Muscle Milk Pickett Racing's home event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hasn't always been a sweet one for the team located in Benicia, CA.
While they have known some success at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course, by picking up a couple of podium finishes in the last few years, luck has never quite been on their side. However, the Muscle Milk squad will be looking to turn that around this year as they head into the six-hour event.
The Greg Pickett-led team scored two podium finishes at the Long Beach race last month. Its P1 duo of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr took their first win of the season and the PC pair of Mike Guasch and Memo Gidley claimed their first podium.
The main objective for this weekend will be to keep its success going and once again score maximum Championship points as the P1 team looks to claim the outright lead in the points standings.
The third round of the season promises to be one of the more physically demanding events on the ALMS schedule and it can be just as tough mentally. A six-hour race in forever changing track conditions with brutal traffic will require full concentration from the drivers.
As they did last year, Luhr and Graf will be the only drivers aboard the #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a while the PC team of Guasch and Gidley will be joined by Archie Hamilton who will complete the lineup aboard the #5 Muscle Milk / Molecule Oreca FLM09.
Guasch and Gidley are carrying quite a bit of momentum into the American Le Mans Series round at Laguna Seca with their second place finish at the previous race and would like to go a perfect two for two in podium finishes in the California events on the 2012 schedule.
With both Gidley and Guasch living in nearby Novato and Martinez, California, the two Americans will have plenty of family and friends on hand to cheer them on throughout the six-hour race. The pair currently sits third in the PC points standings, only two points out of second place.
The race goes green Saturday at 1:30 pm PT and when the checkered flag falls six hours later, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing hope they can finally call Laguna Seca 'home sweet home'.
The race will be streamed live on ESPN3.com starting at 4:15 pm ET and will be broadcast on tape delay on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 13 at 5:00 pm ET.
Muscle Milk Quotes
Klaus Graf, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a"This will be our second race in a row in California and this one is even closer to our home base in Benicia, so it will be another special one. We will certainly host a lot of guests over the weekend.
"The Laguna Seca race is physically very demanding for the drivers as the track is counter clockwise which we don't have very often. Lucas and I choose to do the race with two drivers only as we feel it gives us maximum track time prior to the race to work on the set up and get our Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a in the best possible shape.
"Our tire partner Michelin provided us with some great tires for the Long Beach event and we are very optimistic that we'll have the same performance available. "We want to build on the success from our win at the last race and take the lead in the ALMS Championship. However six hours around Laguna Seca is a long time, traffic will be brutal, track conditions will change a lot and the race will ask for the full concentration of everyone on the team."
Lucas Luhr, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a"It will be important this weekend to keep the momentum from Long Beach going. It's our second 'home' race and this one is even closer to the Muscle Milk, CytoSport headquarters so we would really like to make the company proud.
"From a Championship point of view, it has a little more importance because it's a six-hour race there are more points available and with the title as our main objective this year it could become very important.
"Klaus and I feel very good going into the race. The team did a great job at Long Beach and I'm sure they will keep it up at Laguna Seca.
"It should be a very interesting race. The track is very tricky because there is always a lot of sand that ends up on it and that makes it difficult sometimes to find the right set up for these conditions.
"I'm really looking forward to the race at Laguna and seeing all the fans."
Mike Guasch, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09"I'm really looking forward to the race at Laguna Seca. It is our home track for the American Le Mans Series so it's a very important event for us. I've raced there many, many times so I feel very comfortable on that track.
"The presence of clients and friends and family in our suite and with Muscle Milk located so close it does add a lot of pressure and stress to the whole week but we're here to race and I'm very excited about our line up.
"Memo and I have shown that we have the pace and so does our third driver Archie. He tested with us last week and he's really fast. I feel very strong that we'll run competitively but we will need to keep ourselves out of trouble and not get stressed out with all the added pressure that we have this weekend."
Memo Gidley, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09 "It was awesome to finish second at Long Beach in the Muscle Milk/Molecule #5 car. Not only did it feel great to get on that podium to spray the champagne, but it also moved us up in the points heading into Laguna Seca."I have a great feeling heading into the Laguna weekend for a number of reasons. I went to my first car race there and seeing that race and walking around that weekend was really what sparked my interest to race cars professionally. I really had no idea what that meant, and never realized the path that it would take to climb the ladder!
"It has been quite a journey filled with so many highs, lows and fantastic adventures along the way! And then to top it all off, seven years after going to my first race at Laguna, I was standing on the podium after finishing second in the 2001 Laguna Seca CART race...it was a fantastic feeling of accomplishment looking over at the track where it really all began for me."I am just super excited to come back to Laguna and hit the track with the Muscle Milk/Molecule #5 PC race car. I believe that the track with all its fast corners will really be suited to our car and should make it a lot of fun to drive.
"Being local, I am also excited to have family and friends come down and watch us in action and share in the excitement of the race weekend. It's a little bit of extra pressure, but in a good way because how can a driver not get fired up even more when you have so many family and friends cheering you on! Not to mention both my co-driver, Mike Guasch, and the Muscle Milk factory are also local so we will have a ton of great support. It would really be a great weekend to be able to spray that champagne again with all of our supporters here watching."
Archie Hamilton, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09
"I had a good test with the team last week. It wasn't the first time I drove a prototype car so I knew a little bit what to expect. After I got up to speed and got comfortable in this type of car again, I was able to set competitive lap times and now I'm really looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca in my first race in the American Le Mans Series.
"In preparation for Laguna, I've done a lot of simulation work and I watched a lot of on board cameras so I feel I'm well prepared heading to a track I've never been too."