American Le Mans Series Back-to-Back Titles for CORE

Discussion in 'National Series' started by Administrator, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Administrator

    Administrator Administrator Staff Member

    CORE autosport clinches 2012 ALMS team championship with 1-2 finish at Road America

    ELKHART LAKE, WI, Saturday, August 18, 2012: With a one-two finish at today’s Road America Road Race Showcase, CORE autosport clinched the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Prototype Challenge team championship - back-to-back titles for the Rock Hill, SC-based team.

    Thanks to heroic drives by the four team drivers at today’s four hour event, CORE autosport was able to lock up the team title after only seven of the scheduled ten 2012 American Le Mans Series races.* In these seven races, the team scored 13 podium spots ”“ five wins, four second places, four thirds ”“ the best record of any Prototype Challenge (PC) contender since the class began in 2010 and a marked difference from CORE autosport’s 2011 championship run, which was decided after the season finale.

    It was the closing laps of today’s race that had the entire team on edge as Tom Kimber-Smith, co-driver of the #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 battled Colin Braun in the sister #05 Composite Resources machine.* The two battled each other relentlessly around the 14-turn, 4.048-mile Road America circuit.

    Between the close calls, drag races on the straightaways and using traffic as moving “pics,” team manager Morgan Brady was a bit nervous, but the drivers kept it in check. In the end, Kimber-Smith was able to hold off Braun and cross the line a mere 0.42 seconds ahead.

    But the one-two finish ”“ the second of the season for the team ”“ did not look like it was possible as the race began.

    Kimber-Smith, starting the #06 machine in second place, wasn’t sure if his co-driver Alex Popow was actually going to arrive in time for the race.* Popow was in Montreal this morning taking the wheel of a GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype, chasing a championship in that series as well.* After Popow’s stint driving the DP car, he took a helicopter, plane and car to Road America, and after arriving had approximately four minutes to breathe before taking over from Kimber-Smith at the 47 minute mark of the race.

    An exhausted Popow was able to turn the #06 back over to Kimber-Smith in second spot a bit after the halfway point of the race, and Kimber-Smith brought the car home in a hard-fought first place (fifth overall behind the faster P1 and P2 class cars).

    In the #05 car, team owner and founder Jon Bennett started the race with a teammate present, but a car placed at the back of the field.* Due to a mechanical issue that prevented the #05 from participating in Friday’s qualifying session, Bennett took the green flag in seventh spot in the PC class, but 33rd overall, well behind slower GT and GTC cars.

    Bennett quickly sliced his way through the field and cleared slower traffic in less than 20 minutes.* Hustling as hard as he could, Bennett turned the #05 over to Braun after an hour and a half, setting Braun off in seventh spot in the PC class but well within striking distance of the leaders.* Hard driving, a series of caution periods and strategy allowed the #05 to end up in the second spot, despite Braun’s best efforts to repeat his Lime Rock-winning pass.

    With the team championship locked up, CORE autosport drivers now face a second ALMS championship to win in 2012 ”“ the PC driver’s championship.* After today’s win, Popow slightly increased his lead in the ALMS PC driver’s standings over the #05 CORE autosport drivers, Braun and Bennett.* Despite being teammates, each driver has vowed to fight to the end for that title, which may not be decided until the final round of the 2012 ALMS season at the Petit Le Mans in October.

    To see a highlight race broadcast from today’s four-hour Road America Road Race Showcase, tune into ESPN2 on Sunday, August 19th at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2. *

    Next, CORE autosport will take to the streets of Baltimore’s inner harbor for the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT.* Practice and qualifying for the event will be held on Friday, August 31, with the two-hour street race on Saturday, September 1.

    Jon Bennett
    “I didn’t think it was going to be possible to win back-to-back championships when I met Morgan three years ago and told him that I had a plan to start a race team.* But I didn’t own any tools and didn’t have a facility.

    “Morgan was nice to consider my offer and he’s built an outstanding team with excellent mechanics, engineers and a world-class driver lineup.* To see the team’s hard work materialize in a championship this early in the season is just fantastic.

    “I do have to admit that as a team owner, at the end of the race it was a little frightening to see some of the best drivers in the business ”“ Colin and Tom - go head-to-head on the track with my cars.* They acted like adults today although they reminded me of two kids racing shopping carts in a grocery store. *

    "They didn’t give each other an inch but they did a great job bringing home both cars in first and second.

    “As we move on, the driver’s championship will definitely be every man for himself. It’ll be fun, tight and serious over the next three races in the 2012 ALMS season.”

    Colin Braun
    “Congratulations to the entire team, Jon and Morgan and everyone involved to win the 2012 ALMS PC team championship.
    “Considering the ups and downs of the weekend we had a good day today with a second-place finish.

    “Starting from the back was a challenge and Jon did great to get me the car in good shape and in a decent spot. *

    "Man, I went after Tom with all I had and I wish I could’ve gotten by him, but I had to make sure we finished the race.

    “Going against Tom was hard because he’s my teammate.* I know if it was anyone else in front of me I would’ve raced him differently, but he’s a great driver and we had a tough battle.

    “Jon and I are only getting better as co-drivers and the #05 guys are giving us great cars, so next time we’ll see how that one-two finish turns out!”

    Alex Popow
    “What a race today and an experience for me.* To run two races in two countries today was a risky move, but we tried to plan it out and manage how it would work and it turned out perfectly.
    “As soon as I got to Road America I was immediately in the car. Luckily I could keep the #06 in second spot and turn it over to Tom, who did an amazing job.* Of course on the last lap when he was racing against Colin he almost gave me a heart attack, but it turned out great for us.

    “The #06 car has been on the podium for every race of the 2012 ALMS season and for that I have to thank Jon Bennett.* It’s not easy, coming into the team that’s the best in class and driving against the team owner, but CORE autosport is very professional and we get identical cars and the same opportunities to win.

    “Congratulations to everyone at CORE autosport for the 2012 ALMS PC championship.* Now it’s time to focus on the driver championship, which I cannot wait to do.* But first I’ve got to figure out where my baggage is ”“ between the commuting back and forth between Canada and Road America over the last three days has been tough!”

    Tom Kimber-Smith
    “First I’d like to thank Alex for showing up to drive with me today.* There was a point there where I wasn’t sure he was going to make it but I’m very happy he did so we could continue building points for him in the driver’s championship.* I appreciate Alex asking me to co-drive with him again this year.
    “Also a big thanks to Morgan, Jon and all of the boys at CORE autosport for giving us a fantastic car. The team is the best in the PC field and to clinch the team championship is fantastic.

    “Today was my first win in U.S. racing and what a thrill it is to win it like that.* In the last lap I thought I’d lost it at one point and it brought back a memory of Colin’s move in Lime Rock earlier this year.* I wasn’t going to let that happen again and I went in deep and managed to keep in front of him.

    “It was hard to dice with your sister car.* If it was anyone else other than Colin we would’ve been off, but he gave me enough room.* He’s a very professional driver and a great competitor.”

    CORE autosport

    Road America Road Race Showcase


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