CORE Autosport’s drivers expect to be competitive at the Rolex 24 at Daytona after a successful weekend test at Daytona International Speedway.
The American outfit – based in Rock Hill, South Carolina – put the new Nissan Ligier DPi through it’s paces in last weekend’s Roar before the 24 ahead of the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The driver line-up of Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval worked its way up the timing screens over the weekend and even topped the final session. The fastest lap turned by the No. 54 Nissan Ligier DPi was a 1:34.935 (134.991mph), set by Dumas on Sunday.
“The test went very well,” the Frenchman said. “We improved, step-by-step, with each session. It was very positive. It looks like everyone on the team is moving in the right direction. The car is easier to drive, so that’s positive for all of us. I think we will be ready for the race.”
“I would say that we’re a lot closer to where we need to be now than we thought we’d be three weeks ago,” Bennett added. “Racing is the constant pursuit of perfection. We won’t be perfect, but I think we’ll be very competitive at the Rolex 24.”
Meanwhile, Braun is no stranger to the Rolex 24. The Texan won with CORE back in 2014 and will take part in his 15th event this year. Entering his sixth consecutive season with the team, the 30-year old reckoned there was added pressure at the test due to the new car and the public being in attendance.
“We didn’t have any issues with the car; we just worked through our plan,” he said. “Obviously, being brand new and doing this test in front of everyone is tough, because we have some basic things we need to work through and learn. We just took our time and got used to the car.
“As is usual after your first time with a new car, we probably have more questions than answers now,” Braun added, “but we’ll work through it and be ready to go for the race. I feel really good about it!”
Last year’s race saw CORE finish on the lead lap and take home a third place trophy. While a similar result this year will give the team a boost, Duval believes that they are in good spirits going into the race.
“The car is more powerful compared to the LMP2 we ran last year,” he said, “which helps a lot for overtaking cars in traffic. It was a positive first test. We still have a long way to go, but everyone on the team is very happy.”