Sweet home domination
Monterey, CA (May 12, 2012) - Muscle Milk Pickett Racing came into its home event at Laguna Seca wanting to prove a point, and they did, in grand fashion.
Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr dominated the six-hour American Le Mans Series event taking the checkered flag three laps ahead of their closest on track competitors and 20 laps ahead of their P1 Dyson Racing rivals, who seemed to struggle with several issues today.
The team based in nearby Benicia, California never had quite the luck they would have wanted at their home track but that changed today as the Muscle Milk P1 team took its second victory of the season aboard its HPD ARX-03a and its first at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course.
The story of the race was a simple one for Graf and Luhr. They took the lead, had a mistake free race and never looked back.
Graf, who was starting on pole position, maintained his lead on the first lap and immediately started building a gap despite caution periods that grouped the field back together.
When Luhr took over in the #6 Muscle Milk car, less than two hours in, he continued to put more and more time between himself and the second place car. So much so that when Graf returned to the cockpit of the HPD machine with just over two hours to go, they had a three lap lead on second place.
With today's performance, the team has taken over the P1 Championship standings by four points. The team also picked up its second Michelin Green X Challenge win of the season.
Top five for Muscle Milk PC team
The Muscle Milk Pickett Racing PC team was hoping for a better result than their fifth place finish, but they were nonetheless satisfied with their performance as all three drivers had flawless stints and ran competitively.
Mike Guasch took the lead early on, but had fallen to eighth by the time he entered pit lane to switch places with Archie Hamilton, who was making his ALMS debut this weekend.
The young Hamilton was impressive in his first stint. After taking the reigns of the #5 Muscle Milk / Molecule car in fourth place, the Brit took his PC machine to second place but had been relegated to fourth when Memo Gidley took his turn aboard the Oreca FLM09.
While the team was putting in a strong performance and had a podium finish in sight, they were unfortunate with the yellow flags and wave-arounds as they ended up losing a lap that ultimately cost them what could have been a podium finish.
Pickett Racing will be back on track for Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series at the beginning of July at Lime Rock Park.
Muscle Milk Quotes
Klaus Graf, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a "The Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a was great! While there's always stuff we'd like to improve on any racecar, we certainly had a very good handle on the car here. We did a lot of work in each session and we used them well. I think the key was that it was just Lucas and I in the car. There are not a lot of practice sessions here so to fit a third driver in can be complicated sometimes.
"This track is really difficult in terms of set up as it changes a lot but the HPD cars always seem to do well at Laguna. They've won races here in the past.
"We've been wanting to win this race for a long time and we finally have the right car with our HPD P1 prototype and our awesome Michelin tires to do so.
"It's our home race, we are just two hours away from here close to San Francisco, so it's an awesome day for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing."
Lucas Luhr, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a "We had a really good race and we now have two wins, both in California, in front of the home crowd. I think that is very important for everyone at Muscle Milk Pickett Racing.
"For Muscle Milk and the Pickett family it's also really nice because there were so many family and friends that were here to support us and to be able to give them two victories in their home state back to back is very special and sweet. I'm really happy.
"Klaus did a very good job in the beginning and built a good lead, after that we just had to keep the focus, stay out of trouble and bring it home and that's what we did."
Mike Guasch, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09 "We had a good race weekend all in all but we didn't get the result we would've liked. All three of us drove well and there was no damage to the car which was one of the objectives coming into this six-hour race.
"I had a really good start and the car was great. I was able to get into the lead but unfortunately I went on to lose some positions.
"Both Archie, who was making his debut this weekend, and Memo had good stints. We were up to second at times and down to sixth at others, it was a back and forth battle that in the end didn't quite go our way, but all in all it was a great weekend."
Memo Gidley, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09 "The Muscle Milk/Molecule car felt pretty good during the race. I think our pace was good but somehow we got shuffled back with the wave-by and yellows and unfortunately it didn't work in our favor.
"It would have been nice to be up on the lead lap and see what we could do. I think we definitely could have been on the podium as I think the speed of the car was there but we'll just need to try again at the next one."
Archie Hamilton, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09 "It was pretty eventful for my first ALMS race. I got the car up to second but our pit stop was a bit confusing with the wave around procedure and had we not got shuffled down the order I think we could have finished on the podium.
"For my debut it was pretty good. My lap times were not too bad and close to Memo's times, which was the main thing. I had a mistake free run and kept it all in one piece. I was managing traffic and keeping out of trouble, which can be very difficult. In the end, it's quite a good result but it could have been better.
"It's an amazing Championship and I don't think I'll want to race in England again now! It was quite an experience. The track is amazing and to be involved with such a big team like Muscle Milk Pickett Racing was a great experience."