American Le Mans Series CORE autosport Ready for First Time at VIR

Discussion in 'National Series' started by Administrator, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Administrator

    Administrator Administrator Staff Member

    ROCK HILL, SC, Monday, September 10, 2012: CORE autosport is prepared for success, and some unknowns, at Virginia International Raceway this Saturday in the penultimate round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season.

    After clinching the 2012 ALMS Prototype Challenge (PC) team championship in Round Seven (out of 10) at Road America, all eyes turn to Round Nine to see what will happen with the driver’s championship, at a circuit that ALMS has never visited prior to this season.

    #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 driver Alex Popow is currently leading the PC driver standings by 32 points, aided by four wins in 2012 (Sebring, Long Beach, Road America and Baltimore), but the sister #05 Composite Resources car’s pilots, Jon Bennett and Colin Braun, with two wins (Laguna Seca and Lime Rock), will put up a fight for the title.

    Joining Popow in the #06 machine for the four-hour VIR 240 is Tom Kimber-Smith, class winner of the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.* The combination of Popow and Kimber-Smith resulted in a win at Road America and podium finishes at Laguna Seca and Lime Rock. Both drivers have only raced on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit once before, Popow in 2011 and Kimber-Smith in 2008.

    Kimber-Smith and Popow will need serious speed to keep ahead of Bennett and Braun.** Both drivers live in the greater Charlotte, NC area and have spent years testing and driving at the track.* For Bennett it includes time in a variety of race cars, including a Formula Ford and spec racers, among others.* Braun has not only tested NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series cars at the venue, he competed there in a GRAND-AM Rolex sports car multiple times, with a pole position and a second place on his resume.

    But this weekend will not just be only about chasing an ALMS PC driver championship, it’s also about helping the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.* At 12:15 p.m. (ET) CORE autosport will be holding a live auction in the ALMS paddock area benefiting this important foundation, with many exclusive team items for sale.* Braun will act as auctioneer, and he will be joined by other team drivers and crew members.

    Practice for the VIR 240 begins on Thursday, September 13th, with additional practice and qualifying on Friday the 14th.* The four-hour race begins at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, September 15th.* Live coverage of practice and qualifying can be found on, with a two-hour event summary broadcasting on ESPN2 television at 5 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, September 16th.

    Jon Bennett
    “I’ve been racing at VIR for quite a long time and have lots of experience at that track ”“ in club racing, with a Formula Ford 2000, endurance racers, spec racers ”“ and I’ve always enjoyed my time there.

    “I’m very happy that the ALMS has included VIR in the 2012 schedule.* Not only is it reasonably close to our Rock Hill, South Carolina headquarters, but it’s a classic natural road course with interesting features.* The esses should be taken flat out in our PC car and the long back straightway will be very fast.

    “The layout of the course will also lend itself to some great wheel-to-wheel racing and lots of passing opportunities.* It will be a great show for the fans.

    “As for the driver’s championship, obviously Colin and I are a bit behind Alex in the points, but the #05 car has a great chance to win the race on Saturday.* It’s a long race and there are so many variables that I wouldn’t count anyone out.

    “It’s just a thrill for me to be a team owner and know that CORE autosport will win the driver’s championship ”“ but we’re not sure which car it’ll be!”

    Colin Braun
    “VIR is a real home track for me and a place I know very well, having driven almost every kind of car imaginable there.* Except for an ALMS PC car, which should be a little different, but I know the track surface and how it changes throughout the day.
    “I’ve worked with our team engineer Gary Davies to come up with a setup that combines outright speed and high downforce, which a PC car is very good at making.

    “I have confidence in Gary and the guys to get Jon and I a good initial setup, and with our experience at the track, by race day we will have a car more than capable of winning.”

    Alex Popow
    “This is a very important race for the 2012 ALMS PC driver’s championship.* If Tom and I do our jobs correctly this coming weekend, I may be able to clinch it, but you never know what will happen in a four hour race.
    “I do know that the crew of the #06 gives me the best, highest-prepared car as possible and their pit stops are always very fast ”“ that’s how we won four races this season, in my first year of ALMS racing.

    "I am not worried about the car, the crew or Tom, as all of us know what our jobs are.

    “Our only competition for the driver’s championship is our sister #05 car with Colin and Jon.* Both of them really know VIR very well, and Tom and I have only raced there once before, so we’ve got a lot to learn in a short amount of time.

    "At least none of us have driven a PC car at VIR before, so the playing field will be a little leveled!”

    Tom Kimber-Smith
    “It’s great to be back at CORE autosport for another race, my third with the team and Alex this season.
    “At Road America, I was able to help CORE autosport clinch the ALMS PC team championship, and now my focus is completely on helping Alex clinch the driver championship.

    “Alex and his co-driver in Baltimore, Ryan Dalziel, did an amazing job with their win in the last round, and I hope to continue that success at VIR.

    “I last visited VIR in 2008 in GRAND-AM competition with Cheever Racing.* It’s a very fast circuit that will certainly push an ALMS PC car to its limits.

    "It will be great fun to be back there!”

    CORE autosport

    American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón VIR 240


Share This Page