Motorsport News - US
Bryan Sellers Sees Highs and Lows of Lime Rock ALMS
9th July 2012
Factory Driver Runs Second As Problem Ends Challenge for Lead
Bryan Sellers and Team Falken Tire worked all weekend to fine-tune the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche GT3 RSR for the wickedly quick Lime Rock Park racetrack in preparation for the July 7 American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix. With over two-months since the last American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrn (ALMS) race, the team had a new tire and further refinement to Porsche's venerable 911 racer for the Braselton, Ga.-resident and teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany) to learn. It all began to come together in the two-hour, 45-minute race itself, when Sellers found his rhythm on the tricky 1.474-mile, seven-turn circuit eventually moving to second in GT class 30-minutes into the race. His challenge for the lead lasted approximately ten-minutes before having to make an emergency stop to replace a left-rear tire. The effort would finish seventh at the end of a day where Sellers saw the highs and lows that accompany professional sports.
The No. 17 struggled through practice and qualifying during the lead-in to the Lakeville, Conn.-race. Sellers would only qualify eighth but started sixth when two competitors were put to the back of the field. It looked grim until Sellers took the green flag in the fourth-round of the ALMS season and began to make up spots. 15-minutes into the event the first caution of the race flew and most of the GT entries stopped for fuel and tires. Team Falken Tire opted to keep the former open-wheel racing champion on-track. The move jumped Sellers to second in class. The Ohio-native held the position until he began to feel an odd vibration. Shortly after, Sellers again reported the vibration and the crew called him to pit lane. Midway through the lap the left-rear tire pressure fell quickly as a result of accelerated shoulder wear due to the load of the fast and predominately right-hand turn course. Sellers nursed the Porsche in without further damage to the car but would fall to tenth-place in the running order, one lap down.
The two-time ALMS class-winner would move back up to seventh during the second part of his one-hour and 30-minute stint. With 1:11 remaining in the race, the Falken factory test driver again felt and reported a vibration in the car. He pitted and turned the blue and turquoise machine over to Henzler who drove the remainder of the race. Henzler would stop once more for tires only and would take the checkered-flag in seventh.
Sellers and Team Falken Tire will look for redemption at the ALMS' only stop in Canada in two weeks. The Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport will take-place at the newly renamed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 22. Learn more at ALMS.com.
On the Lime Rock ALMS weekend: "In the sessions leading-up to the race we really struggled to come to grips with the balance of the Team Falken Tire Porsche. The problems were a huge surprise to all of us. We had been so successful in testing during the ten weeks off; struggling here was the last thing we expected. All the guys dug deep and ran the car through a lot of changes. In the end, we had a racecar that wasn't extremely fast over one lap but was pretty good over the long haul.
I think we could have finished in a top-five position. We didn't have enough outright pace for the leaders but we had enough to keep a lot of cars behind us once we were near the front. The decision to stay out while the other leaders pitted was a different strategy call than we would have usually made but it seemed to work well. It looks like it would have paid dividends in the end."
On the vibration: "I had a slight vibration in the left rear. It was different from a tire that had pick-up or a tire that had slung a wheel weight so I was a little suspect as to what the actual problem was. Shortly after the vibration, the problem showed itself. It was really disappointing but we'll go back, figure it out and come to Mosport ready to race another day."
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