Collision ends Team Falken run at Laguna Seca
The superb run Team Falken enjoyed, winning two out of the last three American Le Mans Series races, came to an abrupt halt as a rear end collision with a GTC class car resulted in terminal damage to drivetrain components, forcing the team’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to retire at the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
With the Falken Porsche unable to finish, it caused the team and drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers to drop in the GT Team and Driver standings, respectively. Nevertheless, Team Falken is only one of two teams to win multiple races this year, an important accomplishment given its single-car status.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the most respected road courses in the world, and is also one of the most challenging, with elevation changes and the world famous “Corkscrew” turn. Team Falken engineers maintained that the track was difficult to prepare for and the rapid changes in temperature meant the team was chasing chassis set-up throughout the weekend.
"Getting the right chassis and tire settings was a game of cat and mouse all weekend,” stated Kevin Jones, Falken’s ALMS supervisor. “The temperature swings at Laguna Seca caused drastic changes in track condition, and we found ourselves tested to get the right combination.”
Despite the challenges, Sellers started the race and advanced to seventh in class and was holding his position to the third hour when Henzler got into the Porsche. He was rear-ended roughly 50 minutes later which ended the team’s day.
“You never like to end the weekend with a DNF caused by a car outside of your class, but such is racing sometimes,” declared Nick Fousekis, Falken’s Director of Motorsports Marketing and Events. “Now, our focus is on getting the car repaired, and then prepped and ready during this short turnaround for Petit Le Mans' first day of testing this coming Sunday. Our goal is to end the year on a good note.”
“It is unfortunate to have our race end so quickly by something that is outside of our control,” added Falken Team Manager Derrick Walker. “On a positive note, we learned a number of things at this six-hour event that can translate over to Petit Le Mans next week.” The season finale, the 14th annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, is scheduled for September 28-October 1.