Muscle Milk AMR: Lime Rock not a happy hunting ground this time around

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It was a trying day for the Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing team at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday.

The team did cross the finish line in second place but as driver Klaus Graf said “it was a tough day at the office” for the defending race winners.

Lucas Luhr, who was starting the race second on the grid for the Muscle Milk squad, had an exciting battle for the lead with Chris Dyson. Luhr constantly stayed within a couple of tenths of the leader and even crossed the timing line first at one point but Dyson fought back hard to keep his position.

It was with about 30 minutes gone by in the two hour and 45 minute race that Luhr took the lead on lap 35, but unfortunately his lead would be short lived.

Five laps later, after building an 11 second lead, the German was hit by a GT car, slightly damaging the Aston Martin and forcing him to enter pit lane with a flat tire.

Luhr returned to the track with a fresh set of Michelin tires 43 seconds behind the Dyson car and still on the lead lap.

Shortly thereafter, a full course caution came out under which the team decided to pit for a driver change as well as fuel and tires.

Thanks to an excellent pit stop the Muscle Milk squad sent Graf, who was now aboard the #6 Muscle Milk Aston Martin LMP1, out in first place ahead of the Dyson car who had pitted from the lead at the same time.

However, once again, a GT car hit the Aston Martin from behind. The impact sent Graf spinning off track, allowing Guy Smith in the Dyson Lola to go by and take a nine second lead.

From that point on there was not much Graf could do to catch up to Smith. Both drivers were putting in similar lap times, with Graf driving a slightly damaged car due to the contacts it had suffered earlier on.

The Pickett Racing team did go on to win for the second race in a row the Michelin Green X Challenge for the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact.

Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing will be back on track in two weeks, July 22 - 24, at Mosport International Raceway, where the team took its second overall win last season.

Klaus Graf
“I’d say it was a tough day at the office. Both Lucas and I had issues. A GT car hit me and spun me around, which is quite rare when you are in a prototype. I gave him enough room to stay on his line but he didn’t. It was very unfortunate. I didn’t lose too much time luckily but it did break my rhythm.

“It was difficult today in the traffic and we didn’t have the best car, we had slight damage to the fact that Lucas and I both got hit and that didn’t help with the performance of the Muscle Milk Aston Martin but in the end we still pushed and finished second.

“Congrats to the Dyson guys. I have to say they ran a strong race today. We’ll come back at Mosport.”

Lucas Luhr
“It was a tough day for the Muscle Milk team. We had the speed and we were well prepared but we were not very fortunate in traffic with a Ford GT car hitting me. I made a really clear move by him and when I was by he turned in on me. It damaged the car a bit and caused a flat tire forcing me to pit early. Then Klaus had the same with a GT car that spun him. It definitely wasn’t the day we wanted.”

Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing
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