Muscle Milk continues dominance with Lime Rock victory

LAKEVILLE, CT -- Rob Dyson's Lola B12/60 Mazda LMP1 won the battle, but it was the Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a Honda of Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graph that won the war at the Lime Rock American Le Mans series Northwest Grand Prix, as they came from four laps down during the race for the victory. Rob Smith finished qualifying with an equally entertaining top lap and pole position for the Mazda, out dueling the Honda  by a mere .102 seconds. On race day when electrical issues plaqued the Muscle Milk sponsored Honda, it appeared as if the race was Smith and Dyson's to lose. Unfortunately for the Mazda team, on their "home track" (Poukeepsie, NY is home base) they did lose the race to a hard charging bonzai performance by Lurh and Graph that earned for them a nearly 13 second victory over their chief rivals, their third straight in the ALMS this year. P2 class honors went to Level 5's Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker, who led outright for more than 30 minutes and held off a hard-charging Conquest Endurance Morgan-Nissan of Martin Plowman for the class win. "Dr. Mc Dreamy", Patrick Dempsey, scored his first ALMS podium finish, teaming with Joe Foster in the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Lola B12/80 Judd to finish third in class. In the GT catagorie, it was another dog fight to the finish with Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long earning victory for Flying Lizard Motorsports in a fantastic fight with Corvette Racing and Extreme Speed Motorsports. Bergmeister celebrated his 100th ALMS start with his sixth win in seven Lime Rock races. Bergmeister held off a stern challenge from a pair of Corvette C6 ZR1s.

Muscle Milk muscles win at Laguna Seca; Vettes take GT race in dogfight

MONTEREY, California -- Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf easily won the ALMS race at Mazda Laguna Seca raceway but the real story was the battle in the GT class where a pair of C6 Zr1 Corvettes wound up in first and second after a race long battle with virtually "the field" in GT. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner teamed for the GT victory -- but just a blink of the eye behind then -- .262 seconds to be exact was teammates Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. Even closer was the difference between second and third place -- with the E92 M3 BMW driven by Bill Auberlen and Jorg Muller taking third .036 seconds behind.  In fact their teammates, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller finished fourth, just .043 seconds -- almost a traffic jam at the checkered flag. Places five through seven were equally close as they finished on the same lap within a minute of the leader.  

Getting ready for 60th 12 hours of Sebring

SEBRING, FL -- Test day is complete and all that is left is waiting for the green flag to drop for the 60th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, this year the kick-off event for the World Endurance Championship. While there are perceived winners and losers at test day -- the times don't really mean much to anyone since between the the time that test day is run and the green flag drops the track will most likely change at least three times. It will be up to drivers and crews to dial the cars in during speed week. However, the winner of the test day sessions was Lucas Luhr and the Muscle Milk Pickett Race team. This year the team is running a brand new Honda HPD ARX 03a that had not turned a lap in anger until this session. Luhr's lap that clocked in at just over 123 mph to top all at the test session. The Audi team was not at the test session nor were any of the other LMP1 teams that are expected to contest the race at Sebring. Most notably missing from the test date is the Peugeot team that quit the series as of mid-February. One thing that is known is that the Audi team will be bringing two cars the former WWII airfield while Peugeot flicked in at least the next two seasons and their only other competition -- competition meaning a manufacturer who can spend euros at the same rate as Audi is the Toyota Team, which will not join the circuit until after the initial race of the series at Sebring. That leaves the Honda the Muscle Milk Picket Racing team to rub a little paint with the Audi team.  
While in the past teams might have rented the team after the official test session,  WEC rules specifically prohibit any testing after the official winter test session. The Audi team tested earlier -- just after the 24 Hours of Daytona and has announced that it will have two cars at Sebring. While the vaunted Audi team will be the prohibitive favorite at the 60th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, one only has to go back to last year when a privateer Peugeot won the race as the factory teams tripped on their proverbial capes.
Top 10 Results for the fourth test session:
1.  P1      Luhr/Graf/Pagenaud    1:48.192   123.114                  HPD ARX-03a 2.   P2   Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz    1:51.522   119.438                  HPD ARX-03b 3 .  P2   Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz    1:51.714   119.233                  HPD ARX-03b 4.  P2   Companc/Ayari/Kaffer   1:52.134   118.786               Oreca 5. PC   Ende/Cameron/Lewis     1:54.891 115.936                 Oreca FLM09 6.  PC  Junco/Leitzinger/Dobson 1:55.236  115.589           Oreca FLM09 7.  PC  Bennett/Braun                     1:55.431    115.394           Oreca FLM09 8.  PC Guasch/Gidley                     1:58.194    112.696          Oreca FLM09 9.   PC  Downs/Downs/Downs    1:58.549   112.359         Oreca FLM09 10. GT   Beretta/Vilander/Bruni   2:00.532  110.510 63   Ferrari F458 Italia
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