Muscle Milk Pickett Racing turns to Honda Performance Development for ALMS assault

- Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr together again in 2012 -

LMP podium: class and overall winners Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr with team owner Greg Pickett
LMP podium: class and overall winners Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr with team owner Greg Pickett

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

Benicia, CA (December 20, 2011) - Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will have plenty to celebrate this holiday season. At the top of the list is the team's multi-year American Le Mans Series LMP1 deal with Honda Performance Development (HPD) to run its HPD ARX-03a in its challenge for the overall Championship.

The deal is part of a multi-faceted, long-term relationship between CytoSport - Greg Pickett's health and nutrition company and the makers of Muscle Milk - and American Honda, that includes Muscle Milk's title sponsorship of the Honda factory motocross team now known as Team Honda Muscle Milk.

Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, who is entering its third full season of competition in the ALMS in 2012, will also be celebrating the continued support of long-time partner Michelin as its tire supplier as well as the return of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr to its driver lineup.

"We're very proud to announce this deal with HPD as we feel confident that their car and engine package along with our tire partner Michelin offer us the best combination to achieve our ultimate goal of 2012, which is to win the LMP1 championship," commented Pickett Racing team owner and CytoSport founder Greg Pickett.

"Additionally, from a company and brand perspective, to begin a relationship with the iconic brand that is Honda, and to be involved in two out of three of its major U.S. motorsports programs is fantastic and I couldn't be more appreciative. These multi-faceted agreements allow us to envision some exciting and unique cross promotional opportunities between Team Honda Muscle Milk motocross team and our ALMS program that will allow us to continue promoting and building our Muscle Milk brand, while giving back to our fans who have shown such great support throughout the years.

"Thanks to Scott Atherton's (ALMS CEO) vision, which embraces change and leading-edge technology, most of the world's foremost performance based automotive companies and brands have chosen ALMS as 'the place to be' and be tested in the heat of competition. It makes perfect sense for our world-class sport and performance brand Muscle Milk, and Honda Performance Development to come together and showcase our bold leadership commitments to innovation, product performance and quality.

"Finally, it goes without saying, I am very much looking forward to having both Klaus (Graf) and Lucas (Luhr) back together again and this time for a full season," continued Pickett. "They've provided us with many happy memories this past season and I can't wait to see what they will achieve aboard our new Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a this upcoming season. Between them and our LMPC drivers Memo Gidley and Mike Guasch, I think we will have a very exciting and competitive year."

"We are really excited to work with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. Having competed against them in the past we are well aware of their strong potential to win on any given race weekend," commented Honda Performance Development vice president Steve Eriksen. "I'm also excited about the cross promotional possibilities offered by Muscle Milk's involvement in both the Honda motocross team and the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing LMP1 program next year. This will help link two examples of Honda racing technology, reinforcing that Honda truly is the 'Power of Dreams'. We look forward to helping the team achieve their dream of winning the ALMS LMP1 championship in the coming year."

The pair of Graf and Luhr finished runner-up in the standings in 2011 with a class-leading four wins and has only one goal in mind for its assault on the 2012 Championship, that of taking home top honors.

Graf, who has finished second in the standings the past two years will be competing in his fifth season with the team in the ALMS as well as his eighth in the sports car series.

"I'm very thrilled about our new LMP1 program for the 2012 ALMS season," expressed Graf. "The Honda Performance Development ARX-03a, powered by HPD's proven 3.4L LM-V8 engine, should be the right package to achieve our goal which is to win the ALMS Championship. The HPD LMP1 prototype is a state of the art LMP1 built with the latest technology and resources. It's a privilege to be able to drive one of these modern LMP1 cars and a great thanks to Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Greg (Pickett) personally for this commitment. Every year, the team gets stronger and stronger and our four race wins last season have proven that.

"I'd like to welcome Lucas back to our team. To have him on board full-time is another important piece of our continued growth and commitment as an organization. Lucas and I are a perfect fit, not only can we put in strong performances together but we also enjoy each others company very much, which makes things a lot easier.

"I also want to say a big thank you to the Muscle Milk brand for the continued support and their increased marketing efforts. The team is really looking forward to start testing for the 2012 season and I can't wait to get in the car," concluded the German.

Luhr, a four-time series champion who sits third overall in all-time wins in the ALMS with 35, echoed his teammates thoughts.

"I'm happy to be back with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and to once again team up with Klaus. It is great to be on board for the full ALMS season. Entering a season with a new car is always something special and I can't wait to be in the car for the first time at the Sebring Winter Test in February.

"I want to say thank you to Klaus, Greg, the entire Pickett family and the Muscle Milk brand for giving me a chance to compete in the ALMS again with a very cool and nice car that is the HPD LMP1 prototype," shared Luhr. "As I got to know Greg and his entire family last year, I was extremely impressed with their commitment and passion about winning. We had a good season last year, especially in terms of wins, but we are going for more in 2012 and I would like nothing more than to win an ALMS title for this team."

The news of Muscle Milk Pickett Racing's ALMS LMP1 program comes on the heels of its announcement that it has also expanded into the LMPC class with an entry for drivers Mike Guasch and Memo Gidley.

Furthermore, Pickett Racing continues its growth and expansion plans with the opening of a Midwest office and shop located at the Mark One Composites facility in Indianapolis, IN. The teams head engineering department, public relations and purchasing will be located at the new expanded workplace.

The remainder of the crew, which includes returning LMP1 crew chief and two-time Mechanic of the year award recipient Mike Seymour, will continue to work out of the Benicia, CA headquarters. As has been the case the last two seasons, the California crew will join the Midwest group during the heart of the season when most races take place in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

The team expects delivery of its HPD ARX-03a in mid-January, and plans to be on track for its first outing with its new HPD prototype at the ALMS Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway February 8 and 9, 2012.

The 2012 American Le Mans Series season gets underway with the 60th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida March 17.