Falken to exit Tudor racing series
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (May 14, 2105) — Falken Tire Corp. will end its involvement in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC) at the close of the 2015 season, ending an eight-year run that resulted in five class wins.
Rancho Cucamonga-based Falken, a subsidiary of Japan's Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., said it will instead expand its support of multi-terrain grassroots motorsports programs, including drifting, autocross, road racing, off-road racing and rock crawling.
The company stressed that the Falken brand will continue to compete in select European and Asian market road-racing venues.
“While we're concluding what's been a very valuable and rewarding relationship with IMSA and TUSCC after this season, we look forward to following — and cheering on — the continued growth of American sports car racing under the expert guidance of IMSA President Scott Atherton and his entire accomplished team,” said Falken President and CEO Richard Smallwood.
Falken did not disclose what it has spent on its involvement in the IMSA and TUSCC programs. After starting solely as a tire supplier in 2008, the tire marketer founded its own team in 2009 to carry the Falken colors on various derivatives of the Porsche 911 RSR.
Falken was the only tire brand other than Michelin available in the IMSA/TUSCC GT class for the past three seasons, after Goodyear's Dunlop brand exited the series after the 2012 season.
Mr. Smallwood also thanked Porsche Motorsport North America for its strategic and technical support: “Competing in a Porsche is a dream for many and reality for only a lucky few. It's been a privilege for our Falken Tire team and crew to live that dream.”
Rick Brennan, Falken's executive director of marketing, lauded Walker Racing and team manager Derrick Walker for the team's success, calling Mr. Walker a “trusted partner” and “invaluable adviser” to Falken's high-performance tire development and test program.
Falken Tire's decision dovetails with its consumer marketing and retail strategy — unveiled at the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show — which the company said was designed to build a strong foundation of North American consumer awareness.
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