BRYAN SELLERS SCORES TOP-4 AT LONG BEACH ALMS SPRINT
Young Gun Gives Falken Tire and Himself Career Best ALMS Result
LONG BEACH, CA, April 18, 2011 - Bryan Sellers entered Saturday's Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach Grand Prix knowing the Southern California street course offered the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR the perfect venue to excel. Past performances have shown the popular, temporary circuit is an ideal fit for Sellers, Team Falken Tire and Porsche. At the end of the two-hour, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event, the Braselton, GA-resident and teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany) stood just off the podium in fourth-place of the GT class - eighth overall - with a string of accolades attached to their effort. Among the accomplishment of the day for the sport's "young gun": giving Falken Tire its highest-ever professional sports car finish, representing Porsche as the German brand's highest finisher of the day and tying his own personal-best ALMS career finish.
Since debuting with Sellers behind the wheel here at Long Beach in 2009, Team Falken Tire has fought to be on equal footing with the long-time juggernauts of the sport. Efforts to improve the performance of its race tire and team is now showing results. Finishing 80 laps on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit, the blue and turquoise Porsche held the class lead for a time during the running of the race having started fifth. Ultimately, the Derrick Walker (Indianapolis, IN)-managed operation would take fourth which mirrored Sellers' previous best ALMS finish - achieved at Lime Rock, 2006. Entering Saturday's afternoon start, Falken's best career performance was a sixth-place here last season. As Seller's crossed under the checkered flag of the second ALMS race of the season, he outpaced the next-best Porsche by four spots.
In 2010, the No. 17 Porsche led much of the race here at the most famous street course in North America. However, the April 16 performance far exceeded that success. The overall performance of the tire and the team gives a far more encouraging indication for the remainder of the season than did the '10 feat. While always fast, the Falken tire is now much improved over the course of a "stint" during the race. This allowed Sellers to run quick and consistent lap times over the life of the tire maximizing the team's results.
While there are over two months until the next ALMS race (Lime Rock Park, CT, July 9), Sellers will not be vacationing. The former open-wheel racing champion will next compete in the Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge Series at Virginia International Raceway on May 14 with the No. 33 BMW M3. Sellers will follow that on May 28 at Lime Rock Park also in the BMW he shares with Jade Buford (Brentwood, TN).
I thought we really had a good shot at the podium but we came up just a little short.
About the Long Beach Grand Prix: "It was a great day for Team Falken Tire and myself. Things worked very well through the whole race. We caught some good breaks and took advantage of them. I thought we really had a good shot at the podium but we came up just a little short.
We were in a good position all weekend to have a great race. Practice went well, qualifying was strong and I knew we would race better than we showed in those sessions. I felt pretty positive all weekend and, looking back, we showed that feeling was justified."
About earning Falken Tire's highest ALMS finish: "I think it is a huge indication of the development that Falken has done over the off-season. We are now racing with the other programs and that's a good feeling. We know we still have a way to go until we are a threat every race but we are making progress and improving weekly!"
About the Falken Tire's performance: "The tire's consistency over the course of a stint is everything! There is no way that you can win a race if you aren't there at the end to take advantage. Our goal at Team Falken Tire has been to improve our longevity on the tires and that worked pretty well over the Long Beach weekend!
-source: bryan sellers racing