Round 9 was the first time that the American Le Mans Series had visited Virginia International Raceway. Many teams had the opportunity earlier to take part in the series test at the 17-turn, 3.27 mile road course, but Team Falken Tire was not one of those teams. At the time of the test announcement, Falken was already booked to do testing at a different track, and we found ourselves with some catch up work to do upon arrival for the race event.
Both Bryan and Wolf had raced at the track previously and with them brought a good amount of track knowledge. The race didn’t go as well as we hoped, but now we’re putting all of our focus into Petit Le Mans October 20th. The 10 hour (or 1000 miles) endurance race will be a true test of race teams, and we’re sure to expect some serious competition from the GT class. Hope to see you there!
And now, the behind the scenes look at our weekend at Virginia International Raceway.
Paul Newman once said, “If there’s a heaven on Earth, it’s VIR.” Simply put, VIR is a beautiful track for racing and spectating. The track opened in 1957, but closed down for almost 25 years from 1974 to 2008. Vintage Sports Car racer Harvey Siegel transformed the track, repaving and widening the road course that we know to love today. The VIR staff did an excellent job organizing the event, even offering shuttles for fans to make their way around the track.
Upon arriving at the track, there was one small problem for the team: not only was the paddock not paved, but it was basically sand. To ensure the No. 17 Porsche passes IMSA Technical Inspect and meets all of the proper requirements, the team had to find a way to make the paddock level. The solution was to dig out four strategically placed squares into the sand, and fill with a cement mixture.
After drying overnight, the cement blocks worked perfectly. The crew was able to put the car on the scale pads and meet the right technical requirements. Other teams in the paddock with the same issue took notice and followed suit with the cement as well.
While the guys work on set up, Mike gives the Porsche a nice polishing up.
Thanks to Muc-Off for making such great cleaning products for us! We couldn’t get the sports car looking this good without them!
With set up finished, Team Manager Phil Howard gathers up the crew for a quick meeting to make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities for the race event.
Upon arriving at the track, Falken Driver Bryan Sellers sits down with engineer Brian. Sometimes the drivers will spend hours a day pouring over data and numbers, constantly searching for those areas where the team can find extra speed.
Porsche Factory driver Wolf Henzler picks up a copy of the News Record to read about co-driver Bryan and his early years in racing. Did you miss the article? You can find it here.
And then it was time to head out on track! The Falken Tire crew did a great job staying focused on the task at hand and trying to make up for the time we didn’t get to test on the new ALMS track.
Race day at VIR had perfect weather conditions, which was fine with us. After the dominating performance in the rain at Mid-Ohio last year, Falken fans always root for it to rain on race day. Now that we have two wins in the dry, we know we can win, even on sunny days.
Crew member Brad picked up where Wolf’s tour left off, and Scott and friends got to see the Porsche up close as Brad answered all of their in-depth questions. ALMS fans know their stuff!
With just a couple hours to go until the green flag on race day, Bryan and Wolf took a break from the meetings and interviews to participate in the ALMS autograph session. The line of Falken Fanatics looking for autographs stretched down the paddock. We met so many race fans who came out to show their support, meet the drivers and get signed Falken swag. Hope to see you all sporting the swag at Petit Le Mans next month!
The sun is slowly setting and Bryan waits on pit wall for his final stint. He is not allowed to jump over the wall until the Porsche comes to a stop in pit lane.
And here are the fan photos from Round 9 at Virginia International Raceway! Thanks for your submissions!
Thank you again to all the fans who showed up at VIR and who sent their support online. We hope to see you at Petit Le Mans! Visit alms.com for event information.
Falken Tire Information:
- Do you want to be included in a Falken Tire blog during the off season? We want to dedicate a future blog to Falken Tire artwork and graphic designs from YOU, our fans! Start working on your pieces now and once the season is over, we'll tell you where to send your piece!
- Did you miss the VIR race? Not to worry! You can watch it here, thanks to the staff at ALMS.
- The journey from our race ending crash at Road America to our win at the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge was a difficult one. Watch this powerful video to see the dedication of the team management, drivers and crew as they refuse to accept defeat and earn their first win of the 2012 season.
- Falken is giving away a new 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera. Click here to enter the sweepstakes!