CORE autosport could bring its Nissan DPi program to a close at the end of this year, in a reversal of its initial plans to continue in the top class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2020.
Multiple sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that the Rock Hill, S.C.-based organization is likely to suspend its current DPi operations, with team owner/driver Jon Bennett rumored to retire from full-time driving following October’s Motul Petit Le Mans.
It comes after a mixed season with the Ligier Automotive-built DPi car, which has seen Bennett and longtime co-driver Colin Braun fail to reach the podium despite showing improved pace in recent races, including pole for Braun at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
CORE purchased the cars from the now-defunct Extreme Speed Motorsports operation late last year, having made the last-minute change of plans instead of continuing to run an Oreca 07 Gibson in the newly spun-off LMP2 class for the 2019 season.
Bennett told Sportscar365 last month at CTMP that the plan would be to continue with the Nissan DPi next year, although it’s believed a decision was made this week to end the program after just one season.
When asked by Sportscar365 on Friday, Bennett said that’s “not exactly true” and the team will be “better prepared” to speak next week on its future plans.
“Our plans for next year haven’t been finalized,” Bennett told Sportscar365. “I don’t really know where the rumors are coming from but there have been no final decisions made.”
Should CORE not continue in the top class, it could leave just three DPi manufacturers and a likely reduced field for the 2020 WeatherTech Championship season.
As revealed by Sportscar365 earlier this month, Ford has ruled out a DPi for next year, with no other manufacturers in the immediate pipeline.
Any change to the CORE’s DPi operation is understood to have no impact on its long-term partnership with Porsche in the operation of the German manufacturer’s factory GT Le Mans class effort.
The CORE-run squad currently leads the GTLM standings heading into next weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway, with five class wins in eight races.