American Young Gun Bryan Sellers Has Breakout Season

While the world's economic woes ensure things remain a buyer's market in almost every category, it has been a Sellers' year in professional sports car racing... a Bryan Sellers' year. The Braselton, Ga.-resident set new career marks for himself at nearly every turn and proved himself to be among the elite of sports car racers. Two American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón victories with Team Falken Tire, fourth in the season-long drivers point championship, a second-place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and third in the worldwide Porsche Cup competition highlighted this American young gun's breakout season. In what has been called the most competitive GT season in years, Sellers set himself apart in the ALMS driving the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. At the Series' Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring opener, Sellers, season-long teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany) and endurance driver Martin Ragginger (Austria) helped the team maintain a top-three position in class until late in the running of the race. Only a gearbox issue would keep the team from capturing its first podium. Sellers and Team Falken Tire would again narrowly miss the podium from their season-best starting position (fifth) at the Long Beach (CA) Grand Prix - the site of Sellers' debut with the team in 2009 - taking fourth. At Lime Rock (CT) Park, a faulty fuel line would rip a podium from their hands again but Henzler would hold onto fifth at the checkered flag. Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ont., Canada would duplicate that result but new Falken Tire compounds were showing strength in the season's heart.It was at the ALMS' season-midpoint that all would finally click. Instead of a podium result being snatched at the last possible moment, Team Falken Tire was able to reverse the table at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Lexington, Ohio) and sweep through the top-five to take its first ALMS class win. The unorthodox victory came in a blinding rainstorm that swept cars off-track at every turn. Sure-footed with the Falken rain tire, Henzler - well positioned by Sellers' during his opening stint - put on a wet-weather driving performance unmatched in memory to capture the GT class victory. It was the first for Sellers, for Team Falken Tire and for team manager Derrick Walker (Indianapolis) in the ALMS and the first of 2011 for Porsche. A sixth at Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisc.) split a winning streak by Sellers. However, the former open wheel champion was quickly back in form. The debut Baltimore Grand Prix on that city's downtown streets gave Sellers his first taste of taking an ALMS victory flag. A hard fought battle from Henzler's start, Sellers picked-up at the race's halfway point. With dogged determination, the Ohio-native put on a street racing demonstration gaining the class lead and then pulling a substantial gap on the rest of the GT field. He crossed the start-finish line in front of one of the Series' largest and most energetic crowds to record his second career ALMS win.   Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's six-hour enduro in Monterey, Cal would send the Falken Porsche to the garage for the second and last time of the season. Substantial damage to the rear of the car, the result of an overzealous late braking maneuver by a GTC class competitors left the Falken entry with a broken frame and jeopardized the team's effort at the season-ending, 14th Annual Petit Le Mans.Looking to close the year on a high-note, Sellers and Henzler were again joined by Ragginger at the Braselton, Ga.-finale. Despite a frustrating qualifying position (12th) that was exasperated when the car missed its reconnaissance lap prior to the race and had to start from pit lane, the Walker-led operation went about its work to precision. Nine-and-a-half hours later, Sellers and team had taken fifth in class and secured fifth-place in the GT class Drivers Championship over the nine-race ALMS season. Porsche took second in the manufacturer standings, largely on Team Falken Tires' two wins, and with only its single entry, Falken Tire captured third in the tire manufacturer title chase. In the Team Championship, the Sellers/Henzler combination plus Walker's leadership gave Team Falken Tire its career-high team result, fourth - the highest-placing single-car entry.While the ALMS season made the bulk of Sellers' year, it was not the only sports car series he competed in. His deep ties with Porsche got a workout in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series as well. First with Paul Miller Racing at the Rolex 24, Sellers' matched his best-ever result there finishing second with co-drivers Rob Bell (United Kingdom), Bryce Miller (United States) and Tim Sugden (United Kingdom). In a second Rolex Series GT class start, Sellers added a fifth-place result with Magnus Racing at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen (NY) in June. The tally added neatly to his overall Porsche Cup results. The Porsche Cup is a program pitting Porsche racers from all over the world against one-another in a weighted points battle. Over the course of the season, Sellers' impressive performance secured him third in the international competition despite having run in only 11-events - far fewer than many of his competitors. It is his highest result ever in the competition governed by Porsche. As a result, Sellers and wife Jamie Howe Sellers will travel to Germany for the annual Porsche Motorsports Banquet to receive the honor. Not one to rest when he could be racing, Sellers also added a partial season of Grand-Am CTSCC competition driving a BMW M3 for Kinetic Motorsports with co-driver Jade Buford (Brentwood, TN). In addition to the on-track competition, Sellers continued to be heavily involved as Falken Tire's lead development driver for its sports car racing tire. He had multiple days in the United States testing and developing the Falken AZENIS racetire. Sellers also traveled twice to Japan during the season to test even more current compounds there. Between opening his season with a second-place after 24 hours of racing in Daytona to a top-five at the ALMS Petit Le Mans finale, 2011 was, indeed, a Sellers' year. Quotes

Bryan Sellers:

About his 2011 season: "2011 was a great year and there were a lot of contributing factors that helped to make that possible. It was a huge team effort! Everybody at Team Falken Tire did a great job putting it altogether. The crew was fantastic all year with their stops and car prep, Derrick (Walker) and John (Ward, engineer) did a great job with strategy and car setup, and of course, Falken is a huge factor. Their support and dedication was tremendous."About his pre-season expectations versus post-season reality: "I thought we were going to have a breakout year because of all the prep that went into the season. However, I didn't think it would have been as good as what it was. We were able to work hard, put our heads down and deliver. There is a lot of satisfaction in that!"His personal season highpoint: "Baltimore was a great day for me personally. I was able to be the one who took the checker in that race and the podium celebration and crowd were overwhelming!"


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