Falken Tire takes ALMS GT win at Baltimore Grand Prix
With strong tire performance, pure driving flair, a flawless pit stop and experience culled from last year’s victory, Team Falken enabled history to repeat itself by once again taking the American Le Mans Series GT class win on the streets of Baltimore.
Despite limited time on the track and light contact with the wall during practice, Team Manager Derrick Walker was able to test Falken’s “new generation” tires and its 2011 Baltimore tires, choosing the latter, which again proved to be appropriate for the occasion.
“We relied on our track record at Baltimore, and the rest was indeed history,” stated a jubilant Kevin Jones, Falken’s ALMS supervisor. “It was a great all-around performance for Falken Tire. Our street circuit tire's performance was outstanding and we were able to run very consistent lap times.
At the start Team Driver Wolf Henzler piloted the Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR through the tight track layout, and navigated through the first lap, first turn accident unscathed. Excellent pit stops kept the teal and blue team in contention and following the last stop, Team Driver Bryan Sellers drove to P1 and maintained his position to the end of the race, holding off the No. 4 Corvette and No.01 Ferrari which were both aggressively challenging to the end.
“We discussed in our engineering meeting about when to pit,” stated Walker. “We kept an eye on the window to see when the earliest we could stop was and finish the race. That was around 37 minutes to the race. When that time came up [during the race] and we looked at where we were and how we were running, we were leading. The decision was to pit before everyone else did, so we brought Wolf in early. The opposition must have been surprised by that, and a lap or so later, they all followed suit, because they knew they were toasted and had to do it real quickly. We had what it took to stay ahead and it worked out great.
“We used the same tires we had last year, and it was again one of Falken's treasures – their ‘Baltimore tire,’” continued Walker. “Initially the tire wasn’t the quickest, but over the long haul, the Azenis RT Slick wore our competition down. That's what every customer wants: a tire that wears down the competition. It was a great event; especially Wolf taking the race to everyone, dodging the bullets like he did last year, and Bryan doing everything he had to do to get it done, just like last year. We used the same playbook and no one should have been surprised by the result.”