Muscle Milk AMR: Carrying momentum to Mid-Ohio

Monday, August 01, 2011

Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing are coming off a win at the previous American Le Mans Series round in Canada that has given them plenty of momentum heading into the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge this weekend.

Armed with better knowledge of its Aston Martin LMP1, the Benicia, California-based team is set to take on the remainder of the season and keep eating away at the 26-point deficit in the championship standings.

There’s no better place for the team to take that momentum to than the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course was the scene of the team’s return to the ALMS in 2009, where they registered a second place LMP2 class finish.

Additionally, the Pickett Racing group has a little extra motivation behind their desire to do well this weekend.

The Muscle Milk squad missed out on last season’s race on account of a Thursday testing crash that destroyed its Porsche RS Spyder, forcing them to withdraw from the event.

While the team came back for the following race, missing out on the Mid-Ohio round last year remains a footnote in the 2010 Championship standings.

Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing can’t change the past but a victory at ‘the track that owes them one’ this weekend would have that much more meaning for everyone on the team, starting with team owner Greg Pickett, who was aboard the Spyder at that time.

Pickett, who welcomed his 11th grandchild last week, would have loved to get back on track at Mid-Ohio, but once again obligations to his company, CytoSport, have taken priority and he has opted to step out of the car for the upcoming rounds. The Trans-Am legend will however be onsite with his team owner hat on.

Replacing Pickett will be Lucas Luhr who has been doing a phenomenal job alongside Klaus Graf aboard the Muscle Milk Aston Martin LMP1, taking victory at the last race at Mosport.

In addition to taking part in the Mid-Ohio round of the American Le Mans Series, Luhr, who won at Mid-Ohio in 2008, will also be replacing Pickett at Road America and will be in the driver lineup at Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans as had been announced prior to the start of the season.

Due to his GT1 World Championship commitments, where he currently leads the driver point standings, Luhr will not be at Baltimore. Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing will announce the co-driver for the inaugural race at the Inner Harbor at a later date.

Luhr and Graf will be on track at Mid-Ohio Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET for the start of the first official practice session. Qualifying will take place later that day at 3:15 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on starting at 2:20 p.m. ET with GT qualifying.

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge will go green at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 6 and will also be streamed live on from 3:15 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast on ESPN2 on tape delay, Sunday, August 7 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Muscle Milk Quotes

Greg Pickett, Team owner

“As much as I would love to get back in the Aston Martin, I’ve decided to step out of the seat for the upcoming rounds. With my commitments at CytoSport and a race every two weeks it makes it difficult for me to fully prepare, to my liking, for a race weekend and if I can’t be 100% prepared I’d rather give up my seat as I owe that much to the Muscle Milk team.

“Plus, Lucas has been doing such a great job as my replacement that it’s kind of hard to take him out of the car right now! He and Klaus make for one blindingly fast driver lineup. I’m enjoying watching them from my position as team owner.

“Unfortunately, but understandably, Lucas can’t be in Baltimore due to his other racing commitments, but we will announce a replacement in the coming weeks.”

Klaus Graf, co-driver #6 Muscle Milk Aston Martin LMP1

“We want to take the momentum we gained at Mosport and carry it over to Mid-Ohio. The track layout is obviously completely different but it should suit our Muscle Milk Aston Martin as well. “The team has a very good handle now from a set up and reliability point of view and we should have a strong package again.

“I like the layout of the track a lot as it’s technically very challenging and requires a good set up combination with the prototype cars.

“I always enjoy shared weekends between the ALMS and IndyCar as it creates a special atmosphere at the racetrack and with this being a combined weekend, I look forward to a huge crowd on the grassy hills around Mid-Ohio.”

Lucas Luhr, co-driver #6 Muscle Milk Aston Martin LMP1

“Heading to Mid-Ohio, our goal is very simple. We want to win the same way we did at Mosport but by making it a little easier on ourselves! I like the track at Mid-Ohio. It’s a very challenging track and I think our Aston Martin should do well there.

“Our race at Mosport was not an easy one but in the end we made some good progress with the car that will serve us well. That, plus the confidence I have in the Muscle Milk crew should make for another good weekend.

“I’m glad that Greg will be back with us at Mid-Ohio after missing our last race. Hopefully we will have something to celebrate with him and that we can give him a nice gift to celebrate the arrival of his newest grandchild.”

(About adding Mid-Ohio and Road America rounds to his schedule which already included Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans) “I’m really happy that Greg has decided to let me complete the season with Klaus. I enjoy working with him a lot. We are very similar when it comes to set-ups and that’s always an important part of a driver combination. I also like Klaus a lot as a person, he’s a good friend and it’s great to have him as a teammate.

“Also, it’s always nice to race in America as there is no stress. I always look forward to going to the US. There is no better racing, I love the atmosphere and the fans. Sometimes it can be hard with all the travelling but I always look forward to it.”
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