Long to CORE autosport for ALMS Back-to-back American Le Mans Series Le Mans Prototype Challenge class champions CORE autosport will take on an additional challenge in 2013 with a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE class assault headlined by Porsche factory star, Patrick Long and three-time Le Mans class winner, Tom Kimber-Smith.
The new entry will be in addition to the team's confirmed return to the Le Mans Prototype Challenge class where team owner/driver Jon Bennett and young star Colin Braun are targeting CORE's third consecutive championship. After showcasing its talents with two championship victories in two years in prototype competition, CORE now becomes a Porsche customer team in 2013.
Team owner Jon Bennett said, "This has been a strategic business design by our company. Our target for 2013 is to build a strong infrastructure capable of supporting a two-car factory effort. We want to prove we are capable of being successful in GT racing and this year will be a great learning experience for us. We know the GT class in the ALMS is one of the most fiercely contested events in the world. That will become a great measuring stick for us. We know we are really stepping into the big leagues - not only against other Porsche customer teams but Corvette, BMW and Ferrari. Morgan [team manager, Morgan Brady] and I are thrilled that Porsche has shown faith in our team by making Patrick available for us. There are a lot of Porsche fans in the paddock and we look forward making them CORE autosport fans as well. We know the car can win races and Patrick's record with three ALMS championships and two Le Mans wins is exceptional. Being able to team him with Tom Kimber-Smith who became a regular at CORE last year is an amazing opportunity. In total they have five Le Mans wins between them."
For Long, today's announcement ends a long offseason waiting game to announce his 2013 plans.
He said, "It is an exciting year for me. I'm ready for a role of growth in 2013. It is going to be a great challenge because the GTE class has a ton of activity and a lot of manufacturer involvement. It will be about getting up to speed quickly and growing for the future. I first noticed CORE when they made their debut in Sebring 2011. Straight away you could tell that these guys were very serious. They run an efficient and successful operation and when you look at Porsche I see a lot of similarities between the two organizations. I think it is going to be a great fit. Although prototype and GT cars are all out on the track together, in GT racing there is a very different mentality. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work from the ground level with an organization that has proven they can win in another class, but are now ready to go up against all the other manufacturers in GT."
He continued, "2013 is a transitional year for the American Le Mans Series. It is a great opportunity for CORE autosport to get up to speed. I need to learn the team, the team needs to learn the car but we have realistic expectations and to be at the ground level to start that building process is very exciting."
CORE autosport will immediately embark on a rigorous testing program to prepare for the 2013 ALMS season, and will make their race debut after the Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring in mid-March. Core Autosport PR