The motorsports world may be waiting for the "36 Hours of Florida" to return in 2014, but Bryan Sellers has no plans to hang around talking about it. Always ahead of the curve in preparation, the Braselton, GA. resident plans to run his own "Florida 36" and, in fact, plans to go a few hours further by opening his season with the 26-hours and 30-minutes of Daytona International Speedway (DIS), Jan. 25-27.
"I love this next couple of months! Daytona and Sebring are two of my favorite events. I think the preparation for these events starts as soon as they are over the year before," stated an anxious Sellers. "Because they are the biggest events on our schedule, you want to perform and so much of your focus and drive comes from these two events."
Sellers returns to the wheel of the No. 46 Trim-Tex Drywall Products/Fall-Line BMW M3 with Fall-Line Motorsports at the celebrated Daytona Beach, FL facility for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge's (CTSCC) GRAND-AM 200 on Jan. 25. He immediately follows that with his debut in the legendary No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the 51st Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona Rolex Sports Car Series event, January 26-27.
"There is no greater pressure than the pressure you apply to yourself," stated a dedicated Sellers."It is a very special weekend for Brumos. I would be naïve not to recognize that, but I am there to do my job. I have to keep all of the other outside influences where they belong."
The Team Falken Tire factory driver then travels to central Florida's Sebring International Raceway (SIR) for multiple days of testing at the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón "Winter Test", Feb. 7-8. In all, it will be a good dress rehearsal for when the GRAND-AM and ALMS merge next season.
The merger - known in the sport as "The Future" - will see the '14 season open with the Rolex 24 At Daytona followed by the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. This will reintroduce the once infamous back-to-back endurance races into the "36 Hours of Florida."
Prior to that, there is a lot of work to do. Sellers opens his 2013 season officially with the two-hour and 30-minute CTSCC race for Fall-Line with co-driver Mark Boden (Winnetka, IL). The pair earned three GS-class podium-finishes for the Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based operation in 2012 including a third-place at Daytona. The BMW was solid in testing during "The Road Before the Rolex 24", January 4-6 but much work remains to get the V8-powered sedan back to the same result it had last January. The combined GS/ST class race takes the green flag at 1:45 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday, Jan. 25.
"I guarantee the same type of race we've seen the last couple of years. I have never been involved in a CTSCC race that wasn't a nail biter," Sellers contemplated. "They are great races and I really enjoy them."
Sellers will then turn his full-attention to winning his first Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 3.56-mile, 12-turn speedway road course has been good to the former open-wheel racing champion in the past with a third in GT class as lead driver for The Racers Group (TRG) in 2007 and a second in 2011 with Paul Miller Racing. However, the top-step of the podium at Daytona has eluded him.
"It is impossible to predict the chances of a Rolex win," stated Sellers. "There is so much that goes into the race. I have led the race by multiple laps and ended-up not winning and I have been laps down and been able to drive back to a podium. I do know that Brumos is a great team and have put all of their resources into winning this race. That is a good start! In the CTSCC race last year we had a great car but not one that was quite good enough to win. I hope this year is different and we have the car to take the first race win of the season. Fall-Line Motorsports has worked very hard in the offseason to try and maximize our potential and I think we will have a great shot."
2013 could prove to be the perfect combination however as Sellers joins the most celebrated team in Daytona sports car racing history; Brumos Racing. The now mythical white Porsche with the red and blue stripes bearing the No. 59 won the GT class pole position and finished third here last season. Under the guidance of now-retired driving icon Hurley Haywood, the Jacksonville, FL team brings 2011 GRAND-AM GT Champions Andrew Davis (USA) and Leh Keen (USA) together with Sellers for the twice-around-the-clock event. Also in the driver rotation will be Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb (Germany) who will be making his third Rolex 24 start for Brumos.
"I am very happy to drive with Andrew, Leh and Marc," Sellers added. "I have been friends with all of them for quite some time and respect very much what they have all accomplished in their careers. With a group such as the one we have you go in with a lot of confidence."
Leaving Daytona, Sellers travels to the third leg of his tour with the ALMS test in the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The multi-day test will give the team and Falken time to prepare for the 61st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Mar. 16. Sellers will share the Porsche with Wolf Henzler (Germany) with whom he has driven to three ALMS GT class wins. A third driver will be announced at a later date.
"It's difficult to bounce between the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the 911 GT3 RSR and the BMW M3, but in ways it is also beneficial," Sellers commented. "The more you can drive the better you are. The most difficult transition is into the Brumos Porsche. That is mostly because the Cup car is the one I drive the least of all three."
All 24 hours of the Rolex 24 can be seen live on SPEED on air and online. Coverage begins with a 30-minute pre-race show at 3 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Jan. 26. SPEED will continue live from the 3:30 p.m. green flag until 11 p.m. when SPEED.com will begin a live stream through the nighttime hours. SPEED will begin airing the race again on television at 9 a.m. through to the checkered flag plus a 30-minute post-race broadcast. Broadcast dates and times for the CTSCC event are yet to be finalized.
Timing and scoring of all sessions can be found at the Grand-Am website beginning with the first CTSCC practice on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 1:30 p.m. The first Rolex practice is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24.
The West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner will be on hand for the event, and will provide insight into the longest day in professional auto racing; the Rolex 24!
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