend for us because we are celebrating Mexico’s independence and we’ll carry the Mexican colors on our car throughout the weekend. This is something that makes me really proud and winning this race for my country would be a huge accomplishment for me.
“I want to invite everybody to come to the track and celebrate with us!”