Colin Braun believes “anything’s possible” for the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, with CORE autosport emerging as a legitimate championship contender with only two Prototype rounds remaining.
A second place finish in last month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and back-to-back wins at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America has vaulted Braun and co-driver/team owner Jon Bennett to third in the title race and only ten points from leaders Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran.
The Pro-Am-crewed team claimed a strategic victory in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, following well-timed pit stops and a fuel-savings run for Braun, who stretched the mileage of his No. 54 Oreca 07 Gibson to lead another 1-2 finish for LMP2 machinery.
Braun, who along with his Bronze-rated co-driver sit ahead of reigning series champions Wayne Taylor Racing as well as both Acura Team Penske lineups in the championship standings, said the recent points haul and title prospects has not changed their approach in the final races of the season.
“We’ve just been coming in here, trying to do our jobs and improve and get a bit better,” Braun told Sportscar365. “We can’t control who we’re racing and the BoP. We can’t control a lot of that kind of stuff, so we’ve always been heads down, focused on that.
“That’s one of the reasons why I love driving for Jon and Morgan [Brady]. It’s all about continuing to get better.
“We aren’t going to go back to Rock Hill [S.C.] tomorrow and party it up. We’re going to go back and try and get better for Laguna.
“I think with that approach, it’s limitless expectations.”
While having started the season with a third place overall finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Brian Colangelo-led team has been on fire through the summer months, with Braun and Bennett having gained 18 points on championship leaders Action Express Racing since Detroit.
Should Bennett and Braun continue at that pace, they’d be crowned Prototype champions following October’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans.
Given the strength of the Oreca LMP2 car at both WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta, and the return of Romain Dumas for the ten-hour season finale, Braun says they will keep fighting.
“We’ve got two good tracks with the LMP2 cars coming up,” he said. “Laguna is obviously a place where LMP2 cars have historically run well.
“We’ll see what IMSA does with the BoP but I don’t think we showed any amazing pace with the DPis [at Road America]. I don’t think we showed any great fuel mileage on a green flag run. We were able to save but that came down to hitting our numbers.
“I’m excited about the next two races. We’ve got Romain coming back for Petit Le Mans.
“Anything’s possible and we’re going to keep fighting till the end, like we always do.”
Bennett: “I’m Proud to Race Against Some of the Best in the Business”
While the recent success has been a gratifying experience, Bennett admits he’s always held the bar high for his small, but resourceful operation.
The four-time Prototype Challenge championship-winning squad stepped up to top-level Prototype competition this year following a one-year stint in GT Daytona, where it largely struggled.
“My optimistic view of the season was that we’d be a contender in the series, a team that looked like it belonged in the series and could learn the car and execute the races like our peers,” Bennett told Sportscar365. “With that, I would say as we approach the season, mission accomplished.
“What I prefer to do going to the end of the season is not so much anticipating what could happen but enjoy what has happened and focusing on properly executed races in two more races. We’ll see what the results take us.
“It has been amazing to compete against the best drivers and the best teams.”