The most successful team in Prototype Challenge history is set for a shakeup, with CORE autosport planning a switch to the GT Daytona class, likely with Porsche, a change that could happen before the end of this season.
Sportscar365 has learned that the Jon Bennett-owned team, which operates the factory Porsche North America program in GT Le Mans, is preparing, in addition, to enter a Porsche 911 GT3 R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for 2017.
While it’s understood that details are still being finalized, the five-time and defending PC champions could curtail its prototype program this year and run the final two races in GTD with Bennett and long-time co-driver Colin Braun.
Bennett and Braun currently sit fourth in the PC championship, 48 points behind leaders Starworks Motorsport, and with no realistic chance of securing the team’s sixth consecutive title.
A move to the Prototype class with a Gibson-engined Oreca 07 for next year had been evaluated but is believed to not have been pursued any further following’s IMSA’s decision not to include a significant Pro-Am component to the class.
Instead, the Rock Hill, SC-based team is believed to have turned its focus to GTD, in what would be an extension of its relationship with the German manufacturer, but on a customer basis.
CORE’s Chief Operating Officer Morgan Brady told Sportscar365 they have have evaluated multiple options for 2017 but are not in a position to make any announcements at this time.
“We’re glad the series has provided clarity on the future of the PC class in a timely manner,” Brady told Sportscar365 during last weekend’s IMSA race at Virginia International Raceway.
“Over the past months we have been evaluating several options depending on the direction of IMSA. There is a clear path for CORE autosport going forward. You can expect an announcement from us before the end of the year.”
Prior to its current factory deal in GTLM, CORE campaigned a Porsche 911 RSR under its own banner in 2013, for Porsche works driver Patrick Long and Tom Kimber-Smith.
Braun made three end-of-season starts in the GTE-spec Porsche that year, with a best finish of second in class at VIR, while Bennett has previously made selected Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama starts.