CORE autosport climbs from back to win CTMP; Ganassi Ford, Riley Motorsports earn victories

Images by Galstad/LAT

CORE autosport climbs from back to win CTMP; Ganassi Ford, Riley Motorsports earn victories

IMSA

CORE autosport climbs from back to win CTMP; Ganassi Ford, Riley Motorsports earn victories

Colin Braun and the CORE autosport team recorded an unbelievable drive to capture the team’s first IMSA Prototype win — done while motoring from last in class to take the lead with eight minutes to go at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

The team led every practice session, lowered the track record by more than two seconds in qualifying, and then accepted a giant challenge by starting owner/driver Jon Bennett, which forced the No. 54 ORECA 07-Gibson to roll off last among the 12 prototypes on the grid. Bennett, who did his best to stay within sight of the other cars, handed over to Braun, who spent the next two hours passing cars and drawing down a deficit that reached more than 20 seconds while stuck in dense traffic.

Fortuitous timing of caution periods helped Braun’s efforts to claw back big chunks of lost track position, and with his father Jeff on the timing stand looking after engineering and strategy, the father-son duo authored one of the highlights of the year as the spec P2 chassis humbled the factory DPis for the second Sunday in a row.

Results

Adding to JDC-Miller Motorsports/GAINSCO’s big P2 win last weekend at Watkins Glen, the blinding performance by CORE left Jordan Taylor’s Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi.V-R (+3.43s), who surrendered the lead to Braun, and Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr in the No. 31 Cadillac (+4.666s) to fill the remaining podium spots.

“I’m just a business guy with a dream,” an overjoyed Bennett told IMSA Radio. “Colin…bottle of lightning. Holy cow.”

“It’s so cool to get the first win for Core at this level,” Braun said. “It’s been a pleasure driving with Jon all these years. We’ve had a lot of firsts together and done a lot of cool things and this is another one of those things in a long line. Hats off to the Core guys. We had great strategy all day. We saved fuel when we needed to, we saved tires when we needed to. And we just played our cards the right way and got it done when it mattered.

“It was important in this race to not get too excited at the beginning. We just sort of laid in the weeds all day and slowly worked our way up and we were there when it mattered at the end. I knew that this was the one area I knew I was stronger than some of the other guys.”

In GT Le Mans, a win by the pole-sitting Porsche GT Team and BMW Team RLL looked more than possible for most of the race, but a variety of incidents and a divinely timed caution assured the Ford Chip Ganassi GT team came home first.

With Richard Westbrook leading late but needing a caution to make it to the finish, the FCGR team spotted Juan Pablo Montoya’s errant left-front Acura Team Penske wheel sitting in the middle of the track and alerted the Briton. Westbrook pounced and shot straight into the pits for fuel and left-side tires just seconds before the pits closed for Montoya’s yellow.

“You never stop believing, and we really improved the car after practice where it was a handful,” Westbrook said. “They made a great call; this goes to the team. It just gives us great confidence knowing we can win in this way.”

Balked by a slower GT Daytona car, Porsche’s Patrick Pilet was relegated from second to fourth near the finish as both Corvette Racing entries—Antonio Garcia in second and Tommy Milner in third—motored by down the long back straight to complete GTLM’s all-Detroit supercar top three.

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