A GOOD OMEN FOR THE SPYDER With the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by PatrÃ³n less than a week away, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport team owner and driver Greg Pickett talks about his history at the infamous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
A GOOD OMEN FOR THE SPYDER
With the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patrón less than a week away, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport team owner and driver Greg Pickett talks about his history at the infamous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That includes winning Trans-Am races there in 1978 and 1980 - as well as his podium finish in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón in 2009 - and his outlook on what could be another exciting ride with teammates Klaus Graf and Sascha Maassen in their Porsche RS Spyder as they race to break the tie with Patrón Highcroft for the championship lead.
Returning to Mazda Raceway
"It's great to welcome everyone to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It is a lovely part of the country and one that has always been close to home for me. ... I have raced at Mazda Raceway a lot - starting back when I was racing in SCCA in one of my Cameros. I would visit the track maybe a couple times a year. I even raced in its old configuration when Turn 1 and 2 had high sweeps around the outside of the lake. As fans and drivers can see, the race has changed its flavor since then but it still has the distinctive Corkscrew."
Best Memory on the Track
"When I raced in the SCCA , I broke notable track record. I was able to break track record held by Parnelli Jones in his factory Trans-Am Mustang while I was in my ex-Jim Hall Chevy Camero. This has become one of my most prized possessions on my mantel at home, and it was accomplished at Monterey."
Evolution of New Technology
"For me, this is as close to heaven as I can get because the Spyder does everything so well. It is so well-behaved on the race track, and on a nice lap there is a smile on my face.
"It is rewarding to drive with all the electronics blimping up and down. It's braking potential and the aero-balance is awe-inspiring. And when you look at my progress, I think I can say that I have gradually been able to start to catch up to the car and be able to really take it in as deep into the corners as it was meant to do.
"All of that technology that Porsche brought makes the car an extreme pleasure to drive."
Expanded Format Accepted
"I am looking forward to the new expanded six-hour format. With the additional time, and with our exceptionally engineered and durable Porsche, the longer we go, the better we are. The marque is known for that. ... If you look back, this is what happened at the 12 Hours (of Sebring) and this is what we look forward to doing at Monterey.
"Having Sascha - Muscle Milk's endurance driver - return to drive with us is always a pleasure. He has a great personality and is a real gentleman. And we feel extraordinarily proud to have him join us. ... His experience in the car and in traffic along with being one of the world's fastest sports car racers - who almost never makes a mistake - makes him one of the great endurance racers of his time.
"Having the race longer and having everyone back together will hopefully be a good omen."
Prep Work on the Spyder
"Our routine after every race, when Klaus goes back to Germany, is to meet with Sascha to talk about the performance of the car and go through the projected pre-race setups for the car. These setups we receive from [Porsche] Germany. Then our engineers - in North America - go over the setups to make any necessary adjustments."
Positive Outlook for 2010
"We had a remarkable run last year at this track. We started third and finished second. ... It was at Turn 5 or 6 right before the hill where I dropped a little early in traffic and broke the front suspension. There was a bit of a bump at the apex of the corner. It hit and it broke. ... But it was because of our durability and relatively good speed and good Michelin tires that add to our possibilities. This remains the same as we return to Monterey a year later."