Bryan Sellers to Get Real In Monterey
Falken Tire Driver Relishing Prospect of Racing Porsche 911 RSR on Natural Track
MONTEREY, California, April 28, 2014 - Things are finally getting "real" for Bryan Sellers in the 2014 sports car racing season. Sunday's two-hour Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) will give the Braselton, Ga.-resident his first taste of the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR on a natural terrain road course. Not only is MRLS one of the world's premier road courses with dramatic elevation changes and a wide variety of turns, it also played host to a second-place finish by Sellers and longtime teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany) in 2013. It is the kind of racecourse that Sellers relishes the prospect of attacking.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is made up of a variety of track types and race lengths. From the high-speed oval/road course of Daytona International Speedway's Rolex 24 to 12-hours of fender-to-fender racing on the flat, former airfield of Sebring International Raceway through to the most recent 100-minute street fight in Long Beach, California. The May 4 race on the Monterey Peninsula is the first time the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Porsche teams will compete on the kind of circuit their car was originally intended - the Porsche 911 RSR was developed to compete on the smooth, natural terrain road courses frequented by the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). But, as the Porsche model is new to the North American race scene, the 2.238-mile, 11-turn track is the first time the drivers will have the challenge of preparing the car for a course which uses the hills and valleys of its surroundings as its layout.
As the only team in the world developing the Falken tire for international endurance racing and the only Porsche 911 RSR running it, Team Falken Tire is always in a unique position at each track. At MRLS, the track's surface adds to the task. The pavement is smooth and consistent - unlike the last two rounds of the championship - but is slow to build heat in the tire. While this reduces wear, it also brings the challenge to the engineers and drivers to get the most out of the tire quickly. Sand is also regularly on the racing line adding to the slipperiness of the track.
One similarity to the most recent California round of the Championship at Long Beach, this weekend's race will also be only for the 11 GTLM class cars and 12 Prototype (P) entries. The 23-car race will take the green flag at 2:45 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)/5:45 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). A race for the GT Daytona (GTD) and Prototype Challenge (PC) cars is scheduled for earlier in the day at 10:15 a.m. PT/1:15 p.m. ET.
The Monterey Grand Prix can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The stand-alone, two-hour GTD/PC race will precede the GTLM/P class race at 1 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1. The event will be streamed live at IMSA.com.
On his thoughts for the remainder of the TUDOR Championship schedule: "We had a great result and a very strong car and tire combination last year here at Laguna Seca. The new Porsche 911 RSR is a definite improvement so we are hoping for the best moving forward. We were able to learn a lot about our performance in Long Beach and have an idea where we need to make progress. I think we are all looking forward to erasing Long Beach and being able to move forward with the confidence that we will improve and be stronger each race weekend this year with the Team Falken Tire Porsche."
On the significance of the race length on strategy: "It's very often that you hear drivers say that the distance of the race doesn't matter, that we drive as hard as we can for as long as we need to and this race is no different. However, the length of the race does influence the team's decisions significantly. They will have to look at yellow flag stops and fuel windows with a very open mind. It is one of the key variables that makes sportscar racing unique compared to other forms of the sport."
On the momentum of last year's podium success: "The second-place last year does add to the excitement going into this weekend. We really want to come back and get another podium finish. This was a strong event for us and we would like nothing more than to show that Team Falken Tire can finish on the podium in 2014."
On racing with only the GTLM/Prototype class entries: "Having the GTLM cars on track with the just the Prototype cars didn't really change our race too much in Long Beach. I suspect that it will be the same in Laguna. It may be a little more difficult in traffic due to the nature of the track, but it will make for a good show."
On the track surface: "The surface is difficult because it is a low grip surface that is often sandy. This makes it difficult for tire engineers and drivers because the track is always changing. The good thing is the surface remains the same for everyone so we all have to fight the same issues."
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