Falken Tyre Europe continues its motorsport campaign with the proven Porsche 911 GT3 R racing the Nordschleife once again in 2015. Peter Dumbreck, Wolf Henzler, Alexandre Imperatori and Martin Ragginger will again contend selected races of the VLN Championship along with the legendary ADAC 24 hour race.
Falken Motorsport’s history with the Nürburgring dates back to the 1990s, with drivers such as Dumbreck who has already completed eight Nürburging 24 hour races with the team.
The ADAC 24 hour race remains a highlight of the season, where last year the team took fourth place, its highest finish.
The team will continue to run the reliable Porsche 911 GT3 R that the team has four years of experience with. “Our strength is our team spirit, good tyres, top drivers, a great pit crew, engineers who are on the ball and a proven car,” highlights team manager Sven Schnabl, “we can still deliver a strong result with this car.”
As well as the ADAC 24 hour race, the team will also compete in selected races of the VLN Endurance Championship, all of which are based on the iconic 25km Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit.
You are back with the Falken team. It’s a long time you have driven with this team. That loyalty is rare these days, why has it worked so well for you both?
I’ve been involved with Falken since the programme restarted in 2006 after Falken had taken a small break. I’m a big believer in continuity, the better you know your team, car and tyre the more you will achieve. Of course the drivers have to deliver a good performance but, especially somewhere such as the Nordschleife, it’s better to keep a good working balance together and that is what we have with team manager Sven Schnabl and the drivers
You are in the 997 again. Can it compete against the later generation GT3 cars?
I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed not to be in a 991 this year, especially with new GT3 machines from other manufacturers. However the pragmatic side of me says that if the car isn’t ready then there is no point in rushing it. Also, this is one of the reasons the BOP was introduced so I have confidence that the organisers will level things off accordingly.
You had a good result last year with 4th? Can you better that?
4th was a fantastic result last year. We almost had a completely trouble free race with only one small problem that cost a few minutes. That’s not an easy achievement on the Nordschleife, it can be brutal on the cars plus, when you are overtaking 30-40 cars per lap, contact is always a worry. We are going to need to find some pace to break into the top three but as a tyre manufacturer that has to be our next goal.
What is the appeal of the N24 to you as a driver?
Nürburgring 24 hrs is one of a kind. Of all the big endurance races, I think this is the toughest challenge as a driver. As time has gone on every modern day circuit has put in more safety measures quite rightly, to move with the times and reflect the speed of the cars. By the sheer nature of the Nordschleife there is very little that can be done, to create more run off areas or replace gravel with tarmac. One sizeable mistake leads straight to the barrier and when you add into that mix 180 cars and the most unpredictable weather on the planet you have a pretty tough race on one of the longest circuits in the world!
What other plans have you for 2015?
The VLN and Nürburgring 24hrs is my main programme for the year although I’m looking at other opportunities. Away from motorsport, I have taken up road cycling and racing at a serious level. I now have a deal with Canyon bikes as an brand ambassador but beyond that I compete as a Category 3 rider in Road Races and Criteriums. I feel like I haven’t been this lean and fit for many years, the benefits in both the race car and on the bike are obvious!