Wednesday, August 21, 2013

ALMS Round 6: Falken Tire Races in the Rain at Road America

At Mid-Ohio in 2011, Falken Tire made headlines after the 17 Porsche passed twelve cars in one lap as a monsoon attacked the American Le Mans Series race. It was the first ALMS win for the GT team, and although Falken Fanatics haven’t stopped the rain dances, the ALMS races have been in dry conditions since.  Last week at Road America, Team Falken Tire was finally given the opportunity to race again in the rain. With Bryan Sellers behind the wheel, the Porsche’s rain tires put on a strong performance in the first stint, expertly passing the Corvette and Viper to take the GT lead and pull away from the field. The team stayed on the rain tires longer than the rest of the class and pit cycles shuffled the field. The Porsche finished 9th in the Orion Systems 245.

Next up, Team Falken Tire will race in the streets of Baltimore, defending their title of being the only ALMS GT team to win the event. With two of the team’s three wins belonging to Baltimore, the team looks to continue the streak and earn their first ALMS three-peat. 

Set-up day complete, the Porsche sat in the silence of the garage, waiting for the on track action to begin.

We decided to try something new for our event contests. We posted three Falken Tire stickers around the paddock and offered a prize to the first fan that could tweet us photos of all three. Congratulations to Mark (@MZimmerman914) for finding all them first!

The Porsche pits during the first practice session at Road America. The team used the day to test different set ups and configurations on the car and tires. 

With Practice 1 complete, Bryan and Wolf prepared for the ALMS Fan Forum and Austin Hatcher Foundation Auction. The guys at Team Falken Tire in California gathered items from around the garage and warehouse to auction off for charity at the race event. Bryan and Wolf came by to sign all the items before the auction. Naturally, the drivers wanted to keep most of the items for their personal collections.

Bryan and Wolf have participated in numerous fan forums before, but the forum at Road America hosted the best lineup of speakers and brought the most fans. Left to right: Bryan Sellers, Ryan Eversley, Tommy Milner, Scott Pruett, Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Wolf Henzler and emcee Brian Till.

The all-star lineup brought in over 500 fans with standing room only. Even better, the majority stayed for the Falken Tire Austin Hatcher Foundation Auction. 

With the help of Road America fans, Team Falken Tire raised $4,275 for the Austin Hatcher Foundation, a foundation dedicated to providing aid to families dealing with pediatric cancer.

After Practice 2 and before qualifying, Bryan sat with Crew Chief Alex and relaxed while they wait for the Porsche’s session to begin. Although racing can be stressful, the team always takes the time to relax and still have a good time.

With the sessions complete for the day, Bryan and Wolf used the time meet with fans.  That day, Wolf and Bryan had a tour for participants of the 10-Tenths motorsport forum, which has been gracious to allow Team Falken Tire participate. They’ve allowed the team to come on the forum with updates, photos and behind the scenes information. The turnout for this tour was so big that Wolf and Bryan had to split up the group into two parts. While Bryan showed the group the inside of the team trailer, Wolf showed them the 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

After Wolf showed his group the car, the drivers swapped locations and Bryan brought his group out to show them the Porsche. Here, he’s explaining all of the buttons on the steering wheel.

After the tour, Bryan and Wolf sat down with Matt and Jason from the Wheel Men Show. The WMS have been loyal supporters of the team and shared a few laughs with the Falken duo. What happened when the drivers had to answer questions about each other? Listen here (Interview starts at 24:30). 

With the Wheel Men Show interview complete, Bryan met up with ALMS TV to do an interview that should air on YouTube shortly before Baltimore. In the interview, Bryan talked about attempting a three-peat at Baltimore, the rest of the season and the future of Sports Car Racing in America. Follow us on twitter to keep an eye out for when the video is posted.

That afternoon, someone had the idea of giving Bryan and Wolf, known pranksters, silly string. Needless to say, several team members feel victim to the attacks. No one can say Falken Tire doesn’t know how to have fun.

Every race, Lee and Besim apply the wind shield tear offs for the Porsche. Much like a helmet tear off, the clear sheets are applied to the windshield with tabs for easy tear-off during a pit stop for when the windshield becomes dirty and difficult to see out of.

 Race day!

In the final morning warm up, Lee and Alex watched the Porsche’s lap times on the screens as the skies darkened.

Edo, Mo and Mike got the tires ready, prepared for any set up change during the final pre-race session.

Warm-Up complete, Wolf and Bryan stayed in the office once their briefing with the engineers was over to further discuss strategy for the race. 

Despite rain during the autograph session, the fans still came out to get their autographs, posters and swag from Bryan and Wolf. What great fans!

Wolf and Bryan of course had to pose with Falken Girls Randyl (@RandylDawn) and Julie (@JulieMGalindo). Unlike other Spokesmodels, the Falken Girls are trained to represent and educate others about the Falken Tire brand. Have a tire question? They’ll be able to help!

Time for the grid! Julie, Joyce and Randyl stood on the front stretch and watched as the cars pulled into position.

Just in time for the grid, the skies opened and for the first time in two years, it started to rain on the pre-race grid. 

With the presence of rain, every media member on the grid came to Falken Tire to get the team’s scoop on the changing weather conditions, well aware of the capabilities of Falken’s rain tire.

While most fans on the grid kept their distance from the Porsche, this young lady walked right up to the car, lifted the cover and peered in. Team members watched on as she kept checking out the Porsche.

With the minutes until green counting down, Bryan got into the Porsche with the help of Besim, who was there to dry his shoes. To avoid any kind of slipping, it was imperative Bryan’s shoes be dry before racing.

Besim and Bryan did a final check before Bryan went out on track.

The first pit stop of the 17 Porsche. If you look closely, you can see the team removing one of the windshield tear offs.

Driver change for the Porsche. After leading the GT class in the rain, Bryan handed the driving duties over to Wolf. 

During every race event, our friends at the American Le Mans Series bring their VIPs into the pits during the race. Select ALMS teams will give a quick tour and a rundown of the race so far. 

The team and drivers love seeing fans return each ear. This young fan approached the Falken paddock last year wearing a shirt from a competing team. Wolf grabbed him a Falken shirt, and won over a new fan. A few inches taller and supporting a Falken Tire shirt, he returned this year to say hello throughout the weekend.

Race over, the team hurried to pack up the paddock before the storms rolled through again. Alex was all smiles, riding the lift up to the top compartment of the truck.

With cleanup down to a science, the Walker Racing crew worked quickly to get the paddock packed up.

Meanwhile in another area of the paddock, the Falken Tire guys cleaned up their base for the weekend, where all of the tires were stored and mounted.

For official photos from Falken Tire from Road America go here

Fan Photos

The team had a big turnout of fans this year, as Road America always hosts excellent crowds. Here are the fan photos sent in through twitter and 10-Tenths Motorsport Forum.

Watching from home, Brik (@79Brik) cheered Falken on, sporting his Falken swag.

Always supporting us long distance, Peter (@BaronVonClutch) cheered as Bryan reeled in the Viper while both raced on rain tires, just laps before the track dried.

Chris (@chrisjmon) captured this moment of Bryan making the most of the wet line. 

Kevan from 10-Tenths was in Bryan’s tour group and grabbed this shot as Bryan explained the inside of the Porsche. 

Kevin (@KevinB1981) caught the team early in the morning as the Walker Racing crew unloaded the car.

Watching from the UK, Kim (@kimbo7887) put together a quick slideshow of the Falken Tire pit stop. Looks great!

Kara (@Kmallen17) stopped by during the autograph session to pick up her Falken Tire swag and meet the drivers.

Always one of our die hards (and maybe a diehard Wisconsin fan?) Erin (@lainey_vb131) tweeted a quick picture for us as she waited at the airport at the end of the weekend. 

 Although he couldn’t be at the race in person, Marco (@mar_B_ond) took some laps on Forza 4 and even recreated Bryan’s pass on the Viper for the lead. 

Kyle, another member of 10-Tenths, sent in this photo, which turned out great, despite a camera malfunction. 

Carrie (@monkeygirl79) stopped by to get a photo with Bryan before the event. Come to think of it, she’s our only Falken Fanatic to send in a photo with the drivers from Road America. What gives, fans?

From scavenger hunt winner Mark (@MZimmerman914), the Porsche pulling away from the BMW.

Trisha (@ninja250girl) got artistic, taking a picture of the Porsche’s rear wing, with the distinguishable Falken logo.

Lilpe (@oGLilpe) stopped by the team garage in the final minutes before the warm up session. 

Ben (@thebenwedge) sent us this photo, saying it was his favorite of the Porsche.

The guys at Track Time Audio (@tracktimeaudio) took a photo that shows the Porsche’s vegetarian side.

 Although they’ve never been to an ALMS event, Zach and Jody (@zachandjody) watched from home and cheered on the Falken Porsche as Bryan kept clear of an early race spin.


  1. The young fan a few inches taller is named Nick. He was treated so nice by the team last year and became an instant fan, as shown by his frequent rain dances throughout Sunday.

  2. If you lived in Canada like Halifax. (still gets really snowy) What type of tires would you get? I am trying to decide on a type.

  3. Hi William, we recommend visiting and seeing what kind of tires are offered for what kind of conditions. Thanks!