IMSA fans are accustomed to downloading entry lists before every event to follow the sanctioning body’s different series and the different classes within those series.
It can be a challenge to keep all the cars and drivers straight, especially at the start of the season.
Since its inception in 2010, CORE autosport hasn’t made that process any easier, because the Rock Hill, S.C.-based team has run in a variety of series. The one thing fans have come to realize, however, is that whenever they see CORE autosport on an entry sheet, they’ve found one of the race’s key competitors.
As it begins its ninth season of competition this month, the team can look back at results that have been nothing less than astounding.
Last year was a perfect example. In only its first season in the top class, Prototype, of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, CORE autosport finished second in the standings, three points behind the winning Action Express entry.
The battle came down to the fact the CORE autosport No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex-Box ORECA 07 LM P2 pitted for a splash of fuel with about 15 minutes remaining in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Georgia’s Road Atlanta last October.
With two victories and five podium finishes, it was a stellar performance, especially considering CORE was up against factory teams with decades more experience in the Prototype category and a true pro-am driver lineup for the bulk of the races, as team owner Jon Bennett shares the driving duties with professional racer Colin Braun.
Bennett has been driving race cars competitively since 1992. He wanted to be a race car driver as a kid but decided the best way to make that dream come true was to become a successful businessman to help fund that dream.
Bennett also owns Composite Resources, which is best known for its Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T). Since 2004 the C-A-T has been issued to more than 1 million military personnel, and it has been responsible for saving many lives.
Composite Resources is headquartered on the top floor of a three-story, 30,000-square-foot building, while CORE autosport occupies the first two floors.
Also integral to the success of the company and the team is Morgan Brady. He’s been the chief operating officer of CORE autosport since April 2010 and the managing partner of Composite Resources since January 2016.
Bennett founded CORE autosport in June 2010, and it began operations in the back of a used car dealership in Rock Hill, S.C. Less than 30 days later the CORE autosport name appeared on an entry list for the first time; its first official race was an IMSA Prototype Lites race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Three months later, in October 2010, it had earned its first championship, claiming the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites title.
The Prototypes Lites program led to fielding two cars in the Prototype Challenge class of the American Le Mans Series.
CORE got its first ALMS win in April 2011 at the Long Beach Grand Prix, and at the end of the season it had earned both the PC team and driver championship.
The series, class and the two-car program remained the same for 2012, when Braun joined the program. The team fielded two cars and won both the PC team and driver titles.
The following year, the team tackled three programs.
Bennett ran a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the Porsche IMSA Cup Challenge by Yokohama series. Simultaneously, CORE also fielded a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the GT class of the ALMS and a Prototype Challenge car that won the team championship.
The team attracted the attention of Porsche and became an official partner of the German automaker, fielding a pair of Porsches in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship’s GT Le Mans class in 2014, as well as the PC car. In the team’s IMSA debut, it won the Rolex 24 At Daytona in both the PC class and the GTLM class.
Bennett and Braun were the PC driver champions, CORE was the PC team champion and the Porsche GT team won the North American Endurance Cup team and driver championships.
The challenge was similar in 2015 and so were the results.