CORE's GRC Lites car tears up the dir. Photo: CORE autosport

Red Bull GRC: CORE autosport planning Thompson, Detroit double

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CORE autosport competes in both Red Bull Global Rallycross in the GRC Lites division and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GT Daytona class.

In theory, with GRC at Thompson, Ct. this weekend and with IMSA on the streets of Detroit, it’d be difficult to foresee CORE running in both simultaneously.

But that will be the plan for this weekend.

CORE’s pair of Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will finish their IMSA commitments in the No. 54 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R on Saturday afternoon, then hightail it from a plane out of Detroit to Connecticut where they plan to compete in GRC Lites competition.

Porsche at Circuit of The Americas. Photo: CORE autosport

Braun is third and Bennett fifth in GRC Lites points heading into the weekend, while it’s been a tough start in IMSA since they switched the GT Daytona class. They sit only 21st in the class standings with a best finish of 14th place in four races.

Bennett explained the game plan: “CORE autosport is committed to competing for championships in both IMSA WeatherTech GTD and Red Bull GRC Lites. We noticed the possibility of competing in both events. The idea was like an ember, that spread to a flame, which became a mission. Our IMSA WeatherTech race on Belle Island ends at 2:40pm. With the miracle of air travel, Colin, myself, and some crew will fly to a regional airport near Thompson arriving at the circuit with 30 minutes to spare before the Saturday LCQ!”

Braun added, “Jon and I were talking about how disappointing it was going to be to miss Thompson with the GRC cars. We kind of looked at each other and said ‘hey, there’s a possibility, since the Detroit race is on Saturday, that we could do both.’ We looked at the schedules and it looks like we could make the LCQ on Saturday and then all day Sunday. We’re doing pretty well in the GRC points, so we’d hate to give up being a contender over there.”

Red Bull Global Rallycross coverage from Thompson for Supercars airs at 5 p.m. ET on both Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 on NBC. GRC Lites coverage airs on Wednesday, June 7, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

F1 aggressive on COVID-19 testing, social distancing enforcement

F1 COVID-19 testing
Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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With big hugs and wide smiles, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown exuberantly celebrated the first podium finish of Lando Norris’ Formula One career. His exuberance earned a warning from Formula One and FIA officials during the era of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent F1 testing.

“Obviously I got excited with Lando on the podium and embraced him after the race,” Brown said with a laugh during a news conference Friday. “You get caught up in the emotion and excitement of the event, but it was suggested maybe I don’t do that again if we get a podium anytime soon.”

MASK WARNING: NASCAR tells teams to avoid ‘complacency’

Now in its second race weekend of 2020, F1 has taken an aggressive approach to maintain a paddock free of COVID-19. Before teams hit the track last week for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, F1 and FIA officials said more than 4,000 tests were conducted over a week with no positive tests.

In order to enter the track, any F1 personnel (which includes drivers and team members) must have a negative COVID-19 test. Private testing was used ahead of those traveling to Austria. After entering the track, personnel are tested every five days with private medical teams at events along with extra screening.

The results of F1 COVID-19 testing also will be made public every seven days. More than 8,000 tests were conducted through Saturday.

It’s a much different tack from NASCAR and IndyCar, neither of which is conducting COVID-19 testing (and with NASCAR recently distributing that warned teams of “complacency with protocols).

Though Brown, who also oversees Arrow McLaren SP Motorsports in IndyCar, demurred when asked whether the U.S.-based series should be taking a cue, he praised F1 COVID-19 testing for being a best-in-class example.

“I don’t know exactly what every other racing series is doing, so it would be difficult for me to say they’re doing it right or wrong,” Brown said from Austria. “All I can really do is speak to what Formula One is doing, and they’re doing an unbelievable job with 5,000 tests, and people flying in from different parts of the world. The minute that someone — and there’s not been many instances – has taken a mask off, you’re getting a letter or a phone call saying put your mask back on.

“I think all sports should be looking at all sports and seeing who’s doing what and what are our best practices, but I’ve got nothing but great things to say about how the FIA and Formula One and the countries they’re racing in are executing because it feels extremely safe here.”

Brown said it’s unlikely the European-based circuit will do F1 COVID-19 testing at races in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Canada because the events likely will be scrubbed. Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, was scheduled to play host to F1 on the Oct. 23-25 race weekend but just canceled its MotoGP race.

“We’d very much like to race at all those circuits,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, my opinion is it’s probably unlikely we’ll race at any of those venues this year. That’s obviously due to the COVID situation. … Let’s see what happens, but certainly it seems like the spikes in Texas are pretty severe and Brazil and Mexico and Canada a little less so. But if we miss them this year, we certainly look forward to going back to those venues next year.”