Muscle Milk AMR: The start of something new

Friday, March 11, 2011

The 59th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida will be the setting for the beginning of the team's new chapter in the American Le Mans Series.

After closing the books on the Porsche RS Spyder at the end of last season, the team now known as Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing will have a few new storylines to develop this year as well as some to keep building on.

Aston Martin testing at SebringThe major change for the California-based squad is that it is taking on a new identity as an Aston Martin Racing Official LMP1 Team Partner for its second full season of competition in the sports car series as well as welcoming a new main character in the Lola Aston Martin LMP1 car.

While the team will have new elements to deal with, it will also be able to count on the presence and experience of drivers Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf, who are eagerly awaiting the chance to return to Sebring - the scene of the team's first victory last season where they clinched the LMP2 class win in one of the toughest endurance races in the world.

Graf and Pickett, who will be making his official return behind the wheel since his season-ending accident last year at Mid-Ohio, will be accompanied by Lucas Luhr for the once around the clock event. Luhr will be making his second start with the Muscle Milk team and his 70th in the series.

If the 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring road course holds a place near and dear to the hearts of Graf and Pickett, the same can be said for Luhr who is a five-time winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The German took victory each year from 2000 to 2003 in the GT class as well as in 2005 in the GT2 class.

ALMS DriversThe Greg Pickett-led group is still carrying momentum from its performances last season as well as from a couple of successful pre-season tests, but it knows the competition will be tougher than ever this year at Sebring with the team now being a part of the LMP1 class.

The division includes Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing's main rivals from last season - Highcroft Racing and Dyson Racing - and also features the factory teams of Peugeot and Audi who have dominated the event in the past.

Another challenge will be the 57-car field. With traffic playing a major role, once again the key to success will be staying out of trouble at a track that is known to be one of the toughest on both man and machine.

The 12 Hours of Sebring will be broadcast live, in its entirety on Saturday, March 19 starting at 10:15 a.m. ET. Television coverage will be presented on ABC from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20.

Greg Pickett
"It's been great getting back in a race car during our testing sessions the last few weeks but I'm anxious to be getting back to actual racing. The Muscle Milk Aston Martin LMP1 is a fantastic car to drive and I'm really looking forward to our first race with it.
"Entering the 12 Hours of Sebring this year will definitely be special after taking our first class win there last season. I have many good memories at Sebring and hopefully we can add to them.
"The competition once again will be very tough, more so this year. With our move to the P1 class, we will be up against factory teams like Peugeot and Audi in addition to our main championship rivals like Highcroft (Racing) and Dyson (Racing). It's never easy but the presence of those factory teams definitely adds to the level of difficulty.
"We still have things to learn about our Aston Martin and while we have confidence in our car's performance and reliability, our goal at Sebring, and as it will be for all races, is simply to do our best and most importantly enjoy ourselves, from that point on the results will come. It's what we did all of last season and it worked out pretty well for us!"

Klaus Graf

"The 12 hours of Sebring is always a very special event on our racing calendar. We come out of the winter break and go straight into the biggest race of the year. It's our Super Bowl.
"We've done all our testing so far this year at Sebring and since we've already spent a fair amount of time there it makes it much easier to quickly get familiar with everything once again.
"The 2011 season will be very exciting for us, as we will be competing with our new Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing LMP1 coupe. We still have a lot to learn about our new package but we have a lot of confidence in it. We should also have a very reliable package and that is the key to success at the 12 hours of Sebring.
"With the joint ALMS and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup event, we will be facing some really stiff competition including the factory cars. But it will be important for us to focus our attention on the ALMS teams, which will actually be earning championship points, as those will be our competition throughout the season.
"With a record field of close to 60 cars it is going to be an awesome race and the trick will be to manage traffic, stay out of trouble and spend a minimum amount of time in the pits until the end.
"To put everything together in preparation for this race is a big job and I would like to thank the entire Muscle Milk team for all the hard work they've put in already this year."

Lucas Luhr

"I have to say that I'm really happy to be going to Sebring with the Muscle Milk team. The 12 Hours of Sebring is one of the best races in the United States and to be a part of it is always great.
"We have a really good car in the Aston Martin LMP1 but I must admit that it won't be easy against the diesel cars. But you never know, with so many cars entered into the race the traffic is going to be a big challenge. So, if we stay out of trouble I think we can come out of Sebring with a good result.
"I can't wait to get back in the car next week and I'm looking forward to be driving with Greg and Klaus in Sebring."

Muscle Milk AMR
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