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BRAUN: Petit Le Mans Debrief

Colin Braun files his last Sportscar365 column of the season…

Petit Le Mans was certainly a challenging week for everybody with the changing weather conditions. We we had a lot of things we wanted to accomplish in testing and practice.

When you break that down over three drivers it means you need to make the most of all the track time you have. Thankfully, we had a dry session on Wednesday but from that point forward it seemed like every sessions had some sort of weather. It made it hard for all the drivers to get quality seat time and also made it tricky to test our different setups.

All the teams were debating on the grid what tire choice to go with. I think we made the right choice, going with the slick tires. The track was still damp when we started the race though, so I had to be really careful.

Soon thereafter it started raining again. It was one of those days that you could check three or four different radars and get three or four different answers on what the rain was going to do. For us drivers I think its kind of fun, but for the crew guys, having to change tires so many times probably got annoying.

Petit Le Mans is an interesting race because it’s a long race, but it’s not the length of Sebring or Daytona. I don’t really have time to sleep in between stints. I’ll just go back to the truck, get a massage, eat some food, lay down and rest. The race actually goes by really quick so you don’t have time for naps.

Something I really enjoyed about the race was driving the GT car at night. The PC car doesn’t have the lighting that the GT cars have and I was really happy with the lights on the Porsche.

It was funny talking to Patrick [Long] about it, because he thought the lights needed to be aimed different, but I told him coming from the PC car I thought they were great. He said he was glad he never had to drive a PC car at night!

We definitely wanted to finish better than eighth, but from the team’s standpoint, we did well. The crew did good pit stops, we had good strategy and the drivers all did their jobs. It wasn’t our day, but we’ll hold our heads high because we executed well from the team stand point.

I was happy to see CORE autosport win their third PC championship. That was the goal when we started the season. Achieving that goal is a testament to the team that Jon Bennett and Morgan Brady have built. It’s neat to have been a part of that.

When I first started driving for Jon I really respected what he’d done with his business and the way he was going about building a race team. He’s working hard to become a better race car driver and it’s been fun to be a part of that process and watch him grow. His views and my views are similar on a lot of things. I think he’s a fantastic person and I’m glad we’ve become good friends over these two seasons.

It was also an honor to be a part of the final ALMS season. I took part in some ALMS races before I went racing in NASCAR. It was cool to come back to ALMS after NASCAR and see how the series had grown in four or five years. I was glad to be part of such an important racing series in North America.

I was just looking at my calendar and I realized how short our offseason is, especially with the merger. There’s so much that’s going to be going on between now and January testing at Daytona. It’s only a couple months away and by the time you throw in Christmas and Thanksgiving, it feels like only four weeks of an offseason at best.

I don’t have too much to say about my plans for 2014. I can tell you with certainty that I will be back in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, but I’m still working out the rest of the details. Stay tuned.

Colin Braun (@colinbraun) is a sports car racing standout and former NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series driver, currently racing with CORE autosport in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship

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