Bennett, Porsche and CORE unite at Le Mans for first time

June 14, 2018

Bennett, Porsche and CORE unite at Le Mans for first time

June 14, 2018

Jon Bennett, CORE autosport and Porsche all unite at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in 2018.

CORE has partnered with Porsche Motorsport North America to run its factory GT program in the United States since 2014. But this year, the team makes its first ever trip to Le Mans.

Michelin is taking a deeper look at this combined effort through a series of videos. The first two formal videos and two separate teaser videos are below.

The two main videos highlight the preparation at their Rock Hill, S.C.-based shop. The first Twitter video is a bonus look at scrutineering, which took place Monday. The second Twitter video is a look at their preparation in the pits.

CORE partners with Porsche to field the two U.S.-entered Porsche GT Team cars in the GTE-Pro class. They feature three of their four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers in the cars.

Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber share the No. 93 Porsche. Pilet and Tandy have been part of the Porsche GT Team program in IMSA since 2014. They debuted with a win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have “completed the set” in recent years.

Other highlights include the 2015 Petit Le Mans win overall in a GT car, Pilet’s 2015 GT championship and the 2018 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Pilet and Tandy were also part of Porsche’s winning lineup at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring in May.

Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Sven Mueller share the No. 94 Porsche. Dumas is a longtime Porsche factory driver, and he and Bernhard are past Le Mans overall winners. He has joined CORE’s LMP2 car in IMSA endurance races with Bennett and Colin Braun.

That hints at the other part of why Bennett and CORE are at Le Mans in 2018. Bennett and Braun race in the LMP3 Michelin Road to Le Mans support race, in different LMP3 cars. Bennett shares the No. 15 M Sport – YMR Ligier JSP3 with Nic Jonsson. Jonsson has 12 Le Mans starts, and is a past CORE driver.

Bennett is keen on getting experience here. The Circuit de la Sarthe is half dedicated circuit, yet half public streets. Making this run now is similar to what he’d do on a normal IMSA weekend.

“If the stars align at some point in the future, CORE could show up with two GTE-Pro Porsches and an LMP2 for Colin and I. It’s a nice building block toward that,” he says.

“The unique opportunity to put on a helmet and step inside a race car at a track as iconic as Le Mans is something very special for me. I’ve done my research and a lot of simulator time. I’m hoping that the magic of technology will be such that when I arrive, Le Mans will be oddly familiar to me in terms of many, many laps on the simulator.”

Bennett is used to splitting his focus between driving the Prototype and supporting the Porsche team.

“I’m used to running back and forth on pit lane,” he says. “I suppose that on the lead up to the race day, a lot of focus will be on my event and my race. As soon as the helmet comes off, I’m going to be super excited to watch our guys execute and perform a great 24 Hours of Le Mans race for Porsche.

“The goal is to experience Le Mans, see the track from the perspective of a race car and get a feel for the flow.

“As we approach the start of the race, the competitive fire will take precedent and I’m looking forward to a strong finish.”

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