Muscle Milk Pickett Racing press release
Top of the class in Sebring qualifying
Sebring, FL (March 16, 2012) - Muscle Milk Pickett Racing came out strong in its first qualifying session of the season by being the best American Le Mans Series car, and the fastest petrol car in the field, placing itself on the second row of the grid, right behind the factory Audi cars.
Klaus Graf was behind the wheel of the #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a for the session. The German registered a fastest lap of one minute 47.536 seconds that initially placed him third overall on the time sheets.
By the time the checkered flag fell, Graf was fourth, nearly eighth tenths of a second ahead of the next fastest petrol car, a very satisfying result for both team and driver.
Although qualifying only plays a small part of a 12-hour race, the team's performance thus far is a great reward for the team who has been working countless hours the last couple of months, preparing for the season opening race.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing's PC team was hoping to be a bit higher up the grid for its first race of the season, but a red flag put an early end to the session and took away their hopes of improving their position.
The #5 Muscle Milk / Molecule car, however, still had a good run with Memo Gidley registering the sixth fastest lap in class, less than a second from the fastest PC car.
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida gets underway Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 am ET. The race will be streamed live on ESPN3.com beginning at 10:15 am ET and will be broadcast on tape-delay on ABC Sunday, March 18th at noon.
Muscle Milk Quotes
Greg Pickett, team owner, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
"I'm very pleased with our qualifying result. We found some speed in the car at the right time. It hasn't been easy but I think we're gradually getting there.
"It's satisfying to be the first petrol car because to race the factory Audi is a very daunting task for any privateer team like ours. There have been late nights and thousands of man hours to get us to this point and I'm very proud of all of our guys. So I was really pleased that Klaus delivered for the whole team and for all the guys, they deserve it immensely.
"My thanks goes out to HPD for all of their help, which has been invaluable the last few days. We wouldn't be ready to go without those guys so I consider this an entire organizational and partnership fulfillment.
"It was also a great personal victory for Klaus. I'm just tickled; it's a great way to kick things off.
"On the PC side, Memo did a really good job as well. They've gotten closer and closer with every session and that class is very competitive as we saw today in qualifying.
"Our main focus for our PC car has been durability and making sure it will get through this tough 12 hour race. All the guys have done a great job preparing for this event. I'm really happy with their performance and I think they will have a lot of fun tomorrow."
Klaus Graf, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a
"That was pretty exciting! It's been an exciting week for us. The guys worked so hard all week, with some of the guys working over a hundred hours just this week, so I'm very pleased for them. It's a big reward for everyone.
"Obviously, this is just a small part of it going into a 12-hour race but it still helps the guys to keep up the motivation. Everyone is pretty tired so it energizes everybody to be that close to the Audis and be the best in the ALMS as well as the fastest of the petrol cars. I think this is a pretty big day for HPD, Muscle Milk and Michelin. It's a great way to start a new era at Muscle Milk Pickett Racing."
Memo Gidley, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09
"Qualifying started off really well for us. I was happy with how the Muscle Milk / Molecule car felt right from the start. Every lap, we were a second quicker and I know from experience that our car around here takes a little bit longer to get up to speed, so the red flag hurt us as I'm sure it did others. That said, we have a great car for tomorrow, it's very easy to drive and rolls over the bumps nicely.
"I would've liked to qualify on pole or be up there a little higher than I was but that's just the way it is. It's time to go racing now, I'm looking forward to it."