Falken Tire to retire from Tudor United SportsCar Championship
Falken Tire Corp. is concluding its eight-year run in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC) at the close of the 2015 season.
While Falken is exiting the series starting next year, the company will continue to expand its support of multi-terrain grassroots motorsports programs, a strategy announced earlier this year.
“While we’re concluding what’s been a very valuable and rewarding relationship with IMSA and TUSCC after this season, we look forward to following – and cheering on – the continued growth of American sports car racing under the expert guidance of IMSA President Scott Atherton and his entire accomplished team,” says Richard Smallwood, CEO and president of Falken Tire.
Smallwood also thanked Porsche Motorsport North America for their strategic and technical support. “Competing in a Porsche is a dream for many and reality for only a lucky few. It’s been a privilege for our Falken Tire team and crew to live that dream.”
As the only customer team in North America for the Porsche 911 RSR chassis, Team Falken has occupied a unique place on the starting grid and on numerous podiums, including two consecutive first-place class victories in the grueling 2014 and 2013 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“We feel extremely fortunate to have worked within the IMSA and ALMS community,” says Rick Brennan, executive director of marketing for Falken Tire. “Our special thanks go to everyone there, from series staff to race weekend volunteers. We’ve seen first-hand the level of passion and tireless commitment that everyone involved brings to the office and to the track each and every day and we will definitely miss being part of that family.”
Brennan also expressed the company’s deep appreciation to Team Falken manager Derrick Walker and crew members. “Our five top podium finishes will always be among the most memorable chapters of the Falken Tire history book and none would have been possible without Derrick and his team’s incredible expertise and talent. Walker Racing hasn’t just been a trusted partner but an invaluable advisor to our high-performance tire development and test program.”
The drivers of the No. 17 car, Bryan Sellers and Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler, have also been instrumental in the program’s success, the company says.
“I’ve spent many hours watching Bryan and Wolf make racing look effortless, even when weather conditions could not have been worse,” says Brennan. “Both really embody the spirit of racing. They’re not only mentally and physically tough competitors – as evidenced by their back-to-back Petit Le Mans wins – but they have that uncanny connection with the race car that only top athletes bring to the table. We’re extremely grateful for their passion and contributions.”
While Falken is re-prioritizing its North American sports car racing investments, the brand will continue to be represented in select European and Asian market programs.