Continental Tire IMSA Spotlight: Jon Bennett
Team Principal/Driver: CORE autosport
How excited are you to be returning to prototype racing next year?
“I am one of the fortunate who has been able to pursue their passion all their life. At the start, I transported my first race car on an open trailer and launched my business in my garage.
“It has been a long, exciting journey to this destination. Joining IMSA’s Prototype class is my ‘Everest’ summit. I am so excited to join the best drivers and teams and compete at this highest level.”
What about the Prototype Class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was attractive for you and CORE?
“Prototype racing is the pinnacle category for sports car racing. In 2017, I was impressed with the approach that IMSA designed to combine manufacturers and privateers on an even playing field in the prototype category.”
In your opinion, is the WeatherTech Championship’s current class structure sufficient or would you prefer to see a separate Pro-Am prototype category?
“I agree with the current class structure in the Prototype class. The line between pro and amateur drivers is more blurred every year. For me, debating driver classifications is a distraction. I want to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with the best.”
What can you take away from the time you spent racing in GT Daytona in recent seasons?
“The competitiveness of the cars, drivers, and teams was at a high level in GTD. After many seasons in our PC prototype, I have a new level of respect for these GT drivers and cars.
“While I will miss our beautiful Porsche 911 GT3 R, I leave the class with an appreciation for how these GT cars must be driven. My GT experience will help me understand and coexist with slower classes on track in 2018.”
How did you catch the racing bug?
“There is no racing lineage in my family. I am the lone wolf. At 10 years old, I noticed my subdivision neighbor had a bright red sports car with a big number “54” on the door.
“Day after day, I would ride my bike by the house to get a peek at what was going on inside with that car. One day, Ray Stone invited me in to see and touch his SCCA H production Austin Healy “bug-eye” Sprite.
“We became great friends and soon Ray’s Autoweek and SCCA magazines began to appear in my mailbox. The rest is history; I had the bug. To compete the circle, Ray Stone will be my guest at the 2018 Rolex 24.”