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Sellers racing on home track in Petit Le Mans

POSTED: September 28, 2011 9:27 p.m.
Scott Rogers/

Team Falken Tire driver Bryan Sellers, left, chats with Fred Snow of Hella, Inc. Wednesday afternoon in the garage area of Road Atlanta. The Braselton resident will close a successful 2011 American Le Mans Series at his home track this weekend.

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BRASELTON — With all his travels around the world as a driver for Porsche in the American Le Mans Series and development driver for Japanese manufacturer Falken Tire, Bryan Sellers is always glad to be back home with his wife Jamie in their adopted home of Braselton. Just in 2011, Sellers, who is originally from Dayton, Ohio, has flown an estimated 100,000 miles with all his ventures and commitments.

However, this week there is no travel for Sellers and his Porsche teammates. Saturday’s Petit Le Mans is right in his own backyard at Road Atlanta in Braselton. Even though his roots are in the midwest, Sellers says he already feels quite at home in the Deep South.

“My attachment to this community is huge, which makes my attachment to the track at Road Atlanta huge,” Sellers said.

With his job, Sellers has hopped around the globe with trips this year to Canada and twice to Japan for his responsibilities with Falken to try and create the optimal racing tire, mixed in with his eight races already completed from coast to coast on the ALMS. When he gets a minute’s rest, it's all about stretching his legs and taking in everything that Northeast Georgia has to offer.

“Living here, I’m able to ride my road bike, go mountain biking or go out on Lake Lanier,” said the 29-year-old Sellers. “Then within an hour we have Atlanta and city life and some of the best restaurants in the world.

“There’s not much you could ask for.”

But this week is all about business for Sellers, who is looking to bring home the win for Porsche with co-drivers Wolf Henzler and Martin Ragginger. Sellers began testing Wednesday for Saturday’s race at Road Atlanta.

Sellers is one of the fastest rising stars on the GT circuit in the American Le Mans and looking for his third win of the season in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at the Petit Le Mans. He’s the only local driver currently in the series with former Corvette driver Johnny O’Connell, from Flowery Branch, currently driving for Cadillac in the Sports Car Club of America. Sellers is part of a 53-car field in Saturday’s race on the 2 1/2-mile track at Petit Le Mans, which makes passing and risk taking in the race difficult.

“It’s just a constant string of cars,” Sellers said.

This year has already been the best for Sellers in American Le Mans with wins at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge on Aug. 6 and again two races and four weeks later at the Baltimore Grand Prix on Sept. 3. With a strong performance at the 10-hour or 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans, his team, currently ranked fifth in GT, has a chance to finish as high as third in this the final race of the season. Porsche, currently ranked second in GT, could potentially carry the car manufacturer’s title.

“Bryan has a lot of potential as a driver and has had a great year,” said Porsche car chief Nico Castellaccio.

Sellers first came to Georgia through working and coaching drivers at Road Atlanta. When he met Jamie, she was working in broadcast relations for American Le Mans, and they have lived in the same town they met since then.

“When we married, we didn’t know exactly where we would end up, but found places we really liked in Braselton,” Sellers said. “It really made sense to stay here.”

His wife now works for ESPN, but Sellers has continued to climb the ranks of the ultra-competitive American Le Mans circuit.

Through his racing, Sellers has found one of the biggest ways he can give back to the sport is by promoting it to potential fans. With the race in his hometown, Sellers took part in a Pre-Petit Le Mans Party this week at The Mall of Georgia with autograph sessions and games for fans to get involved. He also enjoys speaking to the media about the wonderful relationship the local business community has had with the race at Road Atlanta.

“I think it’s important for the racing industry to give back and show appreciation for what the community does,” Sellers said. “Without the fans, we don’t have a job.”

The most climactic moment for Sellers on the track this season came when Henzler passed 11 cars over just a 1 1/2 lap stretch late in the race at Mid-Ohio to jump from eighth in class to first overall and held on for victory.

“That was just such a clutch moment,” Sellers said. “I’m so happy for what he did.”

And with such stellar results comes loftier expectations. Now, Sellers is looking at what they can do to bring home three wins, which is possible with a victory Saturday and a great way to finish the season.

“It’s only natural to have higher expectations,” Sellers said. “If you don’t, you’re probably in the wrong industry.”



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