CORE autosport owner/driver Jon Bennett has announced his retirement from racing, effectively bringing the team’s Nissan DPi program to a close at the end of this year.
As revealed by Sportscar365 last Friday, CORE is to discontinue its venture in the top prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the Ligier Automotive-built chassis.
In an open letter addressed to the team’s supporters and partners, Bennett explained that he would be stepping back from the wheel after Motul Petit Le Mans in October.
A team spokesperson confirmed that this also means the end of the CORE Nissan DPi program after one season.
Bennett purchased the ex-Extreme Speed Motorsports cars at the end of last year, following a successful 2018 campaign with an LMP2-class Oreca 07 Gibson.
This was in a bid to remain in the top class of the WeatherTech Championship after the DPi and LMP2 formulas were split into separate categories for 2019.
He and his co-driver Colin Braun finished second in last year’s championship with the Oreca, while their ongoing debut season with the Nissan DPi has so far heralded a best result of fourth in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Bennett, 54, said he has “no racing plans in the near future” but would not rule out a total retirement from motorsport, stating that he will “leave the door slightly ajar.”
“I have lived the dream of so many who are passionate about motorsport and it’s time to reflect and enjoy racing, once again, from outside the race car,” he said.
“I would like to thank IMSA for their graciousness and providing a world-class stage upon which to perform.”
CORE’s exit from the DPi ranks leaves three manufacturers in the top prototype field for 2020, with Mazda, Cadillac and Acura still on board.
The team will continue to service the Porsche factory GT Le Mans program next year with the new Porsche 911 RSR-19, while Bennett will stay on as team owner.