Muscle Milk Pickett Racing completed a successful and productive American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday with both its LMP1 and LMPC cars.
The team’s HPD ARX-03a, the first of its kind to take to the track, made its official debut during the morning test session with team owner Greg Pickett behind the wheel taking it out for its first laps.
The Muscle Milk team then continued with the shakedown of its car by giving Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Simon Pagenaud each a turn behind the wheel, in order for them to get comfortable in their new surroundings.
Although it was a brand new car, it didn’t take too long for them to acclimate themselves. In the afternoon session, Pagenaud was already lapping in the one minute 48 second range and Luhr registered the fastest lap of the 2012 Winter Test just before the checkered flag fell, stopping the clock at one minute 48.192 seconds.
To say the Pickett Racing drivers simply enjoyed themselves aboard the HPD ARX-03a would be an understatement. Pagenaud said it was the best sports car he has ever driven while Luhr didn’t want to get out of the car at the end of the session.
On the Muscle Milk LMPC side, the team had another productive and trouble free day. All drivers were able to put in many laps and continue learning about their Oreca FLM09 as they went through and completed their testing plan for this test.
The team ended the day fourth in what promises to be a very challenging and competitive class.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will return to the Sebring track at the end of the month for a private test session with both its entries as they continue to prepare for the 60th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, which takes place March 17th.
Muscle Milk Quotes
Klaus Graf, driver #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a
“I think we will have a lot of fun this season. I didn’t do a lot of laps today but my initial impression is very, very positive. I think it has all the ingredients that a modern and state of the art sports car needs. It was very well balanced right out of the box and that’s a very good sign.
“I talked to one of the designers and he was saying how everyone was anxious to hear how it was going. You can do all the design and development and simulation work you want but until it hits the track you don’t know.
“It was a very pleasant day for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. It was a big success to get it going and get it on track. The crew has been working hard the last couple of weeks so the biggest credit at this point goes to them. It’s the first HPD ARX-03a to be on track so that’s quite an achievement. It’s quite rewarding for the moment and this is only the beginning.”
Lucas Luhr, driver #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a
“I didn’t want to get out of the car today. When Brandon (Fry) called me into the pits at the checkered flag I wanted to pretend that I didn’t hear him, but then I saw that the fuel light came on so I had no choice but to go into the pits.
“I think overall we can be pleased with the result, it was for me and I think the whole Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team. It was a proper rollout, shakedown for the car. All the systems functioned and the car reacts and behaves like we expected it to. We ran quite a few laps without problems and that is always a good sign for a brand new car.
“It’s the first HPD ARX-03a that is built and on the race track and I think our Muscle Milk guys can be really proud of themselves, certainly I am and I’m really thankful that we could make this test. I’m looking forward to the next time in the car.”
Simon Pagenaud, driver #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a
“It was good to get on the track today, the HPD ARX-03a is the best sports car I’ve driven. The Muscle Milk Pickett Racing crew did a good job preparing the car, it’s always a lot of work for them. Those prototypes are big Formula 1 cars with fenders on them so it’s a lot of work to build and HPD has prepared a great design and the Honda power unit is as always reliable and pretty amazing. I think this car is going to surprise a lot of people. I was very excited about it coming in and now I am even more. It is going to be a great challenge. The Muscle Milk team has been fantastic with me for these two days and I’m looking forward to race week.”
Memo Gidley, driver #5 Muscle Milk Molecule LMPC Oreca FLM09
“It was a great test for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. We had dry weather, everybody ran a lot of laps and we went through a bunch of things with the car. We basically went through the motions. It was more like a shakedown run not just for the car but getting everybody working together in what was similar to a race weekend environment and it all went smoothly. Overall it was great and I look forward to coming back and having a great race.”
Mike Guasch, driver #5 Muscle Milk Molecule LMPC Oreca FLM09
“We had a good day yesterday and today we continued to do some additional changes and work the Muscle Milk / Molecule car a little bit more. In the morning, we did some long stints and then did quite a few changes to try different things and see what works and what doesn’t.
“I was happy with my pace as it was better than last year’s. I think as a team we have a good combination and a winning opportunity.
“(About the competitiveness in the LMPC class) It’s a very competitive and exciting class. That’s why I love spec racing, its all about the drivers and engineering and not about the money you can throw at the race car. There will also be a good amount of cars in this class and I think it will be the most competitive prototype class in the series. There are also some really good drivers coming out for the first race of the season so I’m really excited about it.”