Jon Bennett’s double play
Jon Bennett’s double play
Jon Bennett does not have a split personality, but the quiet owner of CORE autosport will find himself in two different roles in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship doubleheader here on Sunday, May 4 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
As the CORE team owner and PC class co-driver with Colin Braun, Bennett returns to the scene of his first major sports car victory. Since Braun’s bold pass on PC rival Bruno Junqueira coming down The Corkscrew on the penultimate lap of the 2012 race here, Bennett’s CORE autosport team has been the dominant force in the PC class, winning 14 races and the last three class championships.
Racing in identical single specification Oreca chassis with Chevrolet engines in the open cockpit prototypes, Bennett and Braun will take on the hotly competitive 8Star Motorsports, Starworks Motorsport, RSR Racing, Performance Tech Motorsports, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and BAR1 Motorsports teams in the PC/GT Daytona race on Sunday morning.
Bennett and Braun have scored Prototype Challenge class victories at both previous rounds, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, to put them atop the PC driver standings heading into the third race of PC class schedule.
“It’s a great way to start the season. Sebring was the first big race I’d ever been in, back in 2011,” Bennett said.
“I was amazed to get on the podium. Once you’ve made it to the podium, you get your eye open to the top step of the podium. In 2012, we finished third and last year we realized it’s easy to lose control of a long race like that.
“I was very happy that we won Sebring this year, in some ways more than Daytona, because I don’t have any history with Daytona. Sebring was always one I’d hoped to win.”
But that is only the first half of Bennett’s 2014 story and plan for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca doubleheader.
Chosen last fall by Porsche to become the home for the new Porsche North America factory team in the GT Le Mans class, CORE enters with Porsche leading the fierce manufacturer battle in GTLM.
While typically the cars are all racing simultaneously, here in a unique split format, Bennett will have the luxury of focusing on his PC race on Sunday morning and then shifting gears to team owner for the GT LM race that afternoon looking for an incredible third double victory of the young 2014 season.
Both of the CORE prepared factory Porsches have already taken major victories in 2014, with Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz taking the GT honors at the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and teammates Patrick Long and Michael Christensen and taking class honors at Sebring.
“It was mind-blowing, as we had 25 minutes to go, to realize that the sister team with the Porsches were in a position to win as well,” Bennett said.
“I just couldn’t believe that the situation was happening again. I’m very pleased for both sides of the company.”
The Rock Hill, South Carolina based CORE squad has claimed a stunning four of a possible five class wins in the first three races of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar championship.
The Porsche North America team will face the wrath of Corvette Racing, BMW Team RLL, SRT Viper, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Falken Porsche in the afternoon.