CORE autosport team owner Jon Bennett says his organization is watching the development of IMSA’s new top prototype class closely with an eye on a factory linkup when the LMDh platform come online in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2023.
Bennett, who is returning to the series in a driving capacity this season with an LMP3 effort after a one-year hiatus, told Sportscar365 his time racing against factories in IMSA’s top class in 2018 and 2019 season gave him an appreciation for the level of commitment required to fight for overall wins with and against major manufacturers.
“While I enjoyed [racing in the top category], it was really difficult to race factories as essentially a privateer entry,” he said.
“We had good support from Nissan but it takes a real dedicated and planned effort to go head-to-head with the big factories.
“[LMP3] keeps the organization active. We are exploring and would like to be part of the prototype racing in ’23 if a factory program were to present itself.
“I don’t necessarily think that that’s in the cards for me [to drive], but our organization is certainly capable of doing that.”
Although CORE did not field a prototype effort in 2020 for the first time since 2017, the team was still active campaigning a pair of Porsche 911 RSR19s on behalf of Porsche Motorsport North America.
With experience both in prototype racing and running a factory-backed effort in an all-pro class, Bennett said he hopes his LMP3 program will keep the team active while they work to line up a partnership with a manufacturer to return to IMSA’s top class, all while giving himself an outlet to pursue his own driving.
“I have a multi-season horizon,” he said. “I think that I would like to see CORE span the gap to when the new generation of IMSA racing in ’23 starts with the hybrid prototypes. As long as I’m healthy and competitive and having a good time in the paddock I see many years ahead.
“I enjoyed racing in the top category, that was an achievable goal that I worked hard towards. Once you’ve done it and you understand what it’s about it makes you more appreciative of a class where the variables are more controllable.
“That keeps the focus on racing for us. Factory racing, when you have a strong program and a great commitment from a manufacturer, that’s very exciting. But it’s really hard to do it on your own. It’s a different animal.”