The Muscle Milk Pickett Racing PC team came to Laguna Seca Raceway as hometown favorites, and came away with a strong 4th place finish.
Starting with qualifying, the #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule LMPC car led by California-native Memo Gidley, had a heated battle during the 15 minute LMPC qualifying session. On his seventh fastest lap aboard the #5 Muscle Milk /Molecule car he had moved into second place, just over a tenth away from provisional pole. However, with a very competitive field, he was relegated down to third by the time the checkered flag fell.
The American registered a lap time of one minute 18.114 seconds, which was less than two and a half tenths off the PC pole winner’s time. “I was very happy with the speed of the car and where we ended up in qualifying”, said Gidley. “I knew that we had a strong driver lineup for the next day’s race and felt we would have a really fast racecar to go for the win.”
The next day at the start of the 6 hour race, teammate Mike Guasch made an awesome start going from 3rd to 1st on the outside of turn two. Mike then settled into a comfortable rhythm with a trouble free stint to bring the car in for its first driver change in 4th place.
Brought in for this weekend’s longer than normal race, was England’s Archie Hamilton, who was making his ALMS debut this weekend. After taking the reins of the #5 Muscle Milk / Molecule car in fourth place, the Brit took his PC machine to second during his first stint. Everything was looking good for a strong handoff to Memo when a full course caution dropped the #5 to fifth, losing a lap in the process.
“It was bad timing that we had just pitted Archie, giving him fuel for his next stint, when two laps later a full course caution came out,” said Gidley. “By being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Archie lost a lap and now I knew we were going to have our work cut out for us if we wanted a good finish.”
Soon after, Archie pitted and Memo jumped in to try to salvage a good finish. With good pit strategy and fast driving, Memo and the team did get their lap back but by the end the gap was just too large and the team ran out of time for a podium finish. “At one point I restarted just behind the leader at the time, and was able to pass him which got us on the lead lap,” said Gidley. “We closed the gap but it is really nearly impossible to make up a lap gap on the track to a field like this that is really competitive.”
Pickett Racing will be back on track for Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series July 6-7th at Lime Rock Park.
Mike Guasch, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09
“We had a good race weekend all in all but we didn’t get the result we would’ve liked. All three of us drove well and there was no damage to the car which was one of the objectives coming into this six-hour race.
“I had a really good start and the car was great. I was able to get into the lead but unfortunately I went on to lose some positions. “Both Archie, who was making his debut this weekend and Memo had good stints. We were up to second at times and down to sixth at others, it was a back and forth battle that in the end didn’t quite go our way, but all in all it was a great weekend.”
Memo Gidley, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09
“The Muscle Milk/Molecule car felt pretty good during the race. I think our pace was good but somehow we got shuffled back with the wave-by and yellows and unfortunately it didn’t work in our favor. “It would have been nice to be up on the lead lap and see what we could do. I think we definitely could have been on the podium as I think the speed of the car was there but we’ll just need to try again at the next one.”
Archie Hamilton, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09
“It was pretty eventful for my first ALMS race. I got the car up to second but our pit stop was a bit confusing with the wave around procedure and had we not got shuffled down the order I think we could have finished on the podium. “For my debut it was pretty good. My lap times were not too bad and close to Memo’s times, which was the main thing. I had a mistake free run and kept it all in one piece. I was managing traffic and keeping out of trouble, which can be very difficult. In the end, it’s quite a good result but it could have been better. “It’s an amazing Championship and I don’t think I’ll want to race in England again now! It was quite an experience. The track is amazing and to be involved with such a big team like Muscle Milk Pickett Racing was a great experience.”
CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk®, is among the largest sport nutrition protein beverage companies in the U.S. and offers a complete line of protein-enhanced powders, shakes and bars. Muscle Milk® was recently named the 2008 Ready-to-Drink Beverage of the Year by bodybuilding.com, Best Functional Beverage and Beverage of the Year by BevNet and 2009 Company of the Year by Beverage Forum presented by Beverage Marketing Corporation and Beverage World. For more information on Muscle Milk or additional CytoSport products, visit: www.cytosport.com.