Pickett Racing embarks on Championship title defense
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing is set to unofficially kick off the 2013 American Le Mans Series season this week at the Series’ annual Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway.
The reigning P1 Champions will once again be counting on one of the strongest driver combinations with current P1 Driver Champions Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr continuing on with the team this year in what will be the final ALMS season ahead of next year’s merger with GRAND-AM.
The 2013 campaign will be the fourth full time one for Graf with Pickett Racing, while Luhr will be entering his third with the team. As teammates, the German duo has finished on the podium 16 times, including 10 wins, in 19 starts since they teamed up for the first time in 2010.
Additionally, Frenchman Romain Dumas will accompany Graf and Luhr for both the 12 Hours of Sebring and the season ending Petit Le Mans in October. Dumas first raced for the team as a replacement to Greg Pickett at Mosport in 2010 before returning for one race in 2011 as well as the season finale last year at Road Atlanta.
Also returning are longtime tire partner Michelin, who has been with the team since their return in the ALMS in 2009, as well as Honda Performance Development.
After scoring six wins in 2012, including a record five overall wins in a row, aboard its HPD ARX-03a, Pickett Racing will be armed with HPD’s upgraded ARX-03c package for its P1 prototype as they look to defend their title against long time rivals Dyson Racing as well as newcomers Rebellion Racing.
The HPD ARX-03c upgrades include wider Michelin front tires, new front-suspension geometry and bodywork.
While the look of the Muscle Milk car will be slightly different with the new bodywork, it will continue to feature its traditional white, black and red livery, with a slight ‘shiny’ twist which will be unveiled when the team takes to the track this week.
The ALMS Winter Test takes place February 7 and 8 at Sebring International Raceway. Media and fans can follow the team via their Twitter account at @MuscleMilkRace and Facebook at www.facebook.com/PickettRacing.
The 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida takes place March 16.
Greg Pickett – Team Owner
“We had a great season last year and we’d like nothing more than to repeat in what will be the final season of the American Le Mans Series as we know it. However, defending is probably more difficult than winning your first championship! We know our friends at Dyson Racing will also come out strong and we now have another very competitive team in the mix with Rebellion Racing coming in for the season. It won’t be easy, but we’re ready to face the challenge.
“I’m very excited to have both Klaus (Graf) and Lucas (Lucas) back in our car. They are one of the strongest driver combinations in the sports car world right now and they definitely are an asset to Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. Once again, we will also have Romain (Dumas) with us, this time for both Sebring and Petit Le Mans. It’s always a great pleasure to have him on the team. Romain, Klaus and Lucas make for quite the driver lineup.
“On top of that, we’re continuing with our tire partner Michelin, who has been a huge part of our success and the same goes for Honda Performance Development. We’ll be racing their upgraded HPD ARX-03c package this season and we’ve been working closely with them to continuously improve our Muscle Milk car. We’re looking forward to a great season and we can’t wait for it to get underway.”
Klaus Graf – driver #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c
“I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of our Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c.
“Winning our first ALMS Championship was very special last year but to try and defend this year might be an even bigger challenge. Fortunately, we like challenges! Even if we are going into the last season of the ALMS in its original form we will be facing even harder competition.
“I’m very happy to return with the same driver line up. Lucas and I proved over the years that we are a great fit in and out of the racecar and we forged a very close working relationship with the highest respect for each other. Besides, we have a lot of fun!
“We feel privileged to have Romain (Dumas) back in our car. He’s so easy to fit into the team and his level of performance is always very high. Together with the commitment from Greg Pickett and the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team to further improve the car and the team, we should have another great package for the 12 hours of Sebring race as well as the entire ALMS season.
“We worked very closely with our partners HPD, Wirth Research and Michelin to upgrade and improve the car. So the Winter Test will provide us with some track time to further evaluate and fine tune our new set up with the upgrades to the front and aero package. Sebring is the perfect proving ground for it and I love coming to this place as the Sebring track still provides a very pure form of racing.”
Lucas Luhr – driver #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c
“First I have to say I’m very happy to come back and race the last year in the ALMS with a P1 car which is for me still the best category.
“Driving again with Klaus (Graf) is just great and to have Romain (Dumas) with us for the longer races is perfect.
“I look forward to the new competition with Rebellion Racing coming in this season. It certainly will not be easy but that is why we go racing.
“It has been a long off season and to do the Winter Test is very important because we still have some work to do with our HPD ARX-03c and Sebring is the perfect track for this.
“I also want to thank Greg and Penny and the whole Pickett family for having me back on the team. I look forward to the new season.”
Romain Dumas – driver #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c
“I’m very happy to join Muscle Milk Pickett Racing again for the two biggest events of the American Le Mans Series. I know how important the 12 Hours of Sebring are to clinch the title, so my first target will be to help the team start off the 2013 season the right way.
“There will be a lot of serious competitors, including Audi Sport, who I know very well. At Sebring, everything can happen and I remember my win in 2008 with the Porsche RS Spyder and I wouldn’t mind doing it again, especially with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, a team that is excellent in strategy and so quick during the pit stops.
“Petit Le Mans will be another big race. I can’t wait to race again with the team, and with Klaus and Lucas. They are always quick and we always have a lot of fun together.
“I also would like to thank Greg Pickett for giving me this opportunity to drive their Muscle Milk P1 car and Porsche for allowing me to race with the Muscle Milk team.”