Muscle Milk team partners with Aston Martin for 2011 Pickett Racing - popularly known as Muscle Milk Team CytoSport - is set to become an Aston Martin Racing Official LMP1 Team Partner for the 2011 American Le Mans Series season in which the team will compete as Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing.
As part of the association and thanks to the grandfathering rules set by IMSA that are allowing the 2010 LMP1 cars to run in 2011, the team will be armed with an Aston Martin powered LMP1 car for their assault on the ALMS. The Lola Aston Martin LMP1 car won the LMS Championship in 2009 with Aston Martin Racing. In 2010, it competed in two races in the American Le Mans Series. At the season opening 12 Hours of Sebring it placed third overall and went on to start from pole on the streets of Long Beach and finish a very close second, only three tenths away from victory.
The partnership with Aston Martin Racing also provides the Muscle Milk squad with the support of an embedded factory engineer throughout the season and gives them access to any of Aston Martin Racing's drivers.
While the team will be announcing its complete driver lineup in the coming weeks, it can already confirm that both Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf will be back behind the wheel.
Furthermore, the Benicia, CA-based outfit will continue what has become a successful relationship with tire supplier Michelin, a partner that has been an integral part of the team's achievements since its return to the ALMS in 2009.
In its first full season in the series in 2010 the Muscle Milk team placed an impressive second in the LMP Championship on the strength of eight podiums in as many starts aboard the Porsche RS Spyder.
The team's accomplishments included a first win at the famed 12 hours of Sebring, a first overall victory at Lime Rock Park and a dominating performance at Mosport.
When taking into account the four races they contested in 2009, as well as the eight from 2010, the Muscle Milk team is a perfect 12 for 12 in podium finishes.
The team's success was even recognized during the annual season-ending Porsche Night of Champions celebration in Weissach, Germany. On an individual level, Klaus Graf was honored with the third place trophy in the prestigious Worldwide Porsche Cup.
For 2011, Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing will also be counting on the same crew that brought them success in 2010, albeit with some changes.
Long time Pickett Racing team member Mike Halloran has moved into the Team Manager position with Jim Dunford being given the role of Technical Director. Additionally, last season's chief engineer Brandon Fry has taken a full-time position with the team, while 2010 Mechanic of the Year recipient Mike Seymour returns as Crew Chief.
Additionally, Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing will be welcoming sponsor Biedermann Technologies. The leading medical device company has been a long time personal sponsor of Klaus Graf and has expanded its involvement to the team becoming an associate sponsor for the 2011 season.
Biedermann Technologies is a second-generation family business located in Germany. The company focuses on research and development for the global medical device industry, creating technology solutions to improve the quality of people's lives.
The 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n season kicks off with the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19 and will be preceded with a two-day winter test at Sebring International Raceway February 9 and 10, 2011.
What they have to say:
Greg Pickett, driver and owner Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing
"I'm pleased to announce our partnership with Aston Martin for the 2011 season. There were some interesting options for us in regards to the upcoming season but this was the best one out of all of the possibilities.
"Aston Martin offers us a great opportunity to continue to grow from a racing and performance perspective but they also provide us with a great platform to showcase our Muscle Milk brand in both the United States and Europe. We look forward to working with Aston Martin North America in order to maximize marketing opportunities throughout the year as well as giving them the on-track results they deserve.
"We had an unbelievable season last year and we can't wait to start building on that success with our new partner Aston Martin as well as our returning partner Michelin. The car went through a trouble free shakedown test last month at the test facility near the Aston Martin factory and we can't wait to get on track with it ourselves and for the season to get underway, even if there is still plenty of work to do before then.
"(About the evening at Porsche's Night of Champions) Just to be invited to the celebration was an honor. So to be recognized for our achievement honestly brought me to tears. It was a very proud moment for me. I must say that the highlight of the evening though was to meet Dr. Porsche. It was a once in a lifetime experience, something I will never forget. It brought back memories of when I was a kid and I first saw a Porsche Speedster 356 on the streets of California.
"The entire evening was a great way to close the chapter on our time with the RS Spyder."
Klaus Graf, driver Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing
"It's great news to be returning to the ALMS full time in 2011. We had such great success last year in our first full year in sports car competition as a team and me personally as a driver. As an added bonus I finished second in the championship and placed third in the prestigious Worldwide Porsche Cup. I couldn't have asked for more.
"To be successful in racing though you need a great team and a good car. The performance of our Muscle Milk team is getting stronger all the time and with the decision made by Greg to form a new partnership with Aston Martin Racing (AMR) to race their LMP1 car, it seems that we should again have the right ingredients to continue our success.
"Aston Martin is such a prestigious and traditional name in auto racing that it will be an honor for me to drive one of their cars. I can only imagine how beautiful it will look like in our Muscle Milk design. I can't wait to get in the car and for the fans to again hear the fantastic sound of the V12 Aston Martin engine.
"I'm looking forward to making new friends at AMR and to start working closely together with everyone involved in the project. I can't wait to leave pit lane for the first time.
"I'm also proud that we were able to forge a new team partnership with Biedermann Technologies as an associate sponsor. The Biedermann group has been a long time personal partner of mine, and its addition as a team partner is a testimony to our great relationship.
"Finally, I want to thank everyone at Muscle Milk for their enthusiasm and Greg and Penny Pickett for their passion. I'm also very happy that Greg will be with me in the car again."
George Howard-Chappell, Aston Martin Racing Technical Director
"It's excellent news that Aston Martin Racing will once again have a partner team contesting the whole season in the American Le Mans Series. The ALMS is one of the most prestigious and respected sports car championships in the world and to have a team of such experience running our LMP1 car will give the team a great opportunity to challenge for the title."