The Rolex 24, the first round of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, was run between 24-27 January on the Daytona International Speedway. It saw Core Autosport’s first outing with the #54 Ligier Nissan DPi crowned by a fourth-place finish in an event cut short by a torrential downpour – a great start to the season for Core Autosport and the Ligier Nissan DPi.
After positive test sessions at the beginning of January in the ROAR before the Rolex, American team Core Autosport and its #54 Ligier Nissan DPi were back at Daytona. The first race of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was also the team’s maiden outing with its new car driven by a high-octane foursome: Jon Bennett, Romain Dumas, Loïc Duval and Colin Braun!
Bennett took the start of the 24 Hours in 10th place. After 1h 30mn racing the car was delayed by a puncture and lost two laps to the leaders. The drivers relayed one another to close the gap and after more than five hours racing the #54 Ligier Nissan DPi had fought its way up to third. The battle continued.
After 11 hours racing electrical issues immobilised the car at its pit for a long stop. Dumas rejoined at the wheel of the #54 Ligier Nissan DPi five laps down on the front-runners. By half distance #54 was up into sixth place.
In the morning a rainstorm hit the circuit leading to a full-course yellow. An hour later the race was red-flagged as the conditions had become too dangerous. The race was stopped with less than seven hours remaining. Shortly after the restart Braun handed over to Dumas and the #54 Ligier Nissan DPi was now four laps behind the leaders. The track was slippery and the Frenchman spun leading to a brief stop for minor repairs. The car was in fourth place.
It was still raining cats and dogs! Duval was behind the wheel as accidents and off-course excursions multiplied. Two hours from the finish the race was again red-flagged. Ten minutes before the chequered flag Race Control decided to call a halt to the race. The #54 Ligier Nissan DPi finished fourth overall – a great debut for the American team!
Rendezvous between 13-16 March 2019 for the Sebring 12 Hours.
Source. Ligier/Photo Core Autosport