CORE autosport made the perfect Rolex 24 at Daytona debut, taking victory in the Prototype Challenge class.
Competiting in the one-make category, opening driver Jon Bennett was spun off in the opening lap following contact with a GTLM car, dropping the #54 to ninth from the lead, suggesting the race was going to be an incredibly long 24 hours for the team.
Quick thinking in the pit strategy department from Tom Brown, however, saw the car back on the lead lap and eventually, with Colin Braun in the car, back into the lead of the PC category. From that point onwards the team never dropped out of the podium positions.
While rivals suffered mechanical problems, on-track incidents and pit lane penalties, the CORE autosport quartet of Braun, Bennett, James Gue and Mark Wilkins drove a faultless race, charging through the remaining race unscathed.
The final 70 minutes of the race saw Braun engaged in a strong battle with former team-mate Tom Kimber-Smith in the 8Star Motorsports machine. Exchanging the lead several times, the main question was who would dive in for fuel first, the answer eventually being Braun, who managed to hold his lead after Kimber-Smith pitted the following lap.
A late full-course caution saw all of Braun’s small lead wiped out, but managed to streak away for the final shootout, winning by a lap over the #25 8Star machine.
“It’s great to win it obviously that’s what we’ve all tried to accomplish,” said Braun. “This is my 10th time competing here, so to win it is really special. I’ve tried, and I know how hard it is to win, and how many crazy things can happen and you can get stripped of it. I’m really proud of these guys; they did an awesome job.”