Team Falken delivers strong effort at Petit Le Mans
The 10 hour/1,000-mile Petit Le Mans held at Road Atlanta was the 13th running of this popular event and Team Falken was forced to break in a new co-driver. There have been challenges through the season, such as the fire that nearly destroyed the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, and at Road Atlanta, the team did not have the services of Falken team driver Wolf Henzler as he recovers from back surgery.
Falken Team driver Bryan Sellers led the team at Road Atlanta, joined by Porsche junior driver Martin "Raggi" Ragginger. This was the home track for Atlanta native Sellers as he lives less than 10 miles away, and he was extremely familiar with the "elevation changes, blind corners and distinct personality" (as Car & Driver describes it) of this internationally renowned and highly respected track, and helped prep his new teammate.
Team Falken came to Road Atlanta well-prepared, installing a fresh 4.0-liter Porsche Flat Boxer engine on Friday in preparation for Saturday's race, and ran as quickly as 4th in practice. The Porsche qualified 11th out of 17 GT class cars, and during the race, gained two positions from one pit stop, due to the tremendous efforts of the crew. Team Falken eventually finished 10th in class, beating Ford GT, Jaguar, Ferrari and BMW entries in what remained the largest class all season long.
"It's been a great year for Team Falken," said Rod Everett, Falken Team Manager. "We've had some bumps in the road, but overall, things have jelled and we've been getting the correct compounds for our Falken Azenis RT Slicks and dialing in the right settings for the car. The crew and drivers worked well together and grew as a team, and while we were saddened that Wolf Henzler couldn't join us at Road Atlanta, we know he is starting his road to recovery, and will be ready for the 2011 season. 'Raggi,' a superb driver in his own right, joined us for Petit, and was a perfect partner to our team veteran driver, Bryan. We qualified well and were a strong force in the race all day and night long."
"It was great we were able to run the full length of the race," added Mark Richter, Senior Manager, Dealer Marketing, "considering the rain-shortened event last year. Our Porsche was competitive, and our times were respectable. It has been a great season for Falken."
"I can only echo what Mark said," stated Andrew Hoit, Falken Director of Marketing. "We met a lot of people and connected with many retailers, customers and race enthusiasts all over North America, and certainly effectively leveraged the tremendous marketing opportunities afforded Falken Tire through ALMS. We're all competitive and would have preferred a few more positions up the leader board, but this was a fantastic and very rewarding year for Falken."