Team Falken Tire Defeats the Odds for Best Finish of Season at Mosport
Today at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Team Falken Tire battled the odds to take home the first top five finish of the season at Round 5 of the American Le Mans Series. The GT team struggled all weekend to dial in on the ideal car and tire balance. Unbeknownst to many, there were bigger problems for the GT team behind the scenes than just balance. At Round 4 at Lime Rock Park, the team was eager to test a new tire design, created by new manufacturing methods. However, a problem in production negatively impacted the team's weekend, resulting in an eighth place finish. With an average of 20-30 days for a turn around to receive new tires, the team headed into this weekend's event cautiously, and without the more recently developed tire they hoped to have.
Each day of testing, practice and qualifying at Canadian Tire Motorsport park showed slight improvement, but the team still found themselves lacking in overall pace. A small glimmer of hope came on race day morning when rain clouds hovered over Mosport. Known in the motorsports world for the superiority of their rain tire, the drivers and crew, placed second in the wet morning warm up after only running four of the eight laps.
Heading to the race session, team members watched cautiously as the #17 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR started from eighth position in the GT class. After only eight laps, Porsche Factory driver Wolf Henzler charged his way up to sixth position. By lap 31, the German worked his way up to fourth position. Hope started to rise as the Porsche continued to climb the charts. "We had a good strategy and were able to stay close during the race," said Henzler. "We made up positions when we came into the pits for tires and fuel. The guys were really fast with those pit stops." With one hour left on the clock, Henzler handed the wheel to American racer Bryan Sellers. Within just minutes, Sellers gained two spots, and was able to hold consistent lap times to the cars ahead of him. Confidently working his way through the field, he was able to race the Porsche in fourth. A slight wiggle in turn one allowed another GT car to pass by, followed by a full course yellow.