Friday, August 24, 2012

Round 7: Team Falken Busy with Two Car Rumors, Road America and a Porsche Rebuild

The American Le Mans Series Road Race Showcase at Road America was a weekend full of ups and downs. We met some great fans, had a huge turnout for the autograph session and even worked our way up to third position during the American Le Mans Series race.  In the final Falken pit stop, the team gained five positions in the GT class! Great job to the Falken crew for a perfectly executed strategy! Of course, the event ended on a disappointing note for the team when the team lost a tire in the Kink with 50 minutes remaining. Bryan Sellers was in the Porsche when it spun and hit the wall, and thankfully he was unharmed, but the Porsche was not able to continue. The team is investigating the cause of the incident to find out the precise cause and to move forward for the best possible outcome for the remainder of the season.

A big thank you goes to all of the fans who tweeted us well wishes for the team and Bryan following the incident on track. It was certainly a disappointing end to such a great run (We were up to third at one point and fourth when we crashed), but the support from the fans was overwhelmingly uplifting.

One Porsche to rule them all or two is better than one? Heading into the Road America race weekend, we generated a bit of buzz by posting this photo. The rumors started flying and the phones started ringing. writer John Dagys was the first to grab an exclusive interview with Program Manager Derrick Walker to talk about the possibility of a two car race team. You can read about it here.

Crew member Bessim works inside the cockpit of the #17 Porsche. Here, he’s working on the battery.

There’s no such thing as spare time on a race weekend. Here, truck driver Mo uses his free time to make sure every part of our paddock area was clean and presentable.

It pays to be a twitter follower! Ryan (@momedic9019) was the first to correctly answer our trivia contest, and his prize was a private tour of the Falken rig with Wolf and Bryan.

It’s all about the tires! The Falken Tire Corporation brought out some additional engineers to aid in the further development in the tires for the #17 Porsche. That’s dedication!

The Falken Porsche waits patiently in pit lane at Road America.

We asked Brad to hold his banner for a photo, but somehow he misinterpreted that as “wear this banner.” Maybe it’ll inspire a whole new line of Falken apparel? This banner was signed by all of the crew and given to the auction for the Tour De Road America and their fundraising efforts at the track.

Say “Ahhh!” The crew working hard to make changes on the Porsche in between sessions.

Engineer Ricky and Andrew from Porsche look over the data from the previous session. Every piece of information is useful.

Did you catch me doing that? Team Manager Phil peers at Falken Tire videographer Qazi as he films the crew working in the pits.

 This young race fan was visiting a race track for the first time! When Bryan and Wolf heard, they invited him into the paddock for a private tour and even gave him some swag to walk away with. We hope we made a good impression! 

Another session complete and Wolf and Bryan discuss everything from the car’s handling, to the balance, and the performance of the tires.

Then it’s back to the rig to discuss some more with the engineers and managers!

Getting the dirt! Our data engineer Ricky is the focal point for an upcoming piece in IEEE Spectrum. Alaina and Prachi tagged along for two days to meet the team, watch Ricky in action and enjoy some racing! Here, they’re interviewing Bryan about how vital Ricky is to the race team.

Lee meticulously works on the windshield tear offs. It can get pretty messy out there during a race and having a tear off makes for a faster pit stop, as opposed to taking time to clean the windshield. 

Lead Tire Engineer Yoshi speaks with ESPN Reporter Taro Koki. ESPN has a great staff of reporters who stopped by all weekend to make sure they had the latest information on Team Falken Tire.

During a practice session, Wolf felt the need to visit with the Porsche guys and joke around with them. It’s just one big family here.

Young fans get autographs from Bryan and Wolf. We had an incredible turn out at the autograph session and gave away so much swag! Thanks to all who stopped by!

Happy Birthday, Bryan! Before the race, the team and paddock sang happy birthday to Bryan, who turned 30 the following day.

The calm before the storm. Bryan spends the final few moments before the pre-race grid alone in the rig.

Wolf poses with friends on the pre-race grid. 

The #17 Falken Porsche showing off for the fans on the grid walk. Big thanks to the American Le Mans Series for allowing fans to get up close to the teams and the cars.

Bryan helps Wolf get situated in the Porsche. It’s almost time to go green at Road America.

Time to line up on the grid for the National Anthem and pre-race ceremonies!

The first pit stop of the race: Wolf gets out and Bryan jumps in as Dan fuels the car.

Following his release from the medical center after his crash in the Kink, Bryan looks on as the crew wheels out the wounded Porsche. 

Click here for the official team photos from the weekend and here for the official press release.

The crew worked feverishly to get the Porsche back into shape in time for the next race at Baltimore. Here's a few more shots of the #17 Porsche Connan's Paint & Body Shop in Zionsville, IN getting her panels straightened out on the jigs. Big thanks to Ed Napleton Porsche in Westmont,IL, and Celette Crash Repair Equipment for getting us the parts and equipment we needed to get the Porsche ready for Baltimore!

 Back at the shop, it’s time to paint!


It’s not a race car without an engine! We certainly don’t want to forget that!

Now that all of the damage is repaired, it’s time to prep the Porsche for Baltimore next week, where Bryan and Wolf will be defending their 2011 Falken win.

Time for the twitter fan photos! Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures from the event!

 From Will (@wwetherington), here’s the Falken crew getting ready for the first pit stop!

A stunning shot from Track Time Audio (@tracktimeaudio) of the Falken Porsche as she races away from the camera. 

  From Ben (@thebenwedge), here’s the Porsche overtaking a BMW. Get it! Ben also wrote a great recap of the weekend (including visiting us in our paddock) for RACER Magazine. Read it here

 Steve (steveieH_35) was one of four lucky winners to get a hot lap on track at Road America. He submitted this photo of his morning ride! Thanks Porsche for letting us use the rides!

Writer Alaina (@alainaglevine) getting her interviews on the grid for the article for IEEE Spectrum. Links will follow once the piece is complete.

From Mark (@MZimmerman914), the Porsche battles it out with a Corvette. This kind of competition is what it's all about!

And last but not least, the Falken Porsche enjoying the open road from Sport Auto Live (@sportautolive).

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