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CORE autosport confirms GRC Lites return

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CORE autosport will continue in Red Bull Global Rallycross for 2017 in the GRC Lites class, again with a partial schedule.

Colin Braun and Jon Bennett share the team’s No. 54 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class, and that will take precedence on two GRC weekends that conflict.

They’ll be in Detroit (June 3) and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (July 9) for IMSA when GRC is at Thompson, Ct. and Indianapolis, respectively.

This means the team is scheduled to compete in six weekends and nine of the 12 races, starting with the Memphis season opener next week. The GRC Lites race broadcast from Memphis is on NBCSN on Tuesday, May 2, at 5 p.m. ET.

Nonetheless the team will be back for its second season after scoring a handful of podiums in its debut season, including a double podium at the Los Angeles season finale weekend with Braun and Scott Anderson there. ORECA Gear will supply the team with steering wheels, seats and harnesses for both the No. 54 and No. 56 entries, to be driven by Bennett (No. 54) and Braun (No. 56) this season.

“When we debuted in GRC Lites last year, our goal was to familiarize ourselves with the cars, circuits and specifics of the series, but also to demonstrate how competitive we were by finishing on the podium,” CORE GRC Program Manager Brian Colangelo said. “Our preparation improved with each race and our four podium finishes proved that to be true. For 2017, we have our sights set on race wins and hope to establish ourselves as the team to beat in rallycross and a viable option for OEM partners.”

Bennett said, “Auto racing is my passion no matter what form it comes in. Taking part in my first Red Bull Global Rallycross season last year was a real eye-opener to this new genre of motorsport and a blast to experience. I enjoyed learning a totally different driving style and race craft, and being encouraged to have all four wheels leave the ground was fun!”

Braun added, “I love to experience all kinds of different race cars, so getting the opportunity to do GRC Lites last year was an awesome experience. One of the things I enjoy most about motorsports is the learning process and we had a lot of learning to do in 2016. I was on the podium three times and I know that this season, a win isn’t too far off. At CORE, we’re all about constantly improving and that makes me very eager to get back to work!”

Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

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Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.