Braselton, GA. (May 23). Just two weeks ago, Team Falken Tire put on one of the most competitive shows so far this season in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With a taller tire, a new front splitter and a modified rear wing, Bryan Sellers and Porsche Works driver Wolf Henzler had just a few days to work with the team to find the right race set up for the dramatic changes to the #17 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. After starting ninth, the team used an alternate pit strategy and came out to lead the race with under an hour to go. After intense battles with other cars in the GT class, the team finished seventh, walking away with a whole new understanding of the car.
With the next race not taking place until July, the Falken Tire crew started off the almost six-week break with a two day test at Road Atlanta. The 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course is an ideal track for testing the new modifications to the Azenis RT-Slick tires and the body of the Porsche. "Road Atlanta is one of the hardest tracks to build a tire for and one of the hardest tracks to make a tire last," said Falken driver Bryan Sellers. "It's the high G-loading that really puts a lot of stress on the tires." When a tire manufacturer can test at Road Atlanta and find a tire that is durable enough, the better the odds that tire will be useful almost anywhere for durability and longevity.
"We were able turn though a lot of different tire combinations that have been a work in progress for some time now," remarked Sellers. "We were able to put some into play for the first time and learn a lot of new things that give us an exciting outlook for the future."
Returning to the smaller, original tire size that was run at the first two rounds of the season, the Falken Tire engineers brought new designs to test on the world class road course. "We had a productive test," said Lead Tire Design Engineer Yoshi Yasuda, "Coming here with some new tire designs, we were able to learn some valuable information to help us be more competitive at Petit Le Mans later this season."
During the remainder of the racing break, the team plans to complete another test, at a time and location to be determined. The team will return to Road Atlanta in October for the 15th Annual running of the Petit Le Mans endurance race.
In an effort to continue the dedication to provide more content and behind the scenes insight, Team Falken Tire is also proud to announce the launch of new team online blog. Found at falkenalms.blogspot.com, this new site will deliver in depth stories and a new look into the American Le Mans Series GT race team throughout the race season.