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CORE autosport Leaves Lasting IMSA Legacy

The Championship-Winning Team Announced It Is Ceasing Operations


By Mark Robinson


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The news came as a surprise to the sports car racing community. CORE autosport, winner of no fewer than seven team championships over the past 12 seasons in IMSA’s top-tier series, is ceasing operations.


“From towing a race car to SCCA races in 1992 to winning races in IMSA’s top prototype class with Colin Braun in 2018, I have had an amazing, dreamlike experience in the sport I love so much,” team founder Jon Bennett said in a statement released late Thursday afternoon. “This was a tremendously difficult decision, but as life outside of racing continues to take my focus away from the driver’s seat, I recognize that it’s time to bring this wild ride to an end.”


Oh, what a legacy Bennett and CORE will leave. It began in 2011 in what was then the American Le Mans Series, when CORE won the Prototype Challenge (PC) class championship by a single point over Genoa Racing. It started a run of five consecutive PC crowns through ALMS and into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.


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A key during that run was the 2012 addition of uber-talented driver Braun, who helped lift the program to another level. Braun and Bennett won the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in 2014, on their way to the PC championship. They repeated as champions in 2015.


“Thank you to Colin Braun, who dedicated 10 years of his career to deliver flawless, world-class speed to CORE autosport,” Bennett said. “Colin’s speed and spirit enabled our team to achieve great success and multiple championships in IMSA. Most of all, I gained a wonderful, lifelong friend.”


The feelings are mutual, according to Braun.


“I couldn’t ask for a better car owner, co-driver, mentor and friend,” Braun said. “Jon believed in me and gave me a tremendous opportunity 10 years ago and I can’t thank him enough for that. I could have never dreamed we would be here 10 years later with three driver championships and race wins at some of the world’s biggest races like the Rolex 24 and Twelve Hours of Sebring.


“Jon is a tremendous competitor and one of the most respected people in the IMSA paddock. It’s been an honor and a privilege to share the driver’s seat with him. Off-track, he’s become one of my closest friends and I know that friendship will continue forever.”


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After dipping into GT Daytona (GTD) competition in 2017, Bennett, Braun and CORE entered an ORECA Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) in the Prototype class for 2018 and stunned many by collecting a pair of overall victories, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America.


CORE even took on a Nissan in the final year of the manufacturer’s Daytona Prototype international (DPi) competition in 2019.


During most of those years – from 2014 to 2020 – CORE also operated the two-car Porsche GT Team program in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. That effort culminated in a 1-2 class finish in the 2019 standings.


“Thank you to Porsche Motorsport for the honor of representing their brand for seven seasons,” Bennett said. “Under the leadership of Morgan Brady, CORE and Porsche collaborated to add many memorable victories and championships to Porsche’s long history of excellence.”


After taking a year off racing together in 2020, Bennett and Braun reunited in 2021 in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class, winning a pair of races – including Sebring for a second time – and taking second in the points. They did it one better this year, winning the LMP3 championship.


“I was a fan of IMSA during the fire-throwing GTP days of the early 1980’s and it has been an honor to be an IMSA competitor for the past 13 seasons,” Bennett added. “Thank you, IMSA, for all of your support.


“Now, it’s time (once again) to unclip the HANS device and become a spectator. I look forward to the rebirth of GTP factory prototype racing and the spectacular season ahead for IMSA. I will be there, just behind the chain link fence, watching with the excitement of a child.”

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