Meet the driver: Colin Braun
Hi! I'm Colin Braun, and I will be helping to co-pilot the No. 18 Era Motorsport Oreca 07 LMP2 for IMSA's three remaining North American Endurance Championship (NAEC) races (Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Petit Le Mans). I'll be joining Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman as we look to build on their third-place finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Here's a little about me. I'm originally from Ovalo, Texas, and come from a racing family. My Dad, Jeff Braun (who also works at Era Motorsport), is a race engineer, so from a very early age, I had a taste for racing. I was three years old when I first got into a go-kart driving around our house, and I loved it! The rest, as they say, is history.
DRAFTJS_BLOCK_KEY:5qd4rWhile I was busy building up my sports car resume, the folks at Ford took notice, and in 2007 I received a call to join Roush Fenway Racing to compete in NASCAR's Truck and Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series. I had a lot of fun in NASCAR, but there was some adjustment making left-hand turns for a living. I was happy when we raced at a road course a couple of times a year. Our team locked in some wins and poles together, and I even captured Rookie-of-the-Year honors before making my way back to sports car racing.
I worked my way through the karting & formula car world, and my passion became a family effort, which I'm thankful for every day. My Dad was, of course, there to help work on the car and teach me all about the engineering side of racing, and my brother, Travis, would help with data and turning wrenches, and, my Mom, Diane, did all the travel and organizational planning and was our biggest cheerleader. We made quite the race team! I made my sports car racing debut at Daytona in the Rolex 24 when I was 16, and the following year won the Daytona sprint race event in the Daytona Prototype class in Grand-Am, at just 17. In 2006 I also became the youngest driver to podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans when I helped my team to a second-place finish.
While I was busy building up my sports car resume, the folks at Ford took notice, and in 2007 I received a call to join Roush Fenway Racing to compete in NASCAR's Truck and Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series. I had a lot of fun in NASCAR, but there was some adjustment making left-hand turns for a living. I was happy when we raced at a road course a couple of times a year. Our team locked in some wins and poles together, and I even captured Rookie-of-the-Year honors before making my way back to sports car racing.
I've had the privilege to race with many great drivers and teams over the years, but most recently spent eight years at CORE autosport with owner and co-driver, Jon Bennett. We had a lot of success over the years in the ALMS and IMSA Series' and in three classes of cars – PC, Prototype, and GTD. I've been fortunate enough to win multiple team and driver championships with CORE as well as countless race wins, including the coveted Rolex watch from the Rolex 24. Jon decided to take a step back at the end of 2019, and that opened up the opportunity for me to race with new teams in 2020. DragonSpeed invited me to join them for the 2020 Rolex 24, where we brought home the win marking the third Rolex 24 win for myself. It's so hard to win one time at the Rolex 24, so to win for the third time was pretty overwhelming to me.
While racing in IMSA over the years, I also raced in some other series, including Global Rally Cross, SRO, and the Michelin LeMans Cup series in Europe. And in what was probably one of the biggest highlights of my career, I was chosen by Jim France, Ford, and Michael Shank Racing to drive a Ford Ecoboost-powered Daytona Prototype (DP) around the oval of Daytona International Speedway to attempt the fastest lap in 2013. Spoiler alert, we broke the record! I went 222.971 mph around the oval in a DP which amounts to a 40.364-second lap that broke the old record held by Bill Elliott. It was such an honor to be chosen as the driver to make this attempt and it was undoubtedly a team effort to break the record. So much work went into preparing the car and making sure it was as safe as possible. But I'm not going to lie; it was a bit hairy going around the track at those speeds in a DP car. I'm super proud of the entire team and to know that what we did will live in the racing history books (for a while, I hope) is humbling.
On a personal note, my wife, Melissa, and I just adopted a new dog named Lily, and we're having a ton of fun hanging out together. When I'm not racing, I enjoy working out, riding my bike, and trying out new restaurants, but what I really enjoy is being behind the wheel. I'm grateful to Kyle and Dwight for putting their trust in me for the next three NAEC races and I'm confident we will do great things together as a team! Era Motorsport has a great foundation to build from, and I'm looking forward to helping the team stand on the top step of the podium in 2020!