Motorsport News - US
Home is Where the Heart, And The Wins, Are For Bryan Sellers
7th August 2012
Defending Mid-Ohio GT-Winning Factory Driver Returns To Native Ohio for ALMS
Home is where the heart is and there is little doubt that Bryan Sellers' heart - and his right foot - will be at his native home track, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, on August 4. As if racing in front of his hometown crowd - Sellers is a native of Centerville, Ohio but now lives in Braselton, Ga. - is not enough inspiration, he and teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany) are the defending GT race winners of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, Round Five of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrn (ALMS). The pair raced to a jaw-dropping victory, Sellers' first in the ALMS, in the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in 2011 adding the special nature of this Lexington, Ohio-track. Home truly is where the heart... and the wins... are!
Sellers, who got his start racing karts and formula cars in the cities around Ohio, is looking to spark the 2012 ALMS season just as it did with last year's victory here on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. When Team Falken Tire last turned a competitive wheel at Mid-Ohio, it was a wet one. Sellers opened the race a year-ago driving a steady stint in a challenging car in dry conditions. However, just as the race neared its final lap and with Henzler now behind the wheel, the skies opened and rain poured down flooding the already wet track. Outfitted with Falken's rain tire, Henzler managed to pass multiple cars and take the checkered flag first in GT class. The paddock stood stunned as Sellers, a Falken Tire factory driver, and Henzler, a Porsche "works" driver put everyone on notice they intended to repeat the performance. Two races later, now on the streets of Baltimore, Sellers did just that. Driving the second stint, the former open-wheel racing champion raced to the front of the grid on a track some said could not be passed on. He then went on to pull away taking the pairing's second ALMS win of the year.
If that kind of performance can be repeated, it will add to the team's most recent ALMS race, a fourth-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). Thus far in 2012, the Bowmanville, ONT., Canada race is the high-water mark for the team but more is expected. Team Falken Tire did a two-day test at Mid-Ohio in May. The test greatly increased the organizations understanding of the Falken racing slick as it works with the 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. That test, combined with Sellers' hometown-hero status, the CTMP performance and last year's victory should buoy spirits at the two-hour, 45-minute race on Saturday afternoon.
ABC will broadcast the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge starting at 2 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, August 4. Live flag-to-flag streaming of the event can be seen on ESPN3 beginning at 12:45 p.m. Multiple in-car cameras, available at www.ALMS.com,will complement race coverage. Live coverage of qualifying in all classes can be found on ESPN3 opening with GTC class at 12:15 p.m. Friday, August 3. Live timing and scoring of all sessions, including qualifying and the race, is offered at www.ALMS.com. Testing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon while official practice begins on Friday morning.
On using recent success to maintain momentum: "It does feel like momentum is on our side. It is time for us to really turn around our season and Mid-Ohio will be a great place to do that. Last year, this race started the Team Falken Tire streak of good races and I hope we are able to do the same this weekend. Then, we need to continue to key off of it for the remainder of the season."
On wet vs. dry conditions: "It's hard to say what we will be like this year in Mid-Ohio in the dry. We are expecting a completely different tire that we have had some success with in testing. If it were to stay dry, hopefully we could show strength in all areas. If it rains we have shown strength. However, every rain condition is different and it is hard to predict how it will turn out. I suspect we would be strong."
On reflecting upon his 2012 Mid-Ohio victory: "Mid-Ohio is my home track. All my family and friends were there last year and more than anything, it was special to be able to share our first ALMS victory with all of them. They were all the people that have supported and followed me through the years and I am glad they were able to be a part of that payoff with me!
I haven't had any more friends ask for tickets than I did in 2011, but the people that came last year seem to be a little more demanding about getting another win. [laughing] It really makes the event a lot more fun when you walk away with a victory!"
On tire testing at Mid-Ohio: "Mid-Ohio is one of the more difficult tracks for tires. That is why we focused two of our eight days of testing there. It is certainly a balance between finding grip and tire strength/longevity. Hopefully, we have played our cards right based on the test. There is always a concern that testing does not translate to a race weekend and what we have developed will not show any speed. However, it is a chance you take in the process. I feel like what we have developed in our most recent test will be a gain and we will show some rejuvenation and compete again with the new Falken tire."
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