Whether we can believe it or not, the 2012 American Le Mans season as drawn to a close. The 15th Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta was the 10th and final round of the season and Falken finished the 10 hour endurance event just seconds away from fifth position.
In 2012 Team Falken Tire was one of three ALMS teams to debut the 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. With the new car, Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler again dominated the streets of Baltimore to take the team’s third ALMS win, in addition to two more top five finishes. Falken finished the 2012 season 5th the GT standings and drivers Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler 8th in the GT driver standings.
Throughout the season, Team Falken Tire has been honored by the fans. In June, Porsche Factory Driver Wolf Henzler was named by the fans as the “Best Rain Racer,” and in July, Bryan Sellers was voted the ALMS “All American Racer.” At the 2012 American Le Mans Series end of the year banquet, Bryan Sellers was chosen by the fans as “The Most Popular Driver,” and Crew Chief Alex Zaric was honored by the series as the GT Mechanic of the Year.
Here’s a look into Falken’s final race of the season at Road Atlanta.
Team Falken took full advantage of the several days of pre-event testing to find the best possible tire combination and car set up for the big race.
The crew using the time in between sessions to work on the No. 17 Porsche.
Here Lee is in the process of working on the master cylinder.
Looking in through the left rear, Engineer Brian is hard at work.
Austrian Racer Martin “Raggi” Ragginger returned to Falken Tire as the third driver for the event. Here, he’s chatting with Lee and Brad before heading to pit lane for another test session.
In between the test sessions, Bryan and Martin were kind enough to give tours to some special Falken Fans. The fans in this group were members of the 10 Tenths Motorsports forum; a forum where Falken interacts with motorsports fans on a daily basis.
Crew member Brad even took time to show some fans other parts of the car while Bryan and Martin addressed the rest of the group.
Bryan shows the fans inside the car and demonstrates driver changes, as well as explains all the buttons and sensors inside the car.
The HPI Racing Falken Tire RC car is finally complete and will available soon on hpiracing.com. The mini No. 17 Car made an appearance, where our own crew and other crews had to stop by and check it out.
HPI’s attention to detail is incredible!
One of the morning tests was cold and wet. Since rain and such chilly temperatures weren’t predicted for race day, the test wasn’t too beneficial to the teams, but most still ran for at least some of the session.
Bryan chats with the team and tire engineers following the session. His co-driver Wolf Henzler was feeling under the weather and decline to participate in the session, making the feedback from Sellers even more valuable.
Engineer John speaking with Falken Tire engineer Yoshi about the tire strategy for the upcoming tests and race.
Besim and Engineer Brian working on the gear box. When we asked Brian what they were doing specially, his response was, “Putting in the banana peel shooter.”
Ricky working inside the back of the rear-engine No. 17 Porsche.
Lee takes a moment to test the new helmet lights for the night sessions.
Bryan and Martin gives a tour for another set of Falken Fans, a combination of more 10 Tenths users and twitter contest winners.
After the tour, Martin relaxes in the Falken rig for a few minutes before going back out on track. With the constant interviews, tours and test sessions, these drivers went above and beyond their normal duties during this race event.
Bryan is a painting by Paul Holroyd, a Porsche journalist and motorsport artist in the United Kingdom learned of our twitter auctions and wanted to donate to the cause. He contacted us in June offering to paint a piece for and end-of-the-season auction. Four months later, the painting was complete, signed, shipped to the United States and signed by Derrick Walker, Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler. GTI Motors (Selby North Yorkshire) was amazing enough to donate to the cause and pay for the shipping for the piece. The bidding went on for two hours and the painting finally sold for $500.17!
Brandon from 7Tune.com stopped by to interview Martin and Bryan. Once the three of them got to talking about cars, it was difficult to cut them off!
Justin Bieber attacks again. A die-hard fan remembered the Justin Bieber prank from earlier in the year, and brought by some Justin Bieber tape. Bryan, Wolf and Martin spent the rest of the weekend covering each team members’ equipment in tape. Including Wolf’s helmet.
The Falken Tire Porsche in pit lane before night practice.
Wolf Henzler back on his feet, and behind the wheel of the 17 Porsche in time for night practice.
Lee and Bryan enjoy the calm before night practice begins.
The Falken Porsche under the lights in night practice, snapped by crew member Besim.
Another early morning at the track, but the crew never seems to mind.
Martin and Brian make another appearance at the Porsche Platz, speaking to members of the Porsche Club of America. They stayed answering questions, signing autographs and discussing the upcoming race.
The Falken Tire Camera crew has arrived! You can check out their amazing photos and videos on facebook.com/falkentire and Falken Tire’s YouTube Channel.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Alex Zaric, the 2012 GT American Le Mans Series Mechanic of the Year!
The drivers, engineers, and managers watch on from the pit box.
After following us on twitter all season long, Superfan Erin finally made it to an ALMS race to say hello to the crew and drivers. She also brought the team their favorite snack: a one-pound bag of Peanut M&M’s! She also made sure she was first in line to get her autographs and swag!
It’s race day! In between the final warm up and the pre-race grid, the crew takes a few moments to make sure the Porsche is polished up and ready to go!
Brittney and Melanie are ready to go on grid at Road Atlanta!
Needless to say, whenever they stand next to the Porsche, the three of them draw quite a crowd.
Bryan watches the start of the pre-race grid walk from the pit lane wall. Shortly after he jumped down to say hi to fans and his fellow drivers.
The final moments before going green, as the national anthems were sung.
The three Falken drivers have their final meeting before the race.
Crew member Brad does the final check on Bryan before the race.
Raggi waits on the wall for the first pit stop of the 10 hour race.
The first pit stop of Petit Le Mans. Bryan Sellers hands the wheel over to Martin Raggi and the team adds new tires and fuel.
Engineer John, Bryan and Wolf watch on as Raggi climbs through the GT field.
Another pit stop for Falken as the sun starts to set.
Like two peas in a pod, Wolf and Bryan watch the TV and data screens during Raggi’s stint.
Wolf stands with Team Manager Derrick Walker as he waits to jump in the car for the final session of the race.
The final pit stop of the race: Raggi hands the wheel over to Wolf under the lights of Road Atlanta.
The crew watches as the final laps wind down and Wolf brings the Porsche home with a sixth place finish.
Thank you to all the fans that came out for the final race of the year. We plan on keeping our presence all off season long, so don’t go anywhere! Here are the fan photos from Petit Le Mans:
This photo by Darren (@dkleonard) shows just how close to the ground the Falken Porsche really is.
She even looks just as good looking on TV! Photo by Esteban (@elf_15lc).
The Falken Porsche in the daylight, racing out of 10b. Photo by Allan (@grand_amfan99).
@griffspix snapped one of our favorite night shots of the Falken Porsche.
Three times the mischief and three times the talent with the Falken Trio. Photo by Jesse (@jeriley)
If this isn’t fan dedication, we don’t know what is. John Remus (@johnremus) was able to chase this fan down during the race to grab this shot.
Joshua (@joshua75W) stopped by for this shot as the crew works away on the Porsche.
From @Skinkyl0u, the Falken driver trio at the autograph session.
Our friends at Sport Auto Live (@sportautolive) took this one of catching some good air!
Our friend from Racer Magazine, Tony (@tonydizinno), snapped this shot of the Porsche racing out of 10b at Road Atlanta.
From Earl on 10 Tenths, here’s a fan photo of one of the tours from the weekend.
Another shot from Earl, Bryan and Martin explain the steering wheel on the Porsche.
From J. Hamilton on 10 Tenths, here's another shot of Bryan and Martin giving a tour.
From Jared (@zoomjaredsiegel), here’s the Porsche racing into the sunset.
It may be the off season but don’t go anywhere! We still have more to come!