ALMS REWIND: CORE autosport

LMPC title in rookie season no easy feat, says owner Bennett

Winning a championship in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is no easy feat. Doing so in a team’s rookie season is that much more difficult. CORE autosport owner and driver Jon Bennett gives us insight to how his team did just that in LMP Challenge (LMPC).

ALMS: At the start of the season, was winning multiple races and the class championship a realistic goal?
Bennett: Realistic? At the time we started in LMPC competition – which was only at the beginning of this year – the answer probably was no.

Attainable? Sure, we thought that we had what it took – between the cars, drivers and team members – to be capable of winning races. The target must always be winning races; if that is not your goal you are in the wrong business.

I think overall we started the season – being new to ALMS and LMPC – with the objective of having good reliability with the cars and bringing together a team that would be in it for the long haul. The eventual goal of the organization is to work our way up from LMPC into other classes, but we had to start somewhere and LMPC was the perfect class to do so.

ALMS: What was the biggest key to the LMPC championship?
Bennett: When you’re putting together an organization, the biggest key is always people. You’ve got to surround yourself with the people who are experts in their given field.

I think we’ve managed to do that with team manager Morgan Brady, solid race engineers, great mechanics and a very capable support staff back at the shop.

Roger Penske always says that “Effort Equals Results” and that effort made by the right people is how we are double championship winners in our first year of ALMS competition.

ALMS: Knowing what was on the line at Petit Le Mans, have you ever been part of a race with so many emotional ups and downs as that one?
Bennett: In short, no. But as a driver you’ve got to take as many emotions out of the equation as you can and focus on the task at hand, which was to drive as hard as possible while avoiding trouble, working your way around traffic and not using up the equipment.

Neither one of our cars were able to escape the day without trouble – mechanical, traffic and otherwise – and it was a tough emotional rollercoaster for all of us. But in the end we did everything we had to do, and the chips fell in our favor.

ALMS: When you think of the 2011 ALMS, what’s the lasting memory you’ll have?
Bennett: Just how proud I am of the CORE autosport team and what they accomplished in such a short period of time. The people who make up this team, how they worked so hard no matter the circumstances – behind the wheel, in the pit, the paddock and shop. I’m so proud of each and every person at CORE autosport.

ALMS: What is next for CORE? Can you give us a small hint at what 2012 holds?
Bennett: Now that’s a good question. Final details are coming together in the next few weeks, but I think you’ll see us back in the LMPC class, this time going for a driver championship that we don’t have to share!

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