Though Colin Braun won the Motul Pole Award and set a new lap record on Saturday, the team opted once again to make Jon Bennett the starting driver so he could achieve his drive time as soon as possible. The change in starting driver meant the No. 54 Composite Resources / Flex-Box ORECA 07 LM P2 was moved to the back of the Prototype grid for the race.
Bennett, as the bronze-rated driver and contender for the Trueman Award, was required to complete 30 minutes in the car. He kept the Prototype field in his sights during his stint, even through slower traffic, and was on the lead lap when a well-timed full-course yellow came out and gave CORE the perfect opportunity to pit.
Braun got in the car and returned to the track in 10th, but was up to fifth before his next pit stop.
With 18 minutes left in the race, Braun was up to second behind the defending IMSA Prototype Champion, No. 10 Cadillac DPi. He made his move for the lead in Turn Eight right before the final full-course caution of the race came out. Initially, series officials believed the pass was made under yellow and requested Braun give the position back, but a video review proved the pass was completed before the yellow and the No. 54 led the field to the green flag restart with seven minutes to go.
The competition didn’t stand a chance; Braun hit the gas and didn’t look back. At the checkered flag, he had a 3.431-second margin of victory. In only six races in IMSA’s top class, CORE autosport took a commanding victory even after starting from the back of the field.
Next up for CORE is the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, August 3 – 5.
Driver: No. 54 ORECA 07 LMP2
“This is great. The CORE guys have done an amazing job all year. At Watkins Glen I think we hit our stride. We’ve got the car figured out and the team prepared well between The Glen and here. We’ve been fast all weekend and we wanted to capitalize on it. You don’t have a strong car on a track like this where it all clicks too often, so we made sure we took care of business.
“I knew the position change (with No. 10 Cadillac) would be reversed. I knew I cleared him and got in front before the light came on. Our light system is on the right side of the dash and that’s where I was looking, so I knew that was going to be changed. I’m glad IMSA saw that too. It allowed me to get some clean air, focus forward and get things done.
“For me, it’s nice to be back winning races overall again. I’ve had a lot of fun racing with Jon over the years and being with him when he got his first PC win and now his first overall win is really cool.”
Driver: No. 54 ORECA 07 LMP2
“It’s truly hard to put into words. Racing is a team effort and we have an amazing team. Everyone does their part, methodically and consistently, and everyone stays positive. Colin was magic all weekend. He got the pole and set a new track record. It was just a perfect weekend for us. Wow!
“We had a good event at Watkins Glen, which is a similar track. I think I was at a place mentally where I was just ready to win and Colin too. The racing Gods were with us today.
“My stint was decent. One of my missions is to give Colin the car on the lead lap and I did that. I still think I need to sharpen the sword a little bit in terms of pace. Once you solve the puzzle, it’s easier to solve it the next time. This encourages everyone on the team that we’re doing the right things and to keep digging.”