The #54 machine, decked out in retro Nissan motorsport colors, ended up finishing fourth – and four laps off the lead – in the hands of Braun, Jon Bennett, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval.
Transmission problems dropped CORE out of the fight for the lead shortly before half-distance, while the car was further delayed late on when Dumas spun and rear-ended the tire barriers in the rain before the race was stopped.
“This is a great result for us,” remarked Braun, who along with fulltime teammate Bennett scored two overall victories in CORE’s Oreca LMP2 last year. “We got the car less than two months ago.
“I’m really proud of these guys to come out in our first race and be on the back foot a little bit and show that we’re still contenders. It was a good testament to what we can look forward to the rest of the year.
“I have to say that Jon did an amazing job all through the race. After his first stint in the race I think he only lost 20 seconds to the leader, so I’m glad he’s comfortable and having fun in the car. It makes me pumped for the rest of the year.”