CORE autosport CEO Mogran Brady says winning the Jim Trueman Award and subsequent auto-invite to the 24 Hours of Le Mans might be the “push” needed to take the team’s LMP2 operation to next year’s race.
The Jon Bennett-owned organization, which makes its Le Mans debut this year as an operational partner to Porsche’s factory GTE-Pro effort, has laid out ambitions of tackling the French endurance classic with its Pro-Am-crewed prototype squad in 2019.
Bennett and co-driver Colin Braun have stepped up to the Prototype class in the WeatherTech Championship this year with an Oreca 07 Gibson, a car and driver lineup that would also be eligible for LMP2 competition at Le Mans.
While a deal to take the team to France has yet to be finalized, Brady indicated that securing the auto-invite awarded by IMSA for being the top-placed sportsman driver in this year’s Prototype class would give them added incentive.
“For any team and driver in sports car racing, Le Mans is in the radar and it’s always your target,” Brady told Sportscar365.
“For us, it’s got to be under the right circumstances and there’s always a big budget [requirement] that comes along with it.
“Certainly the Trueman Award might be the push we need to get it over. We are focused on [winning] the award in the U.S. I would say that would be a big check in the column in terms of getting us here in 2019.”
Bennett currently sits second in the Trueman Award standings, trailing JDC-Miller Motorsports’ Misha Goikhberg by 31 points heading into next month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
The two-time Prototype Challenge class champion, who claimed a third place overall finish in Rolex 24 at Daytona, said there are “a lot of factors” that would go into consideration for a Le Mans entry.
“With our new LMP2 car and the experience that we’re all getting with that car this season, combined with the Treuman Award opportunity, I think you have to consider coming here,” Bennett told Sportscar365.
“I think there’s a lot of factors that go into whether we come back [for the 24 Hours of Le Mans].
“There’s the financial considerations, a competitive consideration, the invitation as well, so there are a lot of things that go into coming here.
“I’m super proud to see CORE here with their two factory Porsches and we’re learning. It’s all beneficial to coming back in here in a prototype.”
Bennett Doing His “Homework” in Le Mans Debut
While not racing in the twice-around-the-clock enduro, Bennett is making his Le Mans debut this weekend at the wheel of a LMP3 car in the Road to Le Mans support races.
Bennett and Nic Jonsson will team up in a M. Racing – YMR-prepared Ligier JS P3 Nissan for the pair of 55-minute races in order to gain crucial experience of the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.
Ironically, Bennett’s longtime teammate Braun will also be racing, but in a United Autosports entry with Michelin Le Mans Cup season-long co-driver Naj Husain.
“For Colin and me, even though we’re doing it for separate teams, getting a little experience in the LMP3 in the Road to Le Mans series is a great way to prepare for coming back so it’s not all brand new,” Bennett said.
“I can’t say for sure, but we’re beginning to do our homework.”
Bennett feels there will be many positives out of dipping his toes in the water, from a driving standpoint, at Le Mans.
“I wouldn’t say Morgan pressures me, but he’s talked about Le Mans,” he said. “A lot of people say that on the first one, a lot of people are overwhelmed by all of this that by the time the race comes you’re [exhausted].
“I think doing the Road to Le Mans is a little bit of a lower visibility, lower pressure way to get some track time.
“Although this is an iconic event, at some point you have to go racing, so I think this is helpful for that.”
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report