CORE autosport READY FOR SIX HOURS OF SPRINT RACING, SIX-DRIVER LINEUP

Six hours at 100 percent. That is what the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) championship leaders CORE autosport is up against at the upcoming race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After mixed results in Baltimore which narrowed the American Le Mans Series LMPC standings to a one-point lead for CORE autosport drivers Ricardo Gonzalez and Gunnar Jeannette over Eric Lux, and a mere two point lead for the team championship over Genoa Racing, CORE autosport is taking no chances as they approach the six-hour ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Tequila Patrón.

Three drivers will pilot each CORE autosport entry. In the #05 Bayshore Recycling / Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 will be former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andy Wallace joining regulars Frankie Montecalvo and team founder Jon Bennett for the first time.

The sister #06 Excel Consultants / Composite Resources machine will feature Road America LMPC winner Rudy Junco along with driver championship points leaders Gonzalez and Jeannette. The #06 lineup comes back together after a podium finish at the first-ever American Le Mans Series race for CORE autosport, the 2011 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.

Four of the six CORE autosport drivers have not driven an LMPC car on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit, known for turns 8 and 8a, otherwise known as “The Corkscrew,” which drops five and a half stories in a mere 450 feet. #05 drivers Montecalvo and Bennett have driven there in the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lights series, while #06 drivers Gonzalez and Junco competed in the ALMS GTC class in 2010, as well as in other series.

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will prove even more special for Gonzalez and Junco, as the Mexican natives will be celebrating 201 years of Mexican independence on Friday, Sept. 16. CORE autosport will celebrate by featuring a special “Viva Mexico” livery on the #06 as well as holding an independence day celebration from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. on that day. The event is open to all ALMS paddock pass holders and will feature a mariachi band, Mexican snacks, a trivia contest with prizes, photograph opportunities for the #06 car and the Michelin Man, and a Q&A and autograph session with Gonzalez and other guests.

Qualifying for the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Tequila Patrónwill be aired live on ESPN3.com on Friday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m. EST, with live race coverage on ESPN3.com on Saturday, September 17 at 4:15 p.m. EST. ESPN2 will televise a tape-delayed highlight of the event on Sunday, September 18 at 1 p.m. EST.

International viewers can see the event live on MotorsTV, Rogers Sports Net, Fox Sports Middle East and Fox Latin America Networks. Live radio broadcasts are available at www.americanlemans.com.

Gunnar Jeannette
“The perfect headline for this race for us is ‘crunch time.’
“Here we are going into the second to last race of the year and there’s only a few points separation in the driver and team championships. Combine that with more points that are available in longer races and it’s going to be a close run to the championship.
“I’m very glad to be driving with my teammate Ricardo Gonzalez and to have Rudy Junco back on board. I’m hoping that Rudy can bring to us some of his recent luck from his LMPC drives with other teams and get us into a leadership position.
“I love Mazda Raceway. There’s nothing not to like about it – it’s picturesque and great to drive with a mix of high and low speed sections. The ‘corkscrew’ is going to be a fun passing zone – it can be difficult in multi-class racing like we have in ALMS
“Six hours of racing there will be difficult, but it’s the challenge which is why we do what we do, not because it’s easy.”

Ricardo Gonzalez
“Mazda Raceway is now the only track on the schedule that I haven´t driven in the LMPC car and one that I’m really looking forward to.
“We’ve had our share of bad luck in the last three events and we are ready to put that behind us and go out and clinch the championship in the last two races of the year.
“We’ll have a very strong package at Laguna, Rudy Junco is joining us as our third driver. He’s already proven how good he is by winning at Road America, and Gunnar and I are always the guys to beat, now we just need a little bit of luck!
“This is going to be a special weekend for us because we are celebrating Mexico’s independence and we’ll carry the Mexican colors on our car throughout the weekend. This is something that makes me really proud and winning this race for my country would be a huge accomplishment for me.
“I want to invite everybody to come to the track and celebrate with us!”

Rudy Junco
“I love Mazda Raceway. Great weather, great track. I drove there last year in a GTC car, had a great time, and managed to finish in the podium.
“I have also raced on the track in historic events and in Indy Lights as well so it is a track I feel comfortable in even though I’ve not driven an LMPC car on the circuit yet.
“This race should be interesting given the tight LMPC championship race. I am hoping to have a great weekend and try to finish the race as best we can hoping to maximize the points paying opportunities for my co-drivers.
“I’m glad that CORE autosport allowed me the opportunity to join them for this race, knowing they’re in the running for the championship. This is a great vote of confidence on their part for me and I am grateful for that.
“Gunnar, Ricardo and I have worked together brilliantly before, so that event should be that much better because we have more experience.
“I am hoping for a great, fun weekend, and with a little luck we are sure to end up in a good position in the end.”

Jon Bennett
“CORE autosport had another successful weekend in Baltimore, scoring both the pole position for the race and another podium for the team coming from the #05 car with Frankie.
“We’re trying to get as many points as we can to finish out the year strong and looking at the last two races of the season, CORE autosport is poised to have a good showing.
“All of us at CORE autosport are looking forward to having two new teammates on our squad for the Laguna round, with Rudy in the #06 and Andy in the #05. Adding these two super-qualified teammates will improve our chances at what’s going to be a very challenging six hour race.
“We want to run well and get more podiums, which will set us up for a great run at the season finale, Petit Le Mans.”

Frankie Montecalvo
“I’ve never raced at Mazda Raceway in an LMPC car, but I have driven the track in a Prototype Lites car. I love the track, the area and the atmosphere.
“There are many tracks you visit where the actual course is great and the grounds are fun, but when you leave for the day there’s not much to do. Not in Monterey though, it’s a beautiful town right on the water and there’s always something to do.
“Mazda Raceway is obviously known for the ‘corkscrew’ and man, when I drove it for the first time at speed it was hold-your-breath time. It’s going to be a great race for the fans and exciting for the team.
“Speaking of the team, I’m very excited to be co-driving with Andy Wallace. He’s a great racer and he’ll add a lot to the team for the six-hour race, especially his knowledge of how to get through traffic.
“I’m just working hard, staying in shape and getting ready to drive. I think we’re ready for it.”

Andy Wallace
“I’m glad to be driving with CORE autosport at Mazda Raceway. They’re doing a great job in their first year as a team and I’ve been keeping my eye on their success. I’m glad I got the call from Morgan (Brady, team manager).
“Laguna is one of the most wonderful track layouts of any of the ALMS tracks, but it can be very slippery and inconsistent due to sand and dirt that blows across the track, as well as gets kicked up by other race cars.
“The six-hour format will bring out the best and the worst in the track and the other competitors. It is literally a six hour sprint race that’s going to be very tough.
“The fans will see a lot of exciting racing, especially between the GTs and the LMPC cars. There’s not a massive speed difference between the two classes and both types of cars will be faster in different sections of the track.
“The challenge is to get through the race, and the traffic, unscathed.”

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