Team Falken Tire press release
Indianapolis, IN. (Feb. 29). This afternoon, Team Falken Tire concluded the second test of the winter season at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for the American Le Mans Series season opening race in two weeks. The 60th Anniversary of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida March 17 will be the race debut of the team's new 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. With testing opportunities few and far between, the team worked around the clock to ensure maximum productivity from the second test with the new vehicle.
With one test already in the books, Team Falken Tire dedicated the second two day test to optimizing the race car configuration. "We already rebuilt the race car to make it race-ready, and the purpose of this test was to find out what the new RSR really wants," said team manager Derrick Walker. Several changes to the newest model, including a wider body and flared wheel arches, forced the team to reevaluate the previous year's race setup based on the sports car's predecessor.
Running new Falken tires and the new Porsche, the team struggled to find the proper balance with the new set up. "Our engineers are starting to understand the new car more," said Porsche works driver and returning Falken Tire veteran racer Wolf Henzler. "Although there is still much to learn, we have a better idea of what we need set up wise." Henzler and Bryan Sellers will return to compete with the team in the full 2012 race season.
Martin Ragginger, or "Raggi" to his fans, will join the duo for the upcoming Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans at the end of the season. "The new car felt better compared to last year," said Ragginger, after his first sessions in the new Porsche. "I feel like it handled better over bumps and held faster entry into the turns."
"Sebring is a difficult place because it has so many different challenges," said Bryan Sellers. "The surface is very different on multiple parts of the track, so the car and tires respond different on each one of those varying surfaces." With the Twelve Hours of Sebring taking place during both the hottest times in the day and the coolest times at night, tire composition testing was crucial for Team Falken Tire. Running Falken Azenis race slicks on the Porsche again this season, the team will use the data from this week's test to develop the optimal tire set up. "They've been able to teach us a lot. Wolf, myself and Falken Tire have been able to grow collectively to make better tires both on and off track."