Thursday, May 23, 2013

Falken Tire Scores Podium Finishing Weekend at Mazda Raceway

It was another strong race weekend for Falken Tire at Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Again, expert teamwork, speedy pit stops, strong strategy and incredible driving combined for a second place finish for Falken. The team dedicated the off season to creating an improved tire for the 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and all the hard work has paid off. In the past three races, the team has qualified in second twice and has earned two podium finishes. Here’s a look at the team’s weekend. Next up, Lime Rock Park!

To ensure an organized paddock, the Series has a designated day when all the trucks can pull in and established times teams can open the trucks and start unloading. The Porsche soaks up the sun on set up day while the crew unloads the rig and sets up the paddock for the week. 

With the kiwi tile laid down, the crew starts to put together the covering.

With the tent set up, the lights hung and the tools brought in, Besim and Arti get to work on getting the Porsche’s area set up.

Artie measures to make sure everything is balanced and level to the right specifications.

Inside the cockpit of the Falken Porsche.

The following day, it’s time to get on track! The teams had a test day before the first official practice sessions began. In years past, Falken struggled on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, so the team made use of every allotted minute.

The Porsche pulls in after a stint to check the tires and make adjustments on the setup before returning back out on track.

As the car puts down solid laps, Brandon uses the time to relax and catch some sun and watch the session on the pit’s TVs.

The day is complete, the sun sets and the crew gets to work on the Porsche. Usually the crew works well after sunset to dial in on the right setup and get ready for the next morning’s sessions.

While the Walker Racing crew work on the Porsche, the Falken Tire crew gets to work on mounting all the tires for the next day’s sessions.

With our Sebring 12 Hour podium trophy in hand, we got together in pit lane for a group photo. This crew worked hard for the podium finish and were rewarded to a team dinner in Monterey to celebrate.Top row, left to right: Eladin, Artie, Lee, Besim, Alex, Mike, Brandon, Dan and Rick.
Bottom row, left to right: Brad, Owen, Kelly, Edo, Mo, Derrick, Phil, Yoshi, Takeshi, Brian, Sebastian. And of course we all know Wolf and Bryan.

Of course, with this group, a serious photo had to be followed up by a ridiculous photo. It was all Derrick Walker’s idea. Racing is serious business, but this crew still manages to find the time to have some fun.

Back to business, the drivers visited the Mazda Raceway Porscheplatz. There was a great turnout of Porsche Club of America owners, and Porsche was gracious enough for the team to invite their social media fans to attend the question and answer session.

The Porsche Club members asked a lot of good questions, and were cracking jokes with Bryan and Wolf for most of the questions. If you’re a PCA member and you haven’t signed up for the Porscheplatz yet, put it on your to-do list!

Later that afternoon, the drivers made an appearance at the ALMS Fan Forum at the Mazda display with Katherine Legge and Johannes van Overbeek . Despite the warm temperatures and sun, there was an incredible turnout!

With the public appointments complete, Wolf retreats to the office to catch up on emails before heading out on track.

All the tires used in an ALMS race weekend are checked and marked by IMSA, the sanctioning body. They apparently got bitten by the spring bug.

The Porsche pulls in for some set up changes during the practice session.

After a long day, Falken ALMS Supervisor Brad hangs out with Falken Tire social media rock star and photographer rock star Jesse as he posts the photos from the day.

It’s race day! Engineer Brian is set up early race day morning in the team rig’s office.

Race day also means our Falken Girls Gabriella and Julie are in attendance! The ladies were on hand all day to sign autographs, hand out swag and pose with fans; After posing with Wolf first, of course.

During the autograph session, we saw hundreds of fans come through to meet Wolf, Bryan, Gabriella and Julie. As with every ALMS autograph session, we gave out tons of swags for fans. It’s always great to see so many fans eager to represent our team!

Falken Tire also debuted the new ALMS team poster. It will be at all our race events for the rest of the season, so be sure to come out to a race to get yours!

It’s almost race time! The Falken Girls pose on the pre race grid with the race car drivers before the fan walk begins.

Like birds sitting on a telephone wire, the Falken crew enjoys the sun while watching the multitude of fans on the fan walk.

Bryan also tried his hand at modeling on the pre-race grid. What do you think?

Alex, Mike, Besim, Brad and Artie line up, waiting for the National Anthem to begin.

Meanwhile, Bryan gets suited up to start the race with co-driver Wolf by his side. Bryan qualified the car in second.

Wolf watches anxiously as co-driver Bryan fights hard against the other factory teams to keep the Porsche in the top three.

Crew member Lee intently waits on pit wall for Bryan to pit.

Stint complete, Bryan does  a quick interview with ESPN/SPEED’s Justin Bell.

The race is complete and Wolf and Bryan exchange a hug, congratulating each other on their second place finish.

Another podium for Team Falken Tire! Thank you to the crew, drivers and our partners for such a strong weekend.  For the fans who showed up to cheer us on, this sport wouldn’t be what it is without you. We hope to see you in July at Round 4 at Lime Rock Park!

Every race, we love hearing from our fans! Here are your photos from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca:

Watching from home, Peter (@BaronVonClutch) snapped an interview shot of Bryan with Justin Bell

Our friends at Battery Tender (@batterytender) tweeted this pic of the Falken Porsche leading the Paul Miller Porsche and RLL BMW out of the Corkscrew

Watching from home, Chris (@CJensen1222) tweeted this with the caption "As it should be." We agree, Chris!

Dave (@DaveBuckholz) tweeted us his support with this flashback poster!

GT Competitor Tommy Milner (@TommyMilner) is a big fan of our team and somehow always makes it into our caption contests. Now he's taking shots of us on the grid too!

Wesley (@WesleyLegaspi) caught Bryan coming out of the Corkscrew.

Falken Tire's Andrew (@andrewhoit) joined the rest of the fans at the Corkscrew.

Our leading lady speeds away from Alex (@aphong93).

Foo Bear( We're guessing that's not your real name, @gingerkid_584 ) caught the Porsche early in the morning getting ready for the day.

Falken Tire's Joyce (@joycelex) caught the Falken Girls as they were getting ready to hand out posters during the race. Great job, ladies!

Marco (@mar_B_ond) decided to race along with Bryan and Wolf virtually.

Marcello (@marcellorsr) found the Porsche first thing in the morning in the rig.

This just goes to show how great the level of competition is in ALMS. So many different car and tire manufacturerss in the top five. That black "F" looks great in P1! Thanks for sharing @oneighturbo!

 Sean (@SeanMP) won one of our twitter contests and won a Vitesse ride on track! Thanks Porsche for giving us such a great prize to give to our fans!

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