IMSA teams ready to roll with punches from Hurricane Ian

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IMSA teams ready to roll with punches from Hurricane Ian

IMSA

IMSA teams ready to roll with punches from Hurricane Ian

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As many eyes will be on the skies as they are on the track during the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend at Motul Petit Le Mans. While the series is preparing a wide array of contingency plans, teams are also gearing up to react to whatever conditions Hurricane Ian brings.

Drive time requirements can become complicated if the race is shortened or impacted by weather. Nine cars were moved to the back of their class at Watkins Glen when weather caused a nearly one-hour red flag.

Jon Bennett, who with Colin Braun leads the LMP3 championship by 83 points in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Ligier, emphasized the importance of the men and women in the pits to make the right calls at the right times when races like this happen.

“It can get quite complicated in terms of drive time strategy and how your original strategy starts to play in and if you need to change it as the weather affects the race,” Bennett said. “Luckily, we have Jeff Braun on the box, who is a wizard at not only understanding the here and now but also being able to translate that into what’s happening now and how that might affect the future and the potential end of the race.

“It’s a bit above my pay grade in terms of how to figure out the strategy, especially as the rain falls, and potentially the race could shorten. It is not a cliche, this is a team sport, it absolutely is. We have Jeff and our team manager, Brian Colangelo, and a couple of our other team members actively looking at the strategy, and what’s the best thing to do next.”

From a competition perspective, Colin Braun is hoping the team’s experience pays off as they look to close out the championship.

“I think that’s one of the positives for John and I and the CORE Autosport guys, is we’ve been through both sides of the championship,” Braun said. “Coming in ahead, coming in behind, you name it — weather conditions and all those kinds of things.

“I feel like all that kind of goes into the hopper of our experience and gives us a lot of confidence going in that we just keep doing what we’ve been doing to get to the point we are. That’s kind of the easy approach, I suppose, is just to continue to focus on doing what we’ve been doing to put ourselves into the championship lead. I think you would be silly to change that up going into the last race.”

The original weekend schedule still stands, with Motul Petit Le Mans set for Saturday. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm in southwestern Florida on Wednesday. Current projections have the center of the hurricane passing to the east of Road Atlanta, over South Carolina, in the early hours of Saturday.

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