It’s been four weeks since Jon Bennett and Colin Braun were last in the driver seat of the Porsche at VIRginia International Raceway, where the duo scored its third top-10 finish of the season. Mazda Raceway is a very different animal; shorter, tighter and grittier. Sand blows across the track surface and a cool ocean breeze keeps temperatures low.
In previous IMSA seasons the race at Mazda Raceway has taken place in May. This is the first time it will take place in September since 2011, CORE’s debut season.
- CORE has amassed six podium finishes at Mazda Raceway since 2011, all in the Prototype Challenge class.
- In 2012, Bennett and Braun scored their first IMSA victory as teammates at Mazda Raceway.
- CORE made its ALMS GT class debut at Mazda Raceway in 2013 with Patrick Long and Tom Kimber-Smith driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, they finished seventh.
- Braun’s birthday is Friday, September 22.
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“Laguna is always a fun place and a cool track to drive at. Jon and I have a lot of experience in the PC car there. It’s a tough circuit from a passing opportunity standpoint. It’s easy to dip a wheel and get stuck in the gravel. It’s going to be an interesting mix to see how all the classes work together and get along. I’m sure there will have to be a lot of give and take between the three classes.
“Tire degradation is going to be a big factor. I think Laguna is hard on tires because the surface doesn’t have a lot of grip, so you’re always sliding across the racetrack. That wears out the tires quite a bit. It’s also easy for sand to blow onto the racetrack. The sand acts like sand paper and wears the tires out really quickly. We’ve got plenty of notes from prior visits, but none with the GTD car.
“For us at CORE, I think our goals in these last two races are to continue to improve and learn as much as we can. This year, we’ve had some good results and shown good speed. Whether we’re winning races or we’re not, we’re always working as hard as we can. We never waiver from trying to constantly improve.
“Ironically, Laguna always used to fall on Jon’s birthday in May and now it’s moved to September and it falls on my birthday, so they must be arranging the Laguna dates around the CORE autosport drivers’ birthdays!”
Driver: No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“A few years ago, the Laguna event was an annual six-hour race held in the early fall. This is my favorite memory of the Laguna event. Although the 2017 event is a bit shorter, I look forward to Laguna Seca in September.
“Laguna is a swoopy, flowing circuit that rewards drivers that can conserve momentum. Yes, traffic can sometimes interrupt the flow and GTD drivers must learn to coexist with the faster prototypes and GTLM cars while maintaining the “flow” and momentum.
“You can be certain Laguna Seca will be covered in a light coating of sand during the entire event. Setting up the car and managing aggression are the key to going fast while conserving the tires.
“We have had a challenging season in a hyper competitive GTD field. Colin and I enjoy our Porsche GT3 R and continue to unlock more speed at every event. We are determined to join our competitors on the podium at one or both of these final races of 2017.”
Continental Monterey Grand Prix | September 22 – 24
- Track Length: 2.238-miles, 11 turns
- Race Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Schedule (All times Pacific)
Friday, September 22
- 10:00am – 11:00am: Practice #1 (All Classes)
- 2:50pm – 3:50pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)
Saturday, September 23
- 8:00am – 9:00am: Practice #3 (All Classes)
- 11:30am – 11:45am: Qualifying (GTD class)
Sunday, September 24
- 9:10am – 9:30am: Warm Up (All Classes)
- 11:15am – 12:00pm: Driver Autograph Session
- 12:45pm – 1:45pm: Open Grid
- 2:05pm – 4:45pm: America’s Tire 250 Race