Event>>alms Falken Porsche Debuts In Long Beach

The green and blue Falken Tire livery may have become synonymous with drift cars in recent times, but for years Falken has also been active in "traditional" auto racing around the world. I'm sure you can recall the Falken Skyline GT-R endurance racer or perhaps the Ford GT that was campaigned in the American Le Mans Series last year. For 2009, Falken is back in ALMS with a new GT2 class Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and this weekend's Long Beach race marked the competition debut for the new entry.

Less than a week after Falken's drift team kicked off their season, the ALMS squad was ready to go for Thursday's practice sessions in Long Beach. The 2009 season will be a test period of sorts for the Falken team, with a total of three races before moving to a full schedule for the 2010 season. For '09 the car will be running at Long Beach, the Petit LeMans in Atlanta, and the ALMS season closer at Laguna Seca in October.

We at Speedhunters are never ones to overlook the aesthetics of racecars, and the Falken Porsche delivers with its blue and green livery set against a set of black 18" BBS wheels white-lettered Falken racing tires. The Porsche is currently the only car on the ALMS grid running Falken tires. 

Here we see the crew doing some last minute preparations to the car before it heads out for Thursday afternoon's practice sessions. The driving duties for the Falken Porsche are handled by Dominic Cicero and Bryan Sellers – two drivers that while fairly young, have a ton of motorsport experience between them.

At long last, the ALMS field took to the track on Thursday afternoon. Here we see the Falken Porsche rolling onto the ALMS circuit for the first time ever.

The sound of the 3.8 liter flat-six was wonderful as the car downshifted for the hairpin at turn 11 – the same corner the Team Falken drift cars slid through the weekend before.

The cars took to the track again late Thursday for a second practice session. Here's the Porsche as it pulls off pit lane near the entrance to the first corner.

And a bit later, at speed through the notorious first corner. After getting a feel for the car and the course, the team was ready for the next day's qualifying session.

On Friday before qualifying begins, we see Dominic spending some time chatting with fans and signing posters. The Falken pit drew a lot of spectators in the ALMS paddock, which was open to racegoers all weekend long.

Falken also brought out a bunch of goodies for fans to win, including a custom-painted guitar similar to the one given out at Formula D last weekend.

Even if you weren't lucky enough to win one of the big prizes, there was plenty of other swag to be found at the Falken booth. How about some foam models or stickers of last year's Ford GT racecar? Hopefully we'll be seeing some new ones for the Porsche later this season!

Meanwhile in the dark confines of the Falken tent, the team prepares the Porsche for Friday afternoon's qualifying action.

Come late afternoon Friday it was qualifying time. The car looked fantastic as it made its way through Long Beach's famous fountain area.

After the end of the session, the car was able to qualify with a 1:22.22 lap time, which put it mid-field in the GT2 class. Nothing incredible, but a solid result considering this was the car's first race event.

Raceday! The Falken umbrella girls came out to support the team and add a bit of eye candy to the their spot in the paddock. This was the ladies' second consecutive weekend in action following the Formula D event.

Dominic and Bryan enjoy some shade from the girls as they sign autographs for the fans lined up at the Falken pit. Would you be this relaxed before the big race if you were a pro racecar driver?

Final preparations are made before the car is moved to the grid for the start of the race.

4:15pm and the green flag drops. The field of ALMS cars turns the normally serene Long Beach waterfront into a 100-minute battle on the streets.

Here we see the car running hard through turn one during the first few laps of the race. Things started off well for the Porsche as it tangled with its GT2 rivals, but trouble was on the horizon. The first setback came when the drivers ran into vibration issues after extended time on the track.

Later in the race, I was photographing the action from the turn seven area when I heard that the Porsche was having issues changing gears. Unfortunatley, the faulty transmission forced the Falken Porsche to retire from the race before the checkered flag fell. Before the car retired it was able to complete 43 laps, which placed it 12th in the GT2 class.

It wasn't the result that the Falken team was hoping for, even though this race was a shakedown of sorts for the new car. As learned by everyone from weekend racers to Formula 1 teams, you can never underestimate the importance of reliability.

We'll be looking forward to see how the car runs during its next ALMS event later in the season.

-Mike Garrett

Falken Tire



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Wut a badass Porache!!!! It would definetely be a late model RauhWelt car...without the graphics and all..if RauhWelt made older models....those Falken girls are probably the hottest models ive seen...not like the ones at HIN.



Great coverage Mike.

I can't wait for more ALMS!


This car looks fantastic.


It's really commendable to see a company so involved in racing. But, is there a point of dilution of the name? The massive number of Falken sponsored green and blue cars makes it look like they will throw sponsor dollars at anyone with a pulse and a drivers license. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? And with everyone curtailing racing participation due to the economy, how can Falken afford to keep expanding? What is the markup on my Falken tires, and why haven't they started paying me to use the tires they sold to me, also?


Much as I love the car, I question the point of running just three races. How do the team expect to learn and get ready for 2010, when their competitors (in terms of tires, drivers and team) are racing 9-10 rounds? Long term, also seems strange to be using one of last year's chassis when Lizard and Farnbacher Loles are running 2009. Surely this will put them behind in 2010, with a 2yr old car?

Anyone know who ran that car in 2008? Cant think of a team who ran a Orange 997 GT3 RSR in 08


So let me get this straight. Your questioning why a longstanding motorsports inspired company like Falken Tire is in motorsports? Maybe they're doing well during this economic downturn? Maybe they're doing their part to support motorsports while other sponsors and their competitors are dropping like flys? Or maybe they're doing it to piss you off?

Try growing up a bit and appreciate those who stick their necks out to support ANY motorsport events. Without sponsors or funding...there is no racing.

Oh, and if you're worried about the markup on your tires, go buy the garbage Korean or Chinese brands.


Falken can probably justify spending that much $$$$$$$ on motorsports because a larger percentage of their revenue comes from motorsport tires and tires sold to fans of motorsport than many other brands.

They sell a lot of Azenis and other sport offerings to people who watch racing.

Their sports line is at the center of their tire lineup, so it probably makes fiscal sense for them to spend more ad money on that.

They'd probably give you tires too if you knew how to drive, had a nice car, asked them to, and signed a contract on it.


Just wanted to nitpick a little bit.. The RSR actually runs a 4.0 liter motor and Dominic's last name is spelled "Cicero." I know.. small details and his last name is kinda hard to spell.



Felixx - No, This 2008 RSR has a 3.8 L motor, not the 4.0L of the 2009 Chasssis.


The Falken (and VICI) car is 2008 chassis. You can tellthe 08 and 09 by the absense of a grille on the hood


Pay me to use your tires (both of you) - Motorsport sponsorship is heavily based on increasing brand awareness and brand recognition. In the Motorsports world (outside of Drift) to name a tyre brand in Motorsports, and you are more likely to get the likes of Michelin, Bridgestone etc. Falken will have done extensive research on the bang for the buck on their return and how this would compare to advertising in print, online, cinema etc. This is the basic principle why Red Bull are in so much motorsport. They know that there brand can get massive exposure off of the back of the racecar.


For example today, I've seen this post, a couple of motorsport forum topics on the Falken Porsche, a Gallery featuring cars including the Falken Porsche, a video of the Falken Porsche and a post on Jalopnik.... At no time did I go out searching for this car.


In this tough climate, its the companies who CAN afford to sponsor this who will benefit long term....well so I've been told.


ALMS - I've seen this view on a forum post last week, but I'd say for a 3 race deal, they are getting lots of exposure.

In terms of testing, well yeah, they could probably race more, but budget might not be available. More successful than the low budget Ford GT programme last year. This should put them in a good position for 2010....better than a team who may have decided not to race. I dont know if they own the car, some cars (such as last years Aston Martin DBR9 are owned by someone, who literally rents it out to the team - personally, I wouldnt do that if I could afford a DBR9....)


All in, I think its good that Falken are expanding into other motorsport. ALMS is a tough nut to crack, everyone wants Michelin's. BMW are on Dunlop, but I read today that the other Dunlop GT2 runners dont get the same sticky stuff, so its very competitive out there, as Hankook found out very quickly last year.


hi, i have a question: why all of gp cars have yellow headlights? it looks cool but what is the reason?

(sorry for my english)


GT cars have yellow headlamps so you can tell it is a GT1 or 2 car from a distance. More importantly, LMP cars have white lights,,,which GT drivers need to keep an eye out for due to the difference in speed.


thanks for the quick reply =)


@ Jackass, since that's how _you_ identify yourself.

You missed the second sentence, and the point"is there a point of dilution of the name?".


The saying used to be "First on Sunday, sold on Monday.".

But Falken has placed themselves as the perpetual "also ran". Instead of focusing on one or two venues, and excelling, they throw money in all directions, with a half hearted effort everywhere. They are the also ran at everything.


But in today's society, they reward all the little kids for showing up. No one keeps score, and no one discusses who won. Is motorsports the new T-Ball? That's the mentality that Jackass is presenting!


Watching the race on TV I remember the drivers stating to reporters, the vibration was so bad they couldn't even see the braking points anymore. They were seeing double! Sucky. I'm really happy to see Falken performing in different area's of motorsport and I wish them the best of luck.


Great Shots - We were there - but your coverage helped cover some of the action that we missed ...

If your readers are interested in learning more about Dominic Cicero:

Here is a link to an interview we did with him :

He has an amazing comeback story in Motorsports -


Look forward to more of your coverage in ALMS

Thanks again

Road Racers Podcast


Just to clarify a couple of things i do know after talking to the Falken guys at Long Beach:

It is a 4.0L upgraded from the original 3.8L that came in the car.

Falken owns the car.

Falken is focusing on developing the tire/chassis combination this year to come out in 2010 to be as competitive as possible.


Andy, no, the Falken RSR is an 08 model, but does have the updated 09 4 liter motor. I just double checked 8]


Team Falken had the sharpest looking car on the track with the hotest drivers! I am excited to watch this team develop.


Mike, thanks for the feature on this car. What a sweet RSR.