The Alley

PC class man vs man battle looms

PC_storyWhen the cars in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class take to the grid for a pair of prototype events here at VIR, the only things distinguishing the cars will be their graphics and personnel.

PC is the only class in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship that does not rely on performance balancing to assure close competition. With identical cars, engines, gearboxes and tires, there is nothing left on the technical side for the rule makers to balance.

PC_story_aThat means it is clearly the people on each team who make the difference.

With a professional and an amateur co-driver in each entry, the performance of the drivers, pit crews and race strategists are all essential to success.

One team that has found the winning combination is the Rock Hill, SC based CORE autosport team that has taken the PC class championship in each of the past three seasons. Team owner Jon Bennett and star co-driver Colin Braun (pictured right) have already claimed four class victories in 2014 and currently lead the class championship.

The appeal of racing identical cars in tight competition on the TUDOR Championship’s schedule of prestigious events on highly favored tracks has drawn a number of top shoes to the class. Professional drivers who can deliver race performance and help the co-driver are especially prized.

Top pros like former IndyCar drivers Bruno Junqueira and Alex Tagliani, sports car veteran Gunnar Jeannette, Dutch star Renger van der Zande, former American Le Mans Series stars Luis Diaz and Tom Kimber-Smith all bring speed and vast experience. The level of competition in PC is quite high and the battles inevitably carry to the final lap.

Selected appearances by a number of American and European stars like Jack Hawksworth, Conor Daly, Rob Huff and Sam Bird adds spice to the mix.

Driving for the Fort Lauderdale based Starworks Motorsports team; van der Zende has claimed victories in Monterey and Road America and stands second in the driver championship with just three races remaining.

Junqueira and the Lansing, Michigan based RSR team claimed the victory at Indianapolis.

With all of the cars operating on equal terms, team engineers and designers work diligently to extract every ounce of performance as the slightest advantage can pay big dividends. Even the slightest gains on pit stops or through creative race strategies can also lead to victory.

On a fast, high character circuit here at VIR, the PC cars and their humans will all be at full throttle.

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