While they may have not celebrated on the podium Saturday evening, both Mike Guasch and CORE autosport took home their respective Prototype Challenge titles in Sunday’s American Le Mans Series “Night of Champions” awards ceremonies.
The series had originally announced Chris Cumming and BAR1 Motorsports as the driver and team champions following their victory in the series-ending Petit Le Mans. However, further examination revealed that the second-place finishing 8Star Motorsports team and drivers Ozz Negri and Sean Rayhall were not eligible to score points, as they were not full-season competitors.
IMSA rules state that points are awarded as though the part-time entries were not competing in the event, which allowed all full-season competitors to gain positions accordingly.
As a result of a one-position gain for each, Guasch earned the driver championship by a single point over Cumming and CORE took the team title over BAR1.
CORE was tied for the championship lead with PR1/Mathiasen heading into Saturday but the Bobby Oergel-led PR1 squad suffered a disastrous race, triggered by an early race incident by the Rebellion Lola-Toyota.
Losing nearly 20 laps in the garage for suspension and radiator repairs, the No. 52 car finished fifth in class, but received fourth place points, which was good enough for Guasch to take his first drivers’ title.
“It has been an emotional roller coaster all year,” Guasch said. “Nothing has come easy. We’ve been hit, we’ve wrecked in warm up, taken pole but not the race win, just had everything thrown at us all season. It just shows how difficult it is to compete at this level where getting anywhere near the front takes an enormous amount of energy and commitment.
“I went to sleep thinking we got second, and I was truly satisfied. I’m not joking, I really did. I was proud of how much I improved over the year, how we won the 12 Hours of Sebring with an all Silver driver lineup, how it was just me and David in the car during the middle of the season fighting for every spot against the odds.”
A third place finish, which resulted in second place points for the No. 05 CORE, entry saw the Jon Bennett-owned squad claim its third consecutive PC teams’ championship.
“This is an amazing accomplishment and well-deserved for the hard work this team has put in all season,” team manager Morgan Brady said. “Every single person stepped up to the challenge of chasing a third-straight PC title and balancing it with our GT debut. This wouldn’t have been possible without the vision of Jon Bennett and a strong crew.”