Jon Bennett and Colin Braun came up agonisingly short of taking the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype title at Road Atlanta, but both drivers say they can look back at their campaign with pride.
The duo in the #54 CORE Autosport Oreca finished down in seventh position in the season-closing Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday after a late visit to the pit lane for a splash of fuel, with their ultimately finishing position not enough to deny the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac duo of Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran the title.
Bennett says the team faced some ‘exceptional competition’ during the season, but everyone within CORE Autosport can hold their head up high for what was achieved across the ten-race season.
“My goal was to follow the formula we’ve had all year, which is to stay on the lead lap and give my team-mates a car that’s in good shape and let the rest of the race play out,” said Bennett. “It’s hard to plan every motion and every unknown in a race like this. Sometimes it works in your favour and sometimes it doesn’t.
“I can’t say enough about the effort that went into this year in our inaugural Prototype season. We faced some very exceptional competition. I think we gave them a run for their money and I think we will continue to. I couldn’t be prouder of my team and my co-drivers.
“It wasn’t the result we’d hoped for tonight, but the sun will rise tomorrow and, in the end,, we had a really amazing season and everyone should hold their heads high.”
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the title, Braun believes that the whole team can be proud of their efforts in the first year running in the Prototype class with the Oreca 07 LMP2, and it is with pride that they can look back at the campaign that saw them take two victories.
“I think everybody did all they could,” said Braun. “At the end of day, we came up a little short on fuel. If we’d had a few more laps, I think we could have won the Championship.
“It was disappointing if you look at it as a single event, but on the season as a whole, we did a great job as a team. Finishing second in the points is a tremendous accomplishment for our first year in Prototypes and I’m really proud of everyone on this team.”
Bennett and Braun were joined by Romain Dumas for Petit Le Mans and the other three endurance races earlier in the season, and the Frenchman said the team did everything they could to try and get the win and the championship.
“It was a similar race to the one in Sebring; we didn’t have the performance of the DPi cars, so at the end of the day we had to gamble a little bit,” said Dumas. “We knew we were fast, but overtaking was difficult.
“We tried our best. The team ran a perfect race and we had no damage on the car. We couldn’t have done anything more, so everyone should be proud.”