ROCK HILL, SC, Monday, September 26, 2011: 1000 miles. That’s what will determine two championships for CORE autosport. Both the team and driver championships are up for grabs – the sole focus of the first-year Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) team and its star drivers Gunnar Jeannette and Ricardo Gonzalez.
The final race of 2011 – the 10 hour / 1000-mile Petit Le Mans presented by Mazda – will be the ultimate test for what has been a ground-breaking American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season for the two-car CORE autosport team. In eight races, the CORE squad has racked up two wins, nine podium spots and three pole positions. The efforts have put the team in championship contention – just three points separate Jeannette / Gonzalez from driver leader Eric Lux and two points are needed to catch the Genoa LMPC team.
Another challenge for CORE autosport will be the re-introduction of the 60mm engine air restrictor in the LMPC class, 10mm smaller than what was run in the majority of the 2011 events. With the additional restriction of air flow to the engine and the resulting power loss, the team and drivers will have to re-adjust driving style and pit strategy to compensate. This will be vital in a combined field of U.S. and European entries comprising 53 cars.
Leaving nothing to chance, the CORE autosport team returned to the Rock Hill shop after its podium showing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 17 to prepare the #05 Composite Resources / Bayshore Recycling ORECA FLM09 and its sister car, the #06 Composite Resources / Excel Consultants entry.
Driver lineup for the Petit Le Mans includes Jeannette and Gonzalez with Rudy Junco in the #06 – a combination that produced podium finishes at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and penultimate Laguna Seca Round. Jeannette has run nine Petit Le Mans races with a variety of teams and considers Road Atlanta his “home” track, Gonzalez finished third in the LMPC class in the 2010 event and Junco has never run at the track before, but tested well at the circuit earlier this year.
The #05’s lineup will mark the return of veteran driver Ryan Dalziel, who will join team principal Jon Bennett and Frankie Montecalvo. Dalziel has been constantly connected to CORE autosport throughout 2011 as a consultant to the team, and also drove the #05 to a second-place LMPC finish with Bennett and Montecalvo at Sebring. Dalziel is ready to take on the Petit Le Mans the team after a thrilling final round Grand-Am Rolex Series victory at Mid-Ohio.
Qualifying for the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda will be aired live on ESPN3.com on Friday, September 30 at 2:55 p.m. EST, with live race coverage on ESPN3.com on Saturday, October 1 at 11:15 a.m. EST. ABC-TV will televise a tape-delayed highlight of the event on Sunday, October 2 at 4 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.