Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has joined forces with Nissan, becoming its official partner team in the United States, as Nissan aims to return to its glory days of sportscar success from the late 80s/early 90s.
The partnership will see the two-time Championship winning team not only be powered by Nissan throughout the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, but also take part in the Japanese manufacturer’s Nismo Global Driver Exchange.
As part of the program, which was launched last year to provide drivers in the Nissan ‘family’ to contest major events across the globe, racers from Nissan’s squad of international talent will compete alongside Muscle Milk’s Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta.
The first driver to join the German duo is Nissan P2 World Endurance Championship regular Alex Brundle who will take part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
It will be the young Brit’s first opportunity to compete in a major US championship event as he looks to follow in the footsteps of his father Martin Brundle who won the famed 24-hour event 26 years ago in 1988.
Brundle previously drove for Oak Racing in 2013 in the FIA World Endurance Championship where he finished second in both the Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM P2 class.
Graf and Luhr’s co-drivers for the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans will be announced at a later time.
Nissan’s return to top-level US sportscar racing comes with an impressive background. The manufacturer contested 121 IMSA events from 1985 to 1992, winning 33 races, taking 36 poles and earning four drivers’ and three manufacturer’s championships. Geoff Brabham won four consecutive IMSA driver’s championships 1988, 89, 90, 91.
In more recent statistics, Nissan-powered LM P2 cars took pole position and race victory at every round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series and the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will be on track January 3 – 5 at Daytona International Raceway with its Nissan-powered ORECA 03 for the annual Roar before the 24 test.
The season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona takes place January 25-26, 2014.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Quotes:
Greg Pickett, Team Owner, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
“We’re extremely pleased to become Nissan’s official partner team and to have them as part of the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing family.
“Nissan are proven race winners throughout the world and together we want to build a strong relationship that will help us continue the success that we’ve both come to enjoy. We’re excited to not only have our prototype be powered by Nissan but to also be involved with them at a deeper level.
“Nissan has developed a great initiative with their Nismo Global Driver Exchange program and have a lot of young talent that we look forward to having join us throughout the season, starting with Alex Brundle at Daytona.
“I’m anxious to see Alex behind the wheel of our Muscle Milk ORECA/Nissan and I’m confident he will fit right in just fine with Klaus (Graf) and Lucas (Luhr).”
Darren Cox, Nissan Global Motorsport Director
“We’re glad to welcome Muscle Milk Pickett Racing to the Nissan family and look forward to having our official drivers learn from such a successful team.
“Greg Pickett and his team has achieved incredible results in recent years and having them as part of the Nismo Global Driver Exchange program will be an outstanding opportunity for our drivers.
“It is also great to again work with Lucas Luhr who won the GT1 World Championship with Nissan with Michael Krumm back in 2011. Lucas and Klaus Graf have enjoyed amazing success in the US in recent years and I’m looking forward to seeing them continue that run with Nissan power in 2014.
“We are also very proud to have brought Nissan back to the forefront of US sportscar racing. Our company has an incredible pedigree dating back to the old IMSA championship and I’m certain Nissan and Nismo will add to that history in the coming years.”
Alex Brundle, driver, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
“I am excited to go over to Daytona and race in the Rolex 24. The chance to fight for overall victory with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Nissan is a fantastic next step in my career.
“I am delighted to be finally getting the chance to compete at an event I have aspired to contest. I would like to say thanks to Darren Cox of Nissan and Pickett Racing for giving me that opportunity”
“Muscle Milk have a tremendous record in American sportscar racing so to have the chance to join such a prestigious American team is excellent. I’m looking forward to making the most of it.
“Klaus and Lucas have driven in the American series for a quite a while now so I can learn quickly from them. I am looking forward to the challenge.
“The Nissan engine was so strong in the WEC last year that in reality there was no other power plant to have, which brings confidence heading into the testing process. The engine produces a lot of torque with impressive reliability evidenced by the performance we enjoyed at Oak Racing in last year where we had two cars running strongly at the finish of the Le Mans 24 hours.”
(Muscle Milk Pickett Racing/Nissan)