Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge stalwarts Fall-Line Motorsports heads into 2016 with prospects of re-entering top-level IMSA competition, although the Mark Boden-owned squad is also exploring other options for the future.
Based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., the team’s 35,000 sq. ft shop houses its expansive club racing efforts, with nearly 20 full-time employees concentrated on its customer programs, which are set to expand next year with additional entries in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup by Yokohama series.
Sportscar365 caught up with team manager Michael Harvey to reflect on the team’s 2015 CTSC season, evaluate the state of the series, and look ahead to 2016 and beyond.
Did the 2015 CTSC season meet your expectations?
“No. [The season] didn’t meet our expectations at all because of the huge swings [in BoP]. It was interesting because there was a lot of discussions that went on between myself, IMSA and BMW.
“Overall, the series was competitive and close, except it wasn’t. You look at the things you need to look out and discover how far out the window certain thing are.
“We won the championship last year but we weren’t the fastest car by a long stretch. We won the championship last year because of other’s mistakes.”
If it was up to you, what would you do to improve the GS class moving forward?
“I have to say that because of the history of where it’s gone, I believe the only direction they could head which will provide confidence for customers is GT4.
“There’s a larger body that’s involved in the balancing of the cars, so there’s more information that’s compiled. So it’s not only from the U.S. but from all over the world.
“It seems like the manufacturers are wanting to build GT4 cars. Don’t come and ask us to build a BMW in GS when BMW are actually building a car that would compete in a GT4 category. That’s going to take companies like ours out of business.
“I really commend IMSA for trying to keep it where you can take a showroom stock car and build it. But I think those days are gone, unfortunately.”
Where does this leave Fall-Line’s involvement in CTSC next year?
“The M3 needed to go to bed. She was tired and worn out. Never say never. We developed that car.
“That’s not to say we couldn’t develop the car further but it would take a significant influx of funding to be able to develop it. And with it being out of production, the next model is clearly the M4, so that’s the direction the series needs to look at.
“Because of what we perceive to be a confusing time, we’re just going to sit back and take a look and see how it develops. I wish [that was not the case] as we’ve been there for the last five years, won two championships.
“But it gives us opportunities to look at new things for the future. That’s exactly what we’re doing.”
That could include an expanded Porsche GT3 Cup program?
“GT3 Cup, obviously that’s a platform that we’ve run successfully this year and want to expand on that next year.
“We tested a new kid and there’s four or five other people I’m talking to about it. But we’re only in the beginning of November and it doesn’t roll off until March so it’s early days.
“Would we also take that to Pirelli World Challenge and run over there? Potentially but I’m not sure I’m in favor of running in the back [class]. But if we had a customer that wanted that, sure.”
How important is it for Fall-Line to offer club racing programs?
“That has been, and will remain to be, the core of our business. We have a lot of clients that don’t have aspirations to go any further than club racing. But we want to be able to provide them, and new clients, with the opportunity of the ladder they can go into pro racing.
“I think what we’ve provided for the customers here is a really sound evaluation of how you can get into driving a car on track and how you can progress through it. In a way, how you take it from there is up to you.
“Trent [Hindman] is a good example. He drove the 997 in club racing for a while, then jumped into the Continental car. People see that goes on and can happen. That’s what Fall-Line is all about.”