American Le Mans Series CORE autosport Wins 2012 ALMS PC driver championship, race at VIR

Discussion in 'National Series' started by Administrator, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Administrator

    Administrator Administrator Staff Member

    ALTON, VA, Saturday, September 15, 2012: CORE autosport’s 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) domination continued at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) today with a substantial win for Jon Bennett and Colin Braun and teammate Alex Popow clinching the Prototype Challenge (PC) driver’s championship.

    With a third-place finish at today’s four-hour VIR 240, Popow, lead driver of the #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09, clinched the PC driver’s championship in his first year of ALMS competition - with nine out of the 10 races complete this season.* In those nine races, Popow and his co-drivers have racked up four wins and nine podium finishes.

    This title marks CORE autosport’s second consecutive driver’s championship in two years of ALMS PC competition, adding to the team’s two ALMS PC team championships during the same period.* The difference between 2011 and 2012 is timing ”“ in 2011 the team won both championships after the final race with only one point separating the team title and a tie for drivers, while in 2012 the team championship was won after race seven and the driver championship tonight, both in a dominating fashion.

    At today’s race it was the #05 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09, co-driven by team owner / founder Bennett and Braun, that was the class of the field.* After topping two of three practice sessions and winning the pole position by one of the closest margins in ALMS history (.001 second / .002 mph), Bennett and Braun were able to trounce the competition by more than one lap around the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit for a first-place finish.

    The VIR 240 began with drama from the first turn of the first lap, when most of the field piled into each other after the start.* Popow, who had started in third spot (eighth overall), was able to get the #06 by the incident with some damage to the rear of the car, but Bennett was forced off the track and found himself mired in GT-class traffic.

    After getting back on track, Bennett was able to wheel the #05 past most of the slower traffic and began to catch up to the leaders, but only 40 minutes into the race was hit from behind by a spinning GTC-class Porsche and was forced off yet again.* Meanwhile, Popow was addressing an electrical issue in the #06 caused from the first lap incident.

    Both first-shift drivers brought their respective cars into the pits at approximately the 1:20 mark, the crews went to work and Braun replaced Bennett in the #05 while Tom Kimber-Smith took the wheel from Popow in the #06.

    In less than 40 minutes after taking the wheel of the #05, Braun took over the first spot in PC and did not let it go for the remainder of the race ”“ more than two hours.* He was so far ahead of the second-place entrant that when the white flag waved, Braun was able to bring the #05 into the pit for a quick splash of fuel ”“ and he still finished one lap ahead of the competition.

    This win marks the third of the season for the #05 car and the first time Bennett and Braun have won from PC-class pole position.

    It was not quite as easy for Kimber-Smith and the #06 crew as the race wore on, as the team continued to address electrical issues and traffic problems.* The team was able to recover from these issues and Kimber-Smith was able to move up from fifth to firmly grasp the third spot, insuring a solid finish for CORE autosport and the championship for Popow.

    This latest championship crowns an incredible year for Venezuela-native Popow.* With CORE autosport and co-drivers that included Kimber-Smith, Ryan Dalziel, E.J. Viso and Burt Frisselle, the #06 won in the PC class at Sebring, Long Beach, Road America and Baltimore.* In GRAND-AM Rolex Series competition, Popow won the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix and won the driver’s title in the North American Endurance Championship.

    A two-hour recap of the VIR 240 will air on ESPN2 television at 5 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, September 16th.

    Next for the dual-championship-winning CORE autosport team is the grand finale of the 2012 ALMS season, the Petit Le Mans.* This 10-hour or 1000-mile event takes place at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 20th.

    Jon Bennett
    “What an incredible day for CORE autosport, to win the race with Colin and for Alex to clinch the championship truly shows the depth of talent that we have in this organization.

    “Today started off pretty wild and I really wasn’t expecting this race start, especially when I had to do a few hundred yards in the dirt, and then the tangle with the GTC car.* But we recovered and I was able to get the car to Colin with all four wheels attached and in good position for him to go out there and do what he did.

    “Colin and I are fierce competitors and we did whatever we could to try to win that driver’s championship, but if it’s anyone else who could win it, I’m happy it’s Alex.* He’s had a great season and is a joy to have with us in the paddock.* He really deserves it.

    “So now Colin and I have three wins this year and we’re going to finish second in the driver’s championship ”“ I think this foreshadows a lot of good things for our team at Petit Le Mans and for the 2013 season.”

    Colin Braun
    “First of all, congratulations to Alex for winning the 2012 ALMS PC championship.* Jon and I went down fighting and we’re very happy for him.
    “VIR has been great for this #05 team ”“ to get a pole position and a win at a place where the ALMS has never competed before really shows the strength of the crew and the car.* Our lead engineer Gary Davies gave this car a great setup and we really didn’t do too much to the car all weekend.

    “Jon had a fantastic first shift in the car ”“ definitely his best this season.* Traffic here is also challenging, as some of the GT-class guys will treat you well and let you by while others would block, but that’s part of the fun of this place and where you can get a big advantage.

    “VIR is one of my favorite race tracks and Jon, Gary, the crew and I were able to capitalize on every piece we had going for us.”

    Alex Popow
    “I still can’t believe that we clinched the 2012 ALMS PC driver’s championship.* What an incredible first year I’ve had in the ALMS with CORE autosport ”“ nine races and nine podium finishes.* A great accomplishment for the team and all of my co-drivers this year in the #06 car ”“ Tom Kimber-Smith, Ryan Dalziel, EJ Viso and Burt Frisselle.
    “Without all of these guys ”“ from team manager Morgan Brady to #06 engineer Ed Nathman to the guys who put together the car led by Eric Wareing and Neal Everhart ”“ I thank them all.

    "And of course Jon Bennett, one of my biggest competitors and the owner of CORE autosport.* His professionalism, from his organization to giving me an equal car, is rare in motorsport.

    “Today we had some pretty bad racing luck, but the guys all came together, powered through it and we ended up on the podium.** It was hard but a perfect day.

    “Now I am ready to go to Petit Le Mans with no pressure and go for the win!”

    Tom Kimber-Smith
    “All we had to do to help Alex clinch the championship was to finish third and who knew that that would be one of the hardest things to do!
    “The #06 car seemed to take a season’s worth of bad luck and cram it into one race ”“ from the collision to the traffic ”“ it all seemed against us.* But we made it through and Alex has won the PC driver’s championship.

    “Alex has worked so hard this year and really deserves all of this success.* A big congratulations to him and all of the #06 crew and all of the CORE autosport guys for everything they’ve done this year.* I have enjoyed driving for this team and with Alex.

    “It’s just amazing that Alex has done so much as an ALMS rookie.* I guess he’s not that anymore.”

    CORE autosport

    American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón VIR 240


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