Red Bull GRC 2017 Season Preview: Jon Bennett
TEAM: #54 CORE autosport GRC Lites
2016 RESULTS: 6 starts, best finish 7th; 51 points, 17th overall (Lites)
2016 IN REVIEW: Already a successful driver in sports car racing, Bennett and teammate Colin Braun tried their hand at rallycross for the first time in 2016. Bennett’s CORE autosport organization landed on the podium in its very first race, with both drivers making the podium in Daytona. Seattle, however, was Bennett’s high point of the year, as he scored a season-best seventh place finish while also challenging for the lead during the heat rounds.
WHAT’S NEW: After running a half-season program in 2016, Bennett expands his schedule to nine races this year as CORE plans to run most of the season (skipping only New England and Indianapolis due to date conflicts). That’s the biggest change that most fans will notice, as the impeccably professional outfit found its stride fairly quickly in GRC Lites. Now in his second rallycross season, Bennett should benefit from more opportunities to shine on track.
OUTLOOK: There’s a reason why CORE autosport has such a strong reputation in the world of sports car racing, and Bennett helped lead that same charge into Red Bull GRC last year. Having its two cars on the grid for most of this season should only serve to elevate the level of competition among the rest of the field. If Bennett can build upon some of the success he found in his final stop of the year in Seattle, he should be in for some strong results by year’s end.
Photo credit: Louis Yio (1); Larry Chen (2)