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Colin Braun files a Sportscar365 column after his CORE Porsche debut…

One of the biggest differences I experienced between the DP car in March and the Porsche last weekend were the mechanical grip and tire grip. I don’t think lap times are tremendously different between the two, but they do it a bit differently.

Personally, I think it’s fun when you have a high mechanical grip car. You’re less reliant on the aero downforce. A track like COTA has so many low speed corners that it makes it more fun in a car with more mechanical grip and less reliant on aero.

Like the DP cars, the PC car has a lot of downforce, carbon brakes and is a lot lighter and has a lower center of gravity. You have to realize the level of grip difference that you’re getting into with the Porsche. Sometimes it caught me off guard. I’m used to the high downforce of the PC cars. You get to a fast corner in the Porsche and realize quickly that these cars have very different downforce levels.

It’s great to have Patrick Long as a teammate. I think he’s lived in Porsches for the last 10 years. He knows them very well and understands the nuances and how they’re developed. We’re very lucky to have someone with that much experience on our side.

I love racing wheel-to-wheel. It’s why I enjoyed racing in NASCAR and in the PC class: great wheel-to-wheel battles. The start of the GT race was a lot similar. I really enjoyed getting to start the race again – in the PC class we have always had Jon start!

We went three-wide over the hill. It got interesting, because we had to worry about some of the PC guys not getting up to speed as quickly as the GT guys. I made a move where I thought I would be second or even leading the GT class after Turn One, but unfortunately there was a PC car in our lane that didn’t get up to speed as quickly as I thought he would and we ended up in third or fourth.

Towards the end of my stint we started having some brake balance issues. I kept locking up the front tires. We started moving the brake bias to the rear. But that overheated the rear tires.

It was a Catch 22 situation: I had to prevent the front tires from locking up with the bias, but then you’re building more rear temperature and heat in the rear tires. We were able to make an adjustment on the first driver change when we put Pat in. We reset the brake bias and it was good to go from there on.

It was so disappointing to see Pat pull off with less than an hour to go. I feel like we were set to have a good result. The guys worked really hard to get the car back together after Baltimore and prepared like it was. They did a fantastic job.

We had no issues with the car, no teething issues, nothing at all. It was like we never skipped a beat. Big hat’s off to the guys because they worked their butts off. We were quick in practice and having no issues after that rebuild was impressive. I would have liked to bring home a strong result for the guys, but that’s racing.

Even while I’m learning the Porsche, I have quite a vested interest in what’s going on with the PC side.

All of those guys I’ve become close friends with. I’ve worked with Jon for a year and a half and we work very well together, so I’m trying to help that program out as much as I can. I have a lot of experience in the PC car and want to help out where I can. I want to see that program continue move forward and be a dominant force.

I think the goals for VIR personally are to continue to learn about the GT car and the little nuances. I think as a group we need to keep pushing forward and try to bring home a good result.

It’s a bit challenging having a little bit older car compared to the competition. It makes us have to work that much harder and smarter and come up with a strong strategy for the race.

We’ve shown that we can run with the current factory guys and hopefully we can pull it all together and finish the year with some strong results.

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Colin Braun (@colinbraun) is a sports car racing standout and former NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series driver, driving for Meyer Shank Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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