ALMS Race-Winner to Taste Newest Porsche 911 RSR in Annual Sebring Winter Test
A new car is always something special. It is a thrill to drive it through the neighborhood for the first time, setting the seat and the radio stations to your personal preferences, receiving the accolades from jealous friends and family. For two-time American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (ALMS) race-winning driver Bryan Sellers, his new race car is all of that and more! The Braselton, Ga.-resident will get his first taste of the new 2012 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR this week at the Annual ALMS Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway in front of friends and fans. The February 8-9 test is the first time that the world will get to see the updated race-version of the classic German sports car up-close and head-to-head with other GT class competitors. Sellers will be marking his fourth-consecutive year as a Falken factory driver in the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR he shares with Wolf Henzler (Germany). The Winter Test on the 3.47-mile, 17-turn road course has become a tradition for the ALMS. The 2012 edition has additional importance as it not only previews the 60th Anniversary of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida - scheduled for March 17 - but also the debut of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). For Sellers, the two-day test is not unlike the first drive of any new road car. The former open-wheel racing champion must learn the correct seating position, set the controls for easy access over the 12-hour race that awaits him and acquaint himself with the performance envelope of the Porsche. All aspects of the test are vitally important to getting off on the right foot towards the 2012 ALMS GT Championship. Sellers and his fellow ALMS competitors will have ample time over the course of the next two days to ring-out the new cars and "off-season" cobwebs. Testing is open on Wednesday from 8 a.m. (ET) through 11:30 a.m. and re-starts at 1 p.m. going through to the checkered flag at 5 p.m. Day-Two gets underway at 8 a.m. on Thursday and will go through the start of the Noon lunch break. The final session of official winter testing will resume at 1 p.m. and close at 5 p.m. While there will be no live television or radio coverage of the test, timing and scoring can be found at www.ALMS.com. At no time in its illustrious career, has the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR undergone such a dramatic offseason makeover. In an effort to close the gap on the factory programs of BMW, Corvette and Ferrari, Porsche's motorsports arm in Weissach, Germany has made substantial changes to the rear-engined car. While still based on the type 997 platform - road-going Porsches are seeing the debut of a new 911 (type 991) - the car has seen extensive bodywork development including wider dimensions, flared rear wheel arches and front wheel arches which allow for wider diameter front Falken tires. Better airflow allows the four-liter, boxer six-cylinder engine to now generate 460 BHP through its paddle-operated gearbox. This week marks the second time Sellers has tested at Sebring since the close of the 2011 ALMS season. In early December, Team Falken Tire used last year's winning car for tire testing of the Falken AZENIS racing slick. Combined with the knowledge the team will garner this week, expectations are high that the effort will better even last year's results which saw the No. 17 as the only Porsche to score multiple victories (Mid-Ohio and Baltimore) in the ALMS GT class.Quotes
About the first test of the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: "It is very exciting to get a chance to drive the new Falken Porsche. There is always something very special about getting into a newly designed race car, especially one that is developed by a company so prestigious as Porsche. The car looks great and I am sure it will perform as well as it looks! The rollout test on a car is always very difficult because you have a lot of information that you must learn in a very short amount of time. Our situation is also very different from most because we not only need to use this test as a car shakedown, but as a tire test as well. We need to leave this test with very good knowledge of a new race car as well as a direction to take our Falken Tire development program. This is a very important test for us and we must accomplish a lot!"About doing the first test on such a public stage: "I think the nice thing about the ALMS is everybody's speed is almost always on showcase. Certainly, there will be nobody that is running on their qualifying map or light fuel, but everybody pushes very hard so they know where they are and where they stack up. Everybody has a pretty good idea where they need to be and how fast they need to go." About balancing testing the car versus the Falken tire: "This is a very difficult test for us because we have to do both testing of the new Falken AZENIS tire and the new Porsche 911 RSR. There will certainly be a large amount of time that we use a baseline tire and try and familiarize ourselves with the car, but then it will go straight into tire testing."About his first visual impressions of the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: "I think the new RSR looks fantastic. Porsche did a great job. The car is very visually appealing. It fits the new mold that race cars are beginning to look like but yet looks very different and still very much like a Porsche. It is a great combination and I expect that it will be the same driving it: different but still very much a Porsche."