Today we want to take a closer look at the famous Falken tire livery and the brand itself. It does not come to a surprise that you already have heard of this tyre brand or have seen their famous car livery. You may have come across with the livery while playing videogames such as Gran Turismo or Need For Speed. Or you may have seen it on the television while watching American Le Mans series. We think it is particularly interesting and impressive to see that the livery became so fast internationally recognized.
In this blog, we want to explain to you what this livery makes so special. How did it earn its reputation? Who is Falken? And some famous appearances of the Falken livery. Additionally we will highlight the coolest Falken Tire car liveries for you. Feel free to tell us what is your favourite!
Who and what is Falken Tire?
In German, ‘Falken’, means falcon. The falcon is a predatorial, powerful and valiant bird which symbolizes the uncompromising performance of the tyres. We think the name is very thoughtful and carefully chosen, regarding it’s world’s leading reputation.
Sumito Rubber Industries founded Falken Tire in 1983, so it is a respective young company. Sumito Rubber industries is a big player within the Japanese Tire Industry. By creating this brand, their main focus was providing ultra-high performances to make it demanding in the US and European market. Not so many years later, Falken Tire was introduced and brought to the European market.
The brand opened in 1988 their first European office in Offenbach, a city in Germany. After that, it took 2 decades to make the progression needed to take the next step in becoming one of the world’s leading tyre companies. The tire brand launched Falken Tire Europe and started immediately with commencing distribution. Their main stay was offering a wide range of car and truck tyres suitable for different conditions. However their rapid rise to the top is not due to their provision of original equipment, but rather to the race-winning track tires which were the result of their intense commitment in motorsports.
Nowadays Falken Tire has its own Falken Motorsports Team which is represented in a variety of events and race classes. A few examples are: the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race at Nürburgring, SP9 Class of the VLN Endurance Championships, Formula Drift Championship Series and the American Le Mans series.
The iconic Falken livery
The involvement in motorsport became a key component in Falken Tire’s marketing strategy. The tire brand started participating in the American Le Mans Series in 2008, the team vehicles bore the Corporation’s unique livery. The teal front end leads into a bold, blue rear, with Falken’s signature scallops on the doors and roof of the car. We think this whole combination gives that sleek, sexy and unique livery which is internationally recognized. A noteworthy detail about this livery, is that the whole design is painted instead of wrapped. Therefor it makes it even more special in our opinion. Here is a look at the complex process of the paintjob which is literally executed from scratch.
The paint job
It all starts from a blanc car which is directly shipped from the factory and arrives at a team in plain colours. Just look closely, you will notice that the shipping tag is still on the car. However, in order to paint the car, the whole bodywork must be undone of its factory gloss first. The whole car will be sanded down, so that new paint will stick and be smooth.
The next step consists of removing body parts and covering areas that won’t be painted. However not all covering happens at the same time, since different parts of the car get painted different times. Therefore taping up the car several times takes at least 4 hours in total. As you can see from the Falken Tire livery, the first applied layer of paint is the teal colour. Once this teal colour is dried up, the taping process repeats to protect some portions of the car from the blue layer of paint.
Now the most crucial part comes, the typical Falken Tire scallops. This part needs to be taken with such care and consistency that the painter is provided with specific guidelines by the Falken Tire Corporation. As you notice, the scallops run even and parallel across the roof and doors. This can only be ensured by placing back the door panels on the Porsche. When spraying the blue paint, a special vinyl mask is used in order to create Falken Tire’s signature. Due to the car’s low ride height (50mm), the rocker panels below the doors suffer usual wear and tear, and need to be repainted often. Once all the colours are on the car, the painter applies a clear coat to encapsulate the colour and add shine. After around an hour of drying, a new Falken tyre livery is born.
Falken Tire livery Cars
We have highlighted some awesome Falken Tire livery cars. As a petrolhead, we think you will love this, so keep reading!
Nissan Skyline GTR R34
Back in 2001, Falken Tire created a monster of a Skyline GTR R34, a vehicle which was destined to defy the Nürburgring. It is quite particular that a Japanese racing team fielded a Japanese car on the ‘German Autobahn’. The most probable explanation is that Falken Tire didn’t want to face any surprises. The team needed a car which they were accustomed with and thus could be ready for anything. The GTR R34 probably burned through an entire Japanese forest full of rubber trees before entering the endurance challenge. The Falken team practiced every dangerous chicane, tuned each bolt on the car, and therefore knew the shocking feeling of plowing into an immovable redwood. In 2002 the Falken Tire team powered through all 24 hours flawlessly and usurped the 5th place overall with their GTR R34.
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
The Falken Porsche No. 17 is probably the most internationally recognized model, since it nailed some nice victories in the American Le Mans series. Falken Porsche appeared for the first time in 2009 and began its full season at the Petit Le Mans series in 2010. Not much later, at the 2013 running, the Falken Tire team created one of the most surprising sports car racing stories of the year. The team staged a brilliant come-from-behind win and therefore scored the team’s first-ever Petit Le Mans victory. Another big success came right after the next season by stacking up another victory.
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR camo edition
A maybe even more noteworthy edition is the Falken Porsche camouflage. The appearance of an open shark mouth in combination with camouflage grey paint scheme mimics a WWII fighter aircraft. This camouflage livery was the result of a design contest hosted by Falken Tire itself. The design was featured on the Falken Porsche GT3 RSR during the 2013 Petit Le Mans series. When you look at the camouflage and the shark teeth, it gives you the feeling that the car is ready to eat up its competitors. Moreover, it looks like the car is ready to wage war on wheels. Overall we think this design is a very nice addition to the original corporate livery.
BMW M6 GT3
In 2017 Falken Tire lined up not just one, but two racing cars from premium German calibre: the Falken Porsche 911 RSR and by its team-mate the Falken BMW M6 GT3. It was the very first time that the tire manufacturer fielded 2 racing monsters in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. We think that the Nürburgring is probably one of the hardest endurance races held in Germany. They also call it the ‘Green hell’, because of its narrow roads and numerous corners. At the end, the Porsche 911 had to retire and the BMW M6 finished 8th. When it comes to the Falken BMW, we think the livery comes more alive due to its shape and bodywork compared to the Porsche 911.
Ford Mustang GT 5.0
Drifting has a lot of Japanese roots and all dates back to 1970s where the sport of drifting began with driving competitions. Today, drifting is held everywhere around the world and became so popular that it even has the Formula Drift Championship. The opportunity to showcase superior tire performances was of course a thing Falken Tire couldn’t resist. The Ford Mustang GT 5.0 was one of Falken Tire’s entrants for the Formula Drift championship. We think that a Mustang in combination with Falken Tire’s scallop signature gives a bolt and menacing look. Falken Tire stacked up quite some victories in the drifting class, they have won the Formula Drift Championship 4 times and even won the Formula Drift Tire Manufacturers Cup 3 times, quite an achievement so to say!
Other famous appearances
Not only in the direct racing world is Falken Tire well known, but nowadays also in eSports and videogames. The involvement of Falken Tire started in Esports began in 2004 with the introduction of Falken’s Nissan GTR in Gran Turismo 4. Pretty soon after that, the iconic teal and blue livery also appeared in Need For Speed, Project Cars 2 and Forza Horizon.
Another famous appearance of Falken Tire happened in The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift movie back in 2006. Have you ever noticed that there is a scene in Tokyo drift where a Mazda RX7 drifts on a mountain. This Mazda RX7 is styled in Falken Tire’s corporate colours. The tire brand probably spend a lot of cash to make this happen.
Nowadays Falken Tire is also much involved in sponsoring a wide range of sports and teams such as Liverpool FC, the Nürburgring circuit and Red Bull Air Race. The reason to engage in these kind of sponsorships is to increase its profile and strengthen their tire brand. A smart move, we would say!
The car has a Falken livery, so it is allowed in this blog haha! No seriously, enjoy watching the drifter James Deane doing some nice burnouts and powerslides up the Goodwood hillclimb course during the 2017 Festival of Speed! He does this in his brutal Mazda MX-7 with Falken livery.
Do you have any additions or questions about the Falken livery? Let that know under this article in the comments! We are also very curious about your favorite Falken livery!