Starting from 14th on the GT Daytona grid, Bennett kept the car out of trouble and within striking distance of his GTD competitors during his stint.
Thirty minutes into the 100-minute race, the first and only full-course caution was issued for an accident in Turn One. This presented the perfect opportunity to pit and hand the car over to Braun.
A flawless pit stop under yellow had Braun back out in 13th and ready for the restart. Competitors serving penalties for pit stop violations immediately bumped Braun up to 11th. He was then able to get around the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R for 10th with 30 minutes left in the race.
Two more GTD cars dropped out of contention, promoting the No. 54 to eighth.
With three laps to go, Braun went on the attack, running side-by-side with the seventh-place No. 15 Lexus RCF GTS. He came up just short, however, and crossed the line in eighth, the best finish so far for CORE in 2017 IMSA competition and the team’s best finish to-date with the Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Immediately after the checkered flag, Bennett and Braun quickly changed into street clothes, grabbed their bags and headed for the airport with the goal of making it to Thompson Speedway in Connecticut in time for the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites final.
The duo’s next IMSA event will be in Watkins Glen, New York. The Six Hours of the Glen, at Watkins Glen International Raceway, will take place June 29 – July 2.
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“Jon did a good job early in his stint to stay with the pack. We got a pretty timely yellow and the guys did a nice pit stop. We gained a little bit and then lost a little bit on the restart. I got stuck behind some Prototype Challenge and Prototype cars.
“We had good pace and I caught back up to the pack. I was able to get around Joerg (Bergmeister) and then I ran bumper to bumper with the Lexus teammates. I think we were a bit quicker, but this place is really tight and that makes it hard to pass. The Lexus is a pretty big car and when you’re racing hard you can make your big car pretty wide. We just didn’t have a large enough edge to pass those guys.
“It’s tough at the end, when you get all the P cars coming by and the PC cars coming by. Those guys are having their own race, but it’s disruptive to the flow of traffic for us in the GTD cars. As much as I looked ahead trying to plan a pass when I was in PC, that’s how much I’m looking behind to come up with a plan on when to let those guys by. There’s a lot mental work going on even if it looks like you’re just driving around.”
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“Street courses are unique and so are the starts, but I’m really happy with our performance at this event. We all really gelled together as a group. The team did a great job. The car was well engineered. I’m really starting to understand how to get this car dialed in and what it wants. I’m encouraged by our forward progress in this event and I think that helps set the tone for the team as we move into the second half of the season.
“The yellow flag came at the perfect time for everybody, so I’m not sure we got a big advantage, but it certainly fit well within our strategy. I think that with our strategy and chemistry this weekend, it wouldn’t have mattered when the caution came.
“My focus never wandered to GRC while I was in the car, but now I’m looking forward to the trip!”