Monterey, California – Six hours of racing turned into two minutes of thrills as CORE Autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun won today’s American Le Mans Series Monterey Presented by Patrón at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Braun, driving the No. 05 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 Prototype Challenge (PC) machine, made a thrilling outside pass of the then-leading No. 9 car with less than two laps left in the race using a slower GTC car as a “moving pic” catapulting him into the first spot in PC (third overall).
The win marks the first for the No. 05 car for the 2012 season and the first ever American Le Mans Series (ALMS) victory for Braun and team founder and owner Bennett. Although CORE Autosport had won both driver and team championships in 2011 with Bennett co-driving the No. 05, it was only after today’s six-hour event that he was able to stand on the top step of the podium.
At one point during the race, the No. 05 machine was more than two laps down to the lead PC car, but smart pit strategy by lead engineer Gary Davies, fast pit stops by the crew led by mechanics Eric Van Bibber and Jay Ribas as well as hard driving by Braun and Bennett made up the difference.
Competition was very tough among the nine PC-class entrants in today’s event – after a full day of racing around the legendary 2.238-mile, 11 turn track, the top three cars were a mere 1.725 seconds apart.
The 2012 ALMS season has been filled with wins and podiums in three rounds of competition for the Rock Hill, South Carolina based CORE Autosport. The season opening 12 Hours of Sebring was won by the No. 06 machine as well as the second round on the Streets of Long Beach with the No. 5 Bennett / Braun pairing taking third place in both events.
Thanks to consecutive wins and podium finishes in the three 2012 ALMS rounds, CORE Autosport holds a comfortable lead in the 2012 ALMS PC driver and team championships.
A two-hour recap of the American Le Mans Series Monterey Presented by Patrón event will be broadcast on Sunday, May 13 on ESPN2 at 5:00 P.M. ET.
“Jon did a great job in the middle of the race and we were able to stay there and be in contention.
“Those last few laps were really exciting, racing Bruno [Junqueira] and I knew that Tom [Kimber-Smith] was coming from behind. It was important to push really hard and I was trying to set Bruno up in traffic.
“Finally he ended up going one way, I tried to go the other way and it ended up working out. Bruno is a great racer and I appreciate him racing me clean.
“I’ve got to thank Jon and Morgan for giving me the opportunity to be a part of CORE autosport. Jon and I have finished on the podium at each race this season and to get his first win as a belated birthday present to him (May 4) is an honor.
“This win shows the kind of solid team that CORE autosport is. It’s easy to be able to come in, fit in and be part of the group. I can’t be happier!”