Colin Braun says CORE autosport’s overall podium finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona sets the team up well for its return to prototype racing in the rest of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The No. 54 Oreca 07 Gibson finished third overall on Sunday, as the highest-placed LMP2 car, in a race that saw the Cadillac DPi-V.Rs have the edge.
Braun, who shared the car with Romain Dumas, Loic Duval and team owner Jon Bennett, finished only 91 seconds behind the winning Action Express Racing entry after a fairly trouble-free run.
“I think it sets us up really nice, gets the momentum going,” Braun told Sportscar365.
“I’m really proud of all the guys; they’ve been working really hard getting these cars from ORECA to get them up to our fit and finish and making Jon and I, Romain and Loic happy in the car.
“They’ve done a really nice job getting us all dialed in and we’re still improving. This is our first race with this car and only the third time we’ve ever run the car, so we’re very excited to get it going and keep going.”
Braun praised ORECA for the car’s reliability which led to a considerably more straight-forward race for the CORE crew than most DPi teams had.
The only major issue the team faced all race was a spin which flat-spotted the tires when Dumas was hit by another car, leading to an unscheduled stop.
“I think one of the advantages of the Oreca is that it’s proven and reliable and has done a lot of racing so we knew we had that going along for us,” he said.
“After qualifying, we knew we didn’t have the outright lap pace that the Cadillacs had but we had good, consistent race pace so we just executed our plan.
“We definitely didn’t have the pace that the Cadillacs did, obviously, but then they had some reliability stuff going on at the end when they were quite slow. I thought we might be back in the mix at the end.”
Braun also revealed that the team has only run the Oreca at Daytona so far, making him even more eager for March’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
“We’ve never tested anywhere or raced it anywhere but Daytona so we’re excited to take it to a non-roval track and get a feel for it and see what it’s about to get on with it,” he said.
In addition to the team’s overall podium, Bennett also won the Trueman Award for the highest-placed Pro-Am driver, which saw the entire driving lineup take home Rolex watches.
“I imagined it but it’s nice,” Bennett told Sportscar365. “It’s quite an accomplishment.
“I knew about [the award], but I don’t think a lot of folks on our team knew about it so I was like, ‘This is about to happen!’ so that’s good.”
John Dagys contributed to this report