CORE autosport recovered from a disastrous start to finish third in Prototype Challenge at the Brickyard Grand Prix, extending their championship lead over 8Star Motorsports to 28 points. The polesitters were forced to start from the back of the field when Jon Bennett missed the entry to pitlane on his sighting lap but together with Colin Braun, he made amends with a tremendous fightback.
Within 35 minutes of the start, Bennett had dragged the no.54 ORECA FLM09 up to sixth in class before slick pit work and an extended full-course yellow period lifted them to fourth by the time Braun took over the car. The restart was barely three minutes old when Braun took over the PC lead but with traffic and fuel conservation becoming increasing issues, the 25 year old was shuffled back to third.
The result was satisfactory under the circumstances and Bennett paid tribute to his team for the way they kept their head despite such a nightmare start.
“My day started with a very bad, unforced error on the reconnaissance lap. Unfortunately, I missed pit entry and found myself with an extra recon lap. For that, we got to start at the back of the field.”
“At that point, what’s done is done. I did my best to focus and fix the situation as best I could before Colin got back in the car. I drove really hard, and we also got a couple fortunate breaks with a couple well-placed yellow flags and caution periods. I handed the car over to Colin in a competitive spot on the lead lap. I think Colin did the best job he could with the car. I think it was the kind of day where the handling was constantly changing, and it was a little bit of a struggle. All-in-all, it was a good day for CORE.”
“Our team understands what it’s like to be a little bit behind. I don’t think we ever panic, and we have confidence that things are going to turn out okay. I think we got the best result we could today. And, quite honestly, it was a good day for chasing the championship, so I’m quite happy with that.”
Braun admitted he simply didn’t have enough left to challenge the no. 8 and no.9 ORECAs in the closing stages but still felt pleased having beaten his main championship rival.
“Jon did a good job starting the car. I jumped in the car under that long, lengthy caution. Soon after returning to green, Gunnar [Jeannette] spun out right in front of me, but luckily I missed crashing into him. I had the lead for a little bit, but we just didn’t have the outright pace. I was struggling in traffic. We just got beat. Some other PC guys came here to test and picked the tire to run on, so I’m sure that also helped their program. We weren’t far off. A few tenths over a long green flag run like that though and you end up just a little behind.”
“We just had so much rubber off line that as soon as you went to pass a GT car you had a bunch of pick up. It was really slick and hard to get the rubber back off, so it made it really like one-groove racing and it had tight, slow corners, which leads to bumper-to-bumper racing until you can get a little bit of a run and get past them on the straight away.”
“It was a good day for points though. We extended our lead a little bit more since the No. 8 car had a problem, and he was our closest competitor there. All in all that’s a positive for us for sure. We had a solid day. It certainly wasn’t great, and it certainly wasn’t terrible. Everyone did a good job, and we executed well. Some days that’s all you have. The guys did a good job on pit row. Jon did a good job driving. We had a fast car. It just wasn’t quite enough. That’s the way it goes, you can’t win them all.”