After entering the first race of the season in a relatively unknown environment at Daytona, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing is returning to a very familiar territory for round 2 of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Sebring International Raceway this week.
The team will be taking part in its fifth 12 Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 15. With the tables now turned, the Muscle Milk squad is hoping to be able to take advantage of its experience at the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course to fight for the win against the Daytona Prototype teams, and others, in the P class.
In order to do so, the team will also have to turn its luck around after some unfortunate incidents at Sebring the last few years. One positive element, however, is the fact that the last time the team took to the track in a P2 car at the historic circuit they scored their first class win in 2010.
While Pickett Racing was hopeful going into Round 1 in January, they have more confidence heading into the second longest race of the season where the prototype cars should be on a more level playing field, as seen at the Series test last month.
That two-day test was a productive one and the team was happy with the improvements made so far to its #6 Muscle Milk ORECA Nissan.
With 60-plus cars entered into the event, 18 of which are in the P class, staying out of trouble will be the key to success as will reliability at what is a very bumpy, demanding Sebring track.
Regular drivers, Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr, will be joined by Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough who made his unofficial debut with the team at last month’s test.
Graf, Luhr and Mardenborough will be on track starting Thursday, March 13 for official practice ahead of Friday’s qualifying session.
The 62nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida goes green at 10:15 am on Saturday, March 15.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Quotes:
Klaus Graf, driver Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
“I’m really looking forward to the 12 Hours of Sebring race. We didn’t have much to fight for at Daytona but we still managed to get a good result by staying out of trouble. We want to be in the fight here at Sebring and the test results were very promising. The competition will be very close again and to be on the podium at the end, we have to stay trouble free.
“As a team, we’ve been many times to Sebring and maybe we can take advantage of this situation. However, testing has shown that the P class will be very close. Traffic will also be a major factor at this year’s race as there are 60 plus cars entered in the event. I think this is the most I’ve ever seen at Sebring.
“Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has worked fiercely since Daytona and the boys have improved our ORECA Nissan a lot and we are much more comfortable with our new package.
“I want to also welcome Jann (Mardenborough) to our team. He’s a very promising young driver that is part of the Nissan program and even though a lot of things are still very new to him here in the United States, I’m sure he’ll do a good job for us.”
Lucas Luhr, driver Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
“I think that we will see a better balance between the DPs and the P2s at Sebring for the race, as we saw at the test last month. We also improved our Muscle Milk ORECA Nissan quite a bit therefore I am more optimistic for this race.
“We didn’t have the best of luck at Sebring in the past years and I really hope that changes this year.
“It’s also good to see, via twitter and other social media, that so many fans are already waiting to get in.
“I look forward to the race very much and with 60 plus cars entered, it is going to be very interesting and challenging for everybody and it will especially be good for the fans to watch.”
Jann Mardenborough, driver Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
“I’m really looking forward to the 12 Hours of Sebring. There’s over 60 cars entered for the race so I think it’s going to be really busy and exciting.
“It will be my first time racing at Sebring and with that many cars, and so many great teams and drivers, it’s going to be great for my experience.
“Sebring is one of the old-school circuits where if you make a mistake, there isn’t tens of miles of runoff. There’s grass and then there’s tire barriers and concrete barriers as well.
“It also has corners I’ve never experienced before at a race track, especially Turn 17 which is completely blind. The first corner, there are variations in the line that you can do, but because of the bumps throughout the corner, you need to be going 130 or 140 mph, which gets your interest, really!”
Source. Muscle Milk Pickett Racing