Bryan Sellers has stood on the Rolex 24 At Daytona podium twice before. In 2012, he opened the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) season with a third-place finish at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). Even with all the past success and experience, the January 4-6 "Road Before the Rolex 24" was a valuable opportunity to shake off the winter cold and rust to prepare for one of sports car racing's most prestigious weekends.
"The 'Roar' is always a great opportunity to prepare yourself prior to the biggest race of the season," stated Sellers. "Although I have done many laps at Daytona, it's always nice to knock the rust off. No matter how short the off-season, you need a chance to get back in the swing of things and this test does that. The test days are so important because it gives you the opportunity to run through setup changes as well as make sure everything is organized for the race. Many things happen at the test days, such as driver change practice, that are very important and quite frequently overlooked. The extra time is very beneficial for a lot of things you wouldn't have time for on the race weekend."
The Braselton, GA resident knows the characteristics of both the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car he will pilot in the 51st Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona for Brumos Racing and the BMW M3 he will drive for Fall-Line Motorsports throughout the 2013 CTSCC season. However, the test allowed the American Falken Tire factory driver a vital opportunity to get to know the organizations and co-drivers he will team with. It also gave him a chance to fine-tune himself back to race shape before the Rolex 24 race weekend, January 24-27.
"It was a very busy weekend," added a tired Sellers. "However, it is actually beneficial at times to run two programs. I have the opportunity to drive much more frequently and keep up on changing track conditions. The hardest part becomes walking fast enough to the other paddock to not be late for a session."
Of his Rolex 24 podiums, both came in Porsche's venerable 911. He captured third in GT class as lead driver for The Racers Group (TRG) in 2007 and finished second in 2011 with Paul Miller Racing on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn speedway road course. The opportunity to compete under the legendary Brumos Racing banner at the track which made the white Porsche with red and blue stripes from nearby Jacksonville a racing icon is a dream come true for Sellers. The ride gives Sellers one of his best opportunities to score his first win at Daytona.
"It's a huge honor to be involved with Brumos Racing and Brumos Porsche! They have been a staple in motorsports for longer than anyone in our sport," Sellers added. "They have so many victories and podiums that you can't help but feel better about your chances at a win. Putting on the Brumos suit for the first time was very surreal but gave me such a great sense of pride."
Brumos is a perennial favorite at Daytona under the guidance of sports car hall of famer Hurley Haywood. Brumos is the 2011 GRAND-AM GT Series champion and finished third in the Rolex 24 in 2012. Sellers, who competed for the lead early in last year's race, joined Brumos regulars Andrew Davis (USA) and Leh Keen (USA) for the test. Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb (Germany) will also join the lineup in the No. 59 for the race. The lineup is considered one of the strongest and most experienced for the venerable German marque. The team's weekend ended early after an engine failure in Saturday's afternoon session.
The former open-wheel racing champion also returns for a second season of competition in the CTSCC with Fall-Line Motorsports. In 2012, Sellers and teammate Mark Boden (Winnetka, Ill.) debuted together at Daytona with a strong run that resulted in a podium-finish. A difficult mid-season took the pairing out of season-long championship contention but they rallied at year's-end to post two podiums in the final two events. That inspired the Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based group to bring the pair back to again challenge for the GS-class title in the No. 46 Fall-Line BMW M3. A new white livery with blue and red accents was unveiled during the open test. The team was a regular in the top-10 of the CTSCC timesheets in each session of the "Roar".
"This was a refresh for everybody at Fall-Line Motorsports," Sellers commented. "We have had good cars here in the past and this was an opportunity to make sure that hasn't changed. We feel like we will have our work cut out for us this season but there is no other team in the CTSCC paddock I would prefer to be with."
The two GRAND-AM rides come in addition to Sellers's racing and development driver role with Team Falken Tire in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (ALMS). Sellers will open the ALMS season in the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at the 61st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 16.
The West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner will be attending the 51st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and will continue to provide coverage of the goings on of the Grand-Am Series as they build up to the new, unified series in 2014.
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