Selling Points: Bryan Sellers Post-Season Updates
Bryan Sellers Remembers Seven Years at Falken Tire
Braselton, Georgia, October 8, 2015 - Endurance racing is about the long haul, not the single lap. The same can be said of a motorsports programs. The 18th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta was the final chapter in an unusually long and successful partnership: Bryan Sellers and Falken Tire. Following two consecutive wins (2013, 2014) on his hometown racetrack in Braselton, Georgia driving the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR, the magic couldn't be replicated on a waterlogged racetrack on October 3. However, that didn't dampen the significance of the impressive pairing of the American driver and the Japanese tire constructor over the course of its relationship.
Bryan Sellers on his seven years with Falken Tire: "When I joined Falken back in 2009 we didn't know what the future held. They were just starting their first Porsche program and it was a limited schedule of just three races. I would have never guessed then that it would be seven years later and a half-dozen wins before we'd be saying goodbye. It has been amazing to work with such great and dedicated people. The Walker Racing guys are absolutely amazing and proved again at Petit Le Mans the heart that this team has. The Falken Tire squad, both here and in Japan, has put so much into this from the beginning that I can't be anything but proud to be listed as a Falken Tire development driver. It would have been great to end this time together with a victory at Petit Le Mans but the fact that we didn't doesn't diminish the overall success one bit. These men and women, all of them over the years, became a family and that is very hard to leave. It is pretty surreal to know that we won't all be testing in a few weeks to prepare for the Rolex 24. I want to thank all of Team Falken Tire, everyone that has been associated with the program at any point over the last seven years, for everything they have done and the friendship and support they have shown to me and my entire family. It has been a great ride and I'd do it all over again!"
Bryan Sellers' "Thank You" to the fans: "To everyone who has cheered us on every lap of every session at every race weekend since Long Beach in 2009, I can't say 'thank you' enough. You hear about what a strong fan base can do to boost a team but I have never seen anything like this until I came to Team Falken Tire. I wish we could thank everyone that has ever cheered us on individually. Needless to say, it means so much and it has been humbly received and appreciated."
In 2009, Bryan Sellers was announced as lead driver for Falken Tire's new professional sports car racing program. That first season the program - which had just switched ownership and car manufacturers from a supplier-status effort in2008 - was limited to three American Le Mans Series (ALMS) races (Long Beach, Petit Le Mans, Laguna Seca) with season-high result of eighth (Petit Le Mans) co-driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Dominic Cicero. The following year Wolf Henzler (Germany) was brought in from Porsche. It was then that the effort began to show its true potential qualifying on the outside of the front row and leading at Long Beach. In 2011, a constant string of victories began at a rain-soaked Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and went on to the first of two consecutive street course victories in Baltimore. From 2011 until its conclusion at last week's Petit Le Mans, Team Falken Tire scored at least one victory every season.
Major SportsCar Wins: Six (2015: Six Hours of The Glen, '14: Petit Le Mans, '13: Petit Le Mans, '12: Baltimore, '11: Mid-Ohio, Baltimore)
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
In 2010, the first full year of the Team Falken Tire effort, Porsche Motorsport provided "works" driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) to complement Sellers. The combination became one of the most successful pairings in the American Le Mans Series GT class and then transitioning after the merger to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans class scoring at least won class victory every season since 2011. 2015 results included a third at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and a victory at the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
Bryan Sellers on his relationship with Wolf Henzler: "Wolf and I have become so much more than co-drivers over the last six years. We've become very good friends. Our styles in the car have always worked well together, at least at most tracks, and that has kept down the friction. And our egos mesh pretty well in and out of the car too. We are both focused on the success of the team, not just ourselves. That isn't always easy to find in a race car driver. In fact, it is pretty rare. I think that is why we found so much success together. 2016 will have its new challenges but getting used to sharing a car with anyone but Wolf will be a big one!"
Note: This memory is one of four that Bryan Sellers shared with RACER.com journalist Marshall Pruett. Used with the gracious approval. "Maybe my favorite memory with the crew was at Sebring. It is an odd favorite memory to think about since we finished third but it was clear at the end of the race that we were on that podium because of the crew. They had the least amount of time in the pits of anyone in the race. They were so fast and never made a single mistake. Every stop we would gain spots. That is a huge advantage at an endurance race. To be able to look at them and say, 'Thank you! This result is because of you!' is probably one of the most rewarding things I've ever gotten to do. We didn't win but it didn't matter. We finished on the podium. And we finished on the podium because of the crew. It was a real honor to be a part of something that was a full team effort. To look at them and see the look on their faces when it was all over, to see the look that they knew that we knew it was because of their efforts was very rewarding! That is always going to be a very special memory to me. Those guys have made a major impact on my career, everyone at Falken has, so to be able to turn around and give them that, well, that is a really big deal to me. That kind of impact on my career, the faith they put in me all of those years, is hard to put into perspective. Somehow just saying 'thank you!' to everyone at Team Falken Tire and Falken Tire both here in the States and in Japan isn't enough."