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CORE to Move to Prototype Class with Oreca LMP2

CORE autosport confirms move to Prototype class with Oreca 07 Gibson…

Photo: Alexis Goure/ORECA

Five-time Prototype Challenge class champions CORE autosport will move to the Prototype Class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year with an Oreca 07 Gibson and drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun.

The team makes the switch to the top class after six seasons in the PC category and the current season in the GT Daytona class.

“Our start at CORE was with prototypes in 2010,” driver and team owner Bennett said. “It feels good to get back to our roots and progressing as a team.

“We’ve spent the past season watching with interest how the competition and budgets would shake out in the re-vamped Prototype category. We are encouraged to see the growth and competitiveness in this premier class and look forward to our debut at the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona.”

CORE already has a successful history with ORECA, running the Oreca FLM09 chassis in all six years of its PC program, and also providing shop space for the French constructor’s North American operations.

“We are of course really happy to have CORE autosport joining the ORECA family in LMP2,” OREA Group President Hugues de Chaunac said.

“Actually, it feels like the team is coming back home because of the long-term relationship we have since the involvement in Prototype Challenge.

“Jon Bennett, Morgan Brady and the whole CORE autosport team have done such a great job in IMSA that we are looking forward to working together with the Oreca 07.”

Both Pro-Pro and Pro-Am driver lineups are allowed in the Prototype class, which races at all the 2018 IMSA venues except for the GT-only events at Lime Rock Park and VIRginia International Raceway.

CORE will finish the 2017 season in GTD with the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R, including this weekend’s Monterey Grand Prix and the Petit Le Mans season finale in October.

The team expects to take delivery of its Oreca by the end of the year.

“We’ve enjoyed our experience in GTD with Porsche and expect the Prototype class to be no less competitive,” CORE COO Morgan Brady said.

“The potential to win races like Daytona and Sebring, overall, is something we’re all looking forward to. No doubt this transition will be a lot of work, but everyone at CORE has proven time and again that they are up to the challenge.”

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  1. Tim

    September 21, 2017 at 9:38 am

    That paint scheme on a P2 will look so good!

    Hope they do good. Need more pro-am teams

  2. Anon

    September 21, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Not going to win overall with those drivers. They should be a good fight in pro-am though.

    • Jack

      September 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      They can fight for overall wins anywhere there is a fcy or any race longer than 2 hours.

      • Bob

        September 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        Very long shot when there will be ~10 pro cars.

  3. Marc

    September 21, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Just doing a quick count of FULL season entries for next year:

    Fully Pro Cars:
    – Cadillac x3 (WTR, AXR, AXR)
    – Mazda x2 (Joest)
    – Nissan x2 (ESM)
    – Acura x2 (Penske)
    – Visit Florida x1

    Cars with at least 1 AM:
    – JDC x1-2
    – CORE x1
    – PR1 x1
    – BAR1 x1-2
    – Performance Tech x1
    – Dawson x1 (Though I’ll believe it when I see it)

    Overall, we are going to see a very healthy grid of prototypes. And there is a growing case to be made for a more separate AM category. But, lets not get bogged down in that discussion and just be excited for a great P class next year in IMSA!!

    Also need to consider partial season entries:
    – Rebellion
    – Jackie Chan DC
    – Dragon Speed
    And I am sure there are others who we haven’t heard form yet.

    Daytona and Sebring are going to be mega!

    • jason

      September 21, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Oh I agree. I hope there is room for the Euro GT3 teams to be able to line up.

      Plus we have to consider the potential for Aston Martin, AF Corse Ferrari, a 3rd Porsche 911 RSR and the 3rd and 4th Ford GT in GTLM.

      GTD will be big too for the 36 hours of florida races. Not sure about the full IMSA season but because it is GT3 cars. I feel there will be teams to replace Stevenson and CORE.

    • Mo

      September 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      What about Starworks?

    • Johannes275

      September 21, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      BAR1 hasn’t confirmed anything, let alone 2 full time LMP2 cars.

  4. jason

    September 21, 2017 at 11:09 am

    We are looking at 16 full season prototype entries at least. Maybe more.

    I think at some tracks like Mid Ohio, Laguna Seca, and CTMP. IMSA might have to consider the possibility of more split class races like they have did at Laguna in 2014 and 2016.

    • Guest

      September 21, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      I wonder if the Multimatic P2 upgrades are good enough, Keating could even step up. Hopefully a few more full-season GT entries too. Mid Ohio and Mosport are slightly more manageable at 2.4 miles, but Laguna at 2.2 could definitely need split again next year.

      I wouldn’t mind all those 2x2hr split races, more chance of staying green all the way. Plus with the saved time, Road America could then return to 4hr combined, and possibly VIR and Lime Rock 3hr GT-only.

  5. Mo

    September 21, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Didn’t Scott Atherton say there was another manufacturer /DPi not yet revealed for next year?

    • Mike D

      September 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      This is the story you’re probably thinking of:

      Acura/Penske was an open secret. Audi/Bentley and Ford are supposedly investigating, could be in the cards for 2019. McLaren has shown interest if DPi becomes a global formula (that was in another story I can’t find at the moment), and there’s occasional Mercedes-AMG rumors.

    • Guest

      September 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Unfortunately I think it was just the Joest Mazda. It was distinctly said two new manufacturers though. Saying two new manufacturers is a real cheap PR statement when one is just Mazda returning.

      Maybe a late announcement at Petit, but I doubt it. Maybe when Toyota announces they’re leaving WEC, they’ll reveal an Oreca 07 with Lexus Super GT engine.

    • Lanky Turtle

      September 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Wasn’t there a rumor of a deep pocketed team owner wanting to run a Ferrari DPi in a similar way to the ESM Nissan relationship?

      • Kyle

        September 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm

        Yeah, “the money man” behind a big Euro Ferrari customer team I think it was.

      • Kirk

        September 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm

        That would be cool. Plus just think how much the ACO would drool at the idea of having Ferrari win their big race again. People said DPi’s would never run at LeMans, but if there are two scarlet ones running I can easily see the ACO wanting a piece of that action.

  6. Jon

    September 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Ferrari DPi would make the ACO drool and give IMSA a rock hard grin. I am hoping and praying Porsche will drop their 911 RSR GTE engine in the back of the Alpine.

  7. DFM

    October 13, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I wish Jon the best of luck as he has just fired his multi-championship winning crew.

    Way to ruin your reputation Mr. Bennett. Tossing out employees that lead to your success.

    Maybe you can stop blaming others for your poor on track performance.

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