Bryan Sellers Looking for Stars to Align on the Streets of Long Beach
Falken Tire Driver Thinks TUDOR Street Race Has Breakout Potential for Team
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 7, 2014 – If you are an odds maker in Las Vegas, you might want to take a look at Bryan Sellers and Team Falken Tire as you consider the field for the Saturday, April 12 Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach. Why? Because the Braselton, Ga.-resident and co-driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) are poised for the stars to align with the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR at the 100-minute TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race on the streets of the Southern California city.
Take into consideration that Team Falken Tire is the only customer team in North America with Porsche’s potent new 911 RSR – the car has won the first two races of the inaugural season of the IMSA-sanctioned sports car series in the hands of the Porsche North America factory team. Falken Tire has developed the class of the field street racing tire as proven by two victories in the last five temporary race course races and strong showings in the other three events. Further, Sellers, Henzler and endurance race teammate Marco Holzer (Germany) debuted the customer car at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with a fifth-place finish on March 15.
Adding to the momentum, in 2013, the final year this race ran under American Le Mans Series (ALMS) sanction, the Sellers-Henzler combo qualified second at Long Beach and led the race before the effort fell off late in the going. The weekend also marks the sixth anniversary for Sellers as a Falken Tire factory driver. The Ohio-native joined the operation in its first season debuting at Long Beach in 2009 and looks to celebrate with a win in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn course.
Is that the clicking of the gears of destiny in the background? This is still motorsports and street races, especially short 100-minute races where everyone is desperate to make the most of each second, are notorious to call. However, Sellers is hopeful that the race could be the breakout event for the factory team of the Japanese tire manufacturer. As one of the few non-auto manufacturer teams in GTLM, setting the pace and taking the win would position the program well despite missing the opening round of the year, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, in January.
The SportsCar Showcase at Long Beach can be seen on FOX Sports 1 at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. The event will be streamed live at IMSA.com.
On the greatest challenge of street course racing: “The limit on track time is the most difficult thing about running on street courses. We have to roll off the truck strong. If you’re off at the start, it’s difficult to take a bad car and progress it and make it better in such a short amount of time. We will have a lot of things to run through with having the new Porsche 911 RSR and multiple sets of tires to test. We will have to manage our time as efficiently as possible and get the most out of the session that we possibly can to help us move forward for qualifying and the race.”
On racing a ‘sprint race’ format: “As a driver your approach does not really change because the race is shorter than we typically run in endurance sports car racing. You attack as much as you can and try to bring the car home in the best position possible. I think it is a very difficult situation for the team, however. Just because it is a short race doesn’t mean that strategy doesn’t take effect. It is just the opposite. What you do is magnified. Unlike a long race where you may have some time to recover from a call that didn’t quite work out, in a 100-minute race you have to get everything correct from the very beginning.”
On his approach as a driver: “I love street course racing. I try to not treat it any differently than any other race but I get excited every time we go to a street course. It’s the rush you get that keeps me loving every moment.”
On how the Porsche 911 RSR and the newest Falken tire will mesh at Long Beach: “We will not know until we get through qualifying where we actually stack up with the Falken tire and the Porsche 911 RSR compared to the competition. However, I expect us to be strong at Long Beach as we have in previous years. It has been a good combination, Porsche and Falken, and individually both have only improved. I will put every bit of effort I have into making sure that we have a strong weekend and I know everyone at Team Falken Tire and Porsche Motorsport is doing the same.”
On his sixth anniversary as a Falken Tire Factory Driver: “I have been very fortunate to be involved with such a great program as Team Falken Tire for so long. I have so many great memories that we have built together. We have had a few wins and they all stand out as special. The most difficult of those would have to be Road Atlanta last year. That final ALMS Petit Le Mans win, and how we worked for it, will always make it stand out a little more than the others. But, all the wins we have had and all those I hope we will achieve in the future all means so much because they have been earned as a team.”
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