The Team Falken Porsche 911 RSR, driven by stablemates Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers, secured a top four finish in the highly competitive GTLM Class at last weekend’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Through tough practice sessions where the entire field was within two-tenths of each other in qualifying, the Team Falken crew continuously dialed in the car and adjusted settings, resulting in a 10th place qualification. Upon the start of the race, Henzler was behind the wheel and aggressively moved up in position. “In the beginning of the race, I got stuck behind one car, but once past him, I immediately did better lap times and closed the gap to the leading group,” said Henzler.
Sellers took over at the midway point and also began to reel in the competition. However, with 20 minutes left in the race, Sellers reported contact on the right side from another GTLM competitor and the hit was significant enough to cause a misalignment of the suspension.
Nevertheless, Sellers chose to remain on course and though steering proved difficult throughout the tight, 11-turn, 2.238-mile “road course jewel,” he continued to push for position while compensating for the loss in alignment.
“Finishing fourth is the right direction for us,” Henzler added. “After Sebring and Long Beach, we learned a lot about the tires and had the right configuration here. With the tires up to temperature, we could do consistent lap times.”
“We learned a lot from the weekend, with great longevity over the stint and battled back towards the ends of the runs to be competitive against the other cars,” noted Sellers. “We gained a lot and got a decent result for Falken, and will continue to progress toward earning our first podium of the season.”
The team ended up finishing fifth overall in GTLM, but with a sanctioning body penalty issued to another GTLM competitor, Team Falken was rewarded with a P4 finish. The Porsche 911 RSR was pushed to the maximum, aided by Falken’s AZENIS RT Slicks, which provided consistent cornering and handling depth.
“The race at Laguna Seca is a great event and one of the more challenging tracks on the TUDOR schedule,” noted Derrick Walker. “The fans came out to watch the Falken Team work hard to bring our Porsche 991 home to a well-deserved 4th place. It was a great event, and as always, a great team effort.”
The next race for Team Falken in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship tour takes place June 27-29 on the 3.5-mile road course at Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. The race will run for 6 hours.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.