CORE autosport might not have won on its IMSA Prototype debut, but with a third-place result and the distinction of being the first non-factory DPi team to cross the finish line, owner/driver Jon Bennett and team manager Morgan Brady can be proud of their fine performance.
Bennett, team veteran Colin Braun and the Le Mans-winning French duo of Romain Dumas and Loic Duval were the class of the privateers in their No.54 ORECA 07-Gibson, coming home one lap behind the Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R tandem after 24 hours of unpredictable racing.
After debating whether to move up to Prototype after years of leading the pro-am PC category, Bennett says he’s pleased with making the big step up – for himself as a gentleman driver and for the CORE organization.
“You could look at it like a kid, and everyone wants to have the fastest car,” he told RACER. “The category is clearly not for kids; it’s only for professionals. Do you really want to jump in after spending a lot of years starting and running businesses or do you want to jump into the ring with a bunch of full-blooded professionals.
Wow, awesome to finish P3 in the Daytona 24hr! We also WON the pro/am category so we got some fancy new watches! Flawless race by the entire team! Really proud of our group! Car is a bit dirty now @COREautosport @DISupdates @BellRacingUSA @alpinestars pic.twitter.com/GAlw0tGuu4
— Colin Braun (@colinbraun) January 29, 2018
“You eventually get to a point where the calendar is not necessarily your friend and it’s time to go; it’s time for us to go and we went. That’s how we’re here.”
For Dumas, who has represented Audi and Porsche as a factory driver in their former LMP1 programs, CORE proved to be a comfortable setting that felt like a smaller version of those factory efforts.
“Straight away when I drove here the first laps with them, I was very surprised,” he said. “They are small, but they have what they need. They have amazing engineering with Jeff Braun, amazing mechanics – many I race against when they were in LMP1 with different teams – and I felt good with them. At the end, this was the right opportunity with Jon and CORE and we did very well.”
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