CORE autosport owner/driver Jon Bennett announced Thursday (Aug. 22) in an open letter that he will be retiring from Prototype racing after October’s Motul Petit Le Mans. In addition, Bennett has no plans to field a DPi entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2020.
“The time has simply come for me,” Bennett explained in his letter. “I have lived the dream of so many who are passionate about motorsport and it’s time to reflect and enjoy racing, once again, from outside the race car. I would like to thank IMSA for their graciousness and providing a world-class stage upon which to perform. Thank you Jim France, Ed Bennett, Scott Atherton and the entire IMSA organization for your amazing, unwavering dedication to our sport.”
Bennett also heaped tons of praise on his longtime co-driver, Colin Braun.
“Thank you, Colin Braun,” Bennett continued. “You are an amazing talent and it has been an honor to share a race car with you. Thank you for your patience with me, thank you for your mentoring, thank you for your loyalty, and most of all, thank you for your friendship and I look forward to the great times that lie ahead.”
In 90 career starts between the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Bennett currently has 16 career class victories. 14 of the 16 came in the ORECA FLM09-Chevrolet in the former PC class. The remaining two were last year in the ORECA 07-Gibson in the Prototype class before it was split into separate DPi and LMP2 classes. Bennett and Braun won the first two PC class championships (2014 and 2015) after the Grand-Am/ALMS merger was complete.
Bennett and CORE autosport’s move will drop the DPi class down to three manufacturers since they were the only team running the Nissan DPi. The Nissan DPi is officially a customer effort as Nissan has provided somewhat minimal support. CORE autosport acquired the chassis from Extreme Speed Motorsports, which ran the Nissan DPi in 2017 and 2018 before shutting down as a result of Tequila Patron pulling out of motorsports.
CORE autosport is not leaving IMSA entirely. In addition to their DPi program, they also run the North American branch of Porsche GT Team. That branch of the team fields the No. 911 Porsche for Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, along with the No. 912 Porsche for Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor. The Porsche GT Team program will continue in 2020 with the brand new Porsche 911 RSR-19, which will make it’s racing debut next weekend at Silverstone.