Falken Tire Ace Takes-On Six Hours of Sportscar Racing After Nearly Two Month Break
After waiting for 56 days, it is understandable that Bryan Sellers might want to drive the entire Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen on his own. Racecar drivers want to race. The Braselton, Georgia-resident will share the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR with longtime teammate and friend Wolf Henzler (Germany) when the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class returns to competition. The June 29 endurance race is scheduled for the legendary Watkins Glen International circuit in the Finger Lakes-region of New York state on Sunday. Official practice begins Friday, June 27.
. The premier form of GT racing in the world has been on a scheduled hiatus so that many teams and drivers could focus on racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. While the GT Daytona and Prototype classes held a race in Detroit in early June and the Prototype Challenge category followed a week later at Kansas City, the GTLM cars have been quiet. The class is comprised largely of factory programs and drivers many of whom had responsibilities at Le Mans. With no Falken Tire entry in France, Sellers has been out of head-to-head competition since the Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 4. Sellers and Henzler had a strong showing in California finishing fourth in GTLM.
While Sellers and Team Falken Tire have not been racing, the program has used the time to take part in three tests for the Japanese tire manufacturer. As the solitary team developing a sportscar racing tire for Falken, Team Falken Tire has run multi-day test sessions at Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia and at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The venues are on the Tudor Championship schedule for later in the season. Additionally, the knowledge garnered at these two tests will prove vital in tire construction and compounds for all venues on the schedule.
Watkins Glen International, "The Glen", is one of North America's premier racecourses and has been a very good fit for Sellers in the past. In 2013, he co-drove a Fall-Line Motorsports entry to his first victory in the SportsCar Challenge support series on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn natural terrain road course. That win spurred a second consecutive victory in the series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a few weeks later.
As it has in the past under GRAND-AM sanction, the Six Hours of The Glen will take its place on the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) schedule. The championship within a championship focuses on the four premier endurance sportscar races in North America. The Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the October 4 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta are the other events that comprise the TPNAEC. Team Falken Tire had not taken delivery of their new-for 2014 Porsche 911 RSR in time for the Rolex 24 forcing Sellers to miss that race. However, in Round Two of the championship at Sebring, he, Henzler and Marco Holzer (Germany) finished fifth in the team car's debut.
The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the race live on its network of stations. Sunday's race will also have live timing and scoring available at IMSA.com. The qualifying show can be seen on the IMSA web site beginning at 3:55 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 28.
On overcoming the downtime since the last race: "It has been a long time since we have raced the Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR. However, we have been fortunate enough to have done some testing. It won't take long to get back into the swing of things this weekend at Watkins Glen. The racing portion is the most exciting thing that we get to do and it will be great to get back to it again in the Six Hour. It has been similar to the off-season; there has been a lot of focus placed on fitness and preparation for the next endurance race. The testing is extremely beneficial because it keeps you in the car and keeps you in race shape.
On testing: "The test days have been extremely valuable. We have been able to address some of our issues that had existed earlier in the season. Without those days it would have been very easy to fall behind those that had tested or those that have been to Le Mans."
On expectations for the weekend: "We did a test here at Watkins Glen earlier this year and there were quite a few GTLM cars here. However, it is still difficult to tell what everyone was showing in terms of speed. In the past, Porsche has always been strong at the Glen, and I suspect this year to be no different. Unfortunately, I don't think last year's success in the support series helps going into this year in the performance aspect. But, I do believe that it helps from a mental perspective. I really enjoy Watkins Glen and the win last year helps prepare for our performance this year."