Muscle Milk Team CytoSport has made such an impression on Porsche that when a new driver was required to replace the injured Greg Pickett for the upcoming rounds of the American Le Mans Series, the German automobile manufacturer offered them two of their big guns.
Two-time LMP2 champions and current 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas will join Muscle Milk Team CytoSport for the upcoming rounds of the ALMS at Road America and Mosport International Raceway respectively.
The duo will step in for Muscle Milk’s Greg Pickett who was injured in a testing crash recently at Mid-Ohio, suffering back and rib injuries, which have forced him out of the Muscle Milk car.
Both Bernhard and Dumas won the ALMS LMP2 championship aboard the Porsche RS Spyder in 2007 and 2008. Additionally, in 2007, both drivers finished all 12 races on the podium, capturing eight class victories including six overall victories over the faster LMP1 cars. While on loan to Audi for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the duo formed part of the winning team along with Mike Rockenfeller.
Entering the American Le Mans Series – powered by eStar race at Road America sitting in second place in the points standings, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport will be counting on Bernhard’s expertise aboard the Porsche RS Spyder to help them close the gap to Highcroft Racing who have taken a 23-point lead following the team’s absence at Mid-Ohio.
The Muscle Milk squad will also be searching for a tenth podium finish in as many starts since returning to the ALMS in 2009. Last season at Road America the team finished third in-class after starting fourth on the LMP2 grid and serving a one minute and 30 second stop-and-hold penalty.
The team knows that maintaining its streak won’t be an easy task as the Road America layout is better suited to the former ‘P1′ cars but it certainly is up to challenge and more motivated than ever after being forced to watch from the sidelines at Mid-Ohio.
Bernhard and the team’s regular driver Klaus Graf will get to reacquaint themselves with the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course on Friday, August 20, during a promoter test session (3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET), before official practice gets underway on Saturday at 11:15 a.m. ET with a one hour session.
The Muscle Milk drivers will get another hour practice from 3:00 p.m. ET ahead of the 4:40 p.m. ET 20-minute qualifying.
The American Le Mans Series – powered by eStar race at Road America goes green on Sunday, August 22 at 3:05 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on SPEED starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.
What they have to say:
Geoffrey Carter, Team Manager, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport
“We wish Greg a speedy recovery and can’t wait to have him back in the car. Until then, we have been very fortunate for the amazing support from our partners at Porsche.
“Not only have they been instrumental in helping us get back on track, they have given us access to Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas for the next two races.
“These guys have championship pedigree in the Porsche and should make a stellar combination with Klaus.
“It is not every day you get to call on two guys who won this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as your replacement drivers.”
Timo Bernhard, driver (Road America) #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
“I’m thrilled to be joining Muscle Milk Team CytoSport, and it’s great to come back to the ALMS, especially with the RS Spyder, the car that I had so much success with.
“It’s especially nice to be making my return at one of my absolute favorite racetracks, not only in the US, but in the world.
“Road America has all you can ask for as a race car driver. Quick corners, long and short, elevation changes, technical corners and flat out ones. I have good memories of that track since I won there two times in the GT class and two times in LMP2. The best memory though was the overall victory against the LMP1 cars with the Porsche RS Spyder and Team Penske.
“At Road America, the setup is important since it is a challenging racetrack with all the elevations and heavy braking zones. But I’m very confident for the race. Klaus and the entire Muscle Milk Team CytoSport have had great performances this year. And with the Porsche RS Spyder we have the right tool to be successful.”
Klaus Graf, Qualifying Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
“Coming to Road America this year will be very, very emotional and with mixed feelings. I’ll miss my co-pilot Greg (Pickett) a lot, especially since he’s sidelined due to injury.
“Greg has such a passion for the sport and despite our setback at Mid-Ohio he didn’t hesitate one second to continue full steam ahead with our program.
“The guys have done a great job in rebuilding the car and I’m very proud of everyone involved at Muscle Milk Team CytoSport.
“I also want to thank our partner Porsche who jumped in right away and supported us in the best of ways. That fantastic support has led us to the addition of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas for the upcoming races and I couldn’t have asked for better co-drivers. Their performances in the Porsche RS Spyder have been outstanding in the past and together we will try to push as hard as we can to stay in the Championship battle.
“Our Porsche RS Spyder should work really well around the long sweeping corners of Road America and together with our stellar fuel efficiency we should have a very competitive package.
“With all this being very exciting, the most important thing though is ‘Greg, get well soon!'”