Muscle Milk to Skip Long Beach, Monterey

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Muscle Milk Pickett Racing announced Tuesday that it will not take part in the next two rounds of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The two-time ALMS P1 championship-winning squad has elected to skip the races at Long Beach and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in order to focus on reliability and performance testing with its Oreca 03 Nissan P2 car.

While having recorded a fifth place overall finish in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Jann Mardenborough-driven Prototype entry battled driveline issues before retiring late with power steering failure at Sebring.

“It’s never an easy decision to make when deciding to miss a race, let alone two,” said team owner Greg Pickett. “We had an issue at Sebring with the power steering that could have been a safety concern, fortunately it didn’t get to that but we want to make sure that we don’t have such problems again.

“It was a very short off-season for us, we received our car at the end of December and we were racing at the end of January. The team worked hard so we could be at Daytona and Sebring but we feel that we need to take a step back in order to continue moving forward the way we want.”

Pickett has also voiced concerns over the Balance of Performance between DP and P2 cars and said they will study the differences over the next two races.

“Additionally, while we did lead some laps at Sebring, the speed differential between the DP cars and the P2s is still quite big and I want to see what the series does with that over the course of the next couple of races, as these will take place at tracks that should favor the P2 cars,” Pickett said.

“We came here to be competitive and we know that we have the drivers and the car to do so, but a big part of that competitiveness comes from the balance of performance and you can’t be fighting for wins if you’re not on a level playing field.”

61 Comments

  1. 917

    March 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    they are falling like flys.

  2. Bakkster

    March 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Somewhat interesting to me that they’re concerned about BoP, not the officiating.

    • Jackson

      March 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      they’re not concerned about BOP they are conceded about power steering

      • Bakkster

        March 25, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        And the end of the article they seem to say they aren’t happy with the BoP yet, either.

    • Doug

      March 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      I hate to say it, but if you are P2 team this whole season is basically a test session. It’s not like you have a realistic chance of winning since DP has been given HP advantage and has nearly identical cornering capability with the diffuser and dive planes.

      DP owners had to shell out big $$$ to get their cars faster than P2 and the series seems slanted to make sure the DP owners get something for their money.

      The series better tighten up before next year, or there may not be ANY p2 cars on the grid come Daytona and Sebring, and with a gaggle of them racing in the rest of the world having none of them in the new series because owners of P2 cars don’t think they have a decent chance of winning will be embarrassing in the least.

      Or maybe they just don’t care and are looking for 2017 when a new world P2 spec is where they will go.

      • djpatrick35

        March 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm

        Pickett likes to win and they are only going to compete if they can, so they are going to beef up their car’s components so they don’t spend most of their time in the pits like they did in Sebring.

        As for BoP, did you guys even watch Sebring? There were 2 P2s and 3 DPs in the Top 5 and the Top 3 went DP-P2-DP. The BoP is about as good as it’s going to get for two vastly different types of cars.

        • Doug

          March 26, 2014 at 7:18 am

          Did you see P2 cars wizzing past DP at ANY point? There were a couple of opportunistic passes because of traffic but other than that the P2 cars had to either

          1. hope DP’s have a car problem
          2. get really lucky on pit strategy

          If you took a P2 car and DP as they are configured right now and put them side by side (the best ones) the DP blows it away on the first straight and then the P2 has literally NO chance of passing them without help.

          • Iamthey

            March 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm

            Hope the dp’s have a problem? A little less than half the race under yellow ensured they wouldn’t have a problem. Those things had no chance of finishing if the race went green for the average amount of time. There toughest race is 24 hours of Daytona. All lighted, and all smooth. This sh-t is getting ridiculous.

    • Doug

      March 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      It’s also specific to Picket really. He is his own sponsor, so he can unilaterally decide to skip races while the BoP shakes out. Scott Sharp on the other hand can’t do that because he relies on outside sponsors and has a commitment to show his sponsors at races.

  3. Adrian

    March 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    This series is a joke. And the teams are starting to realize that.

    • 917

      March 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Yep, No DW, no Turner, no MMPR. Hopefully the rest will follow and put a put a end to this mess.

    • kmart

      March 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      I think The teams realize that from day 1

  4. Guest

    March 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Funny that he’s still complaining about BoP. The general consensus has been that the BoP was pretty good at Sebring. Whiners gonna whine.

    • Bakkster

      March 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      The DPs were generally considered to pull away at the beginning of a stint, since they have the power advantage and can keep more heat in their tires during a caution (which we had plenty of at Sebring).

      I agree it’s pretty good, but if there’s a late caution a DP’s going to have the advantage.

    • Ralph

      March 25, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      BOP was okay given they let the cars race. Every time they run these moronic cautions, they create mini sprints. P2 cars are at a disadvantage in a sprint as they are down on HP and the heavier DP can put heat in tires more quickly. BOP may be fair over the course of an actual endurance race but proves unfair in a 12 hr race chopped into hour segments. TUDOR is an embarrassment.

  5. JM

    March 25, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    PLEASE CHANGE ARTICLE TO TITLE;

    Muscle Milk Drops out due to corrupt fucked up series being ruined by IMSA, wanna be racers. Imsa is shit.

  6. Matt

    March 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    why would they not race during their development year? isn’t that how you gather data? at least two P2 cars were leading the pack at Sebring, what’s he whining about with BoP? can the P2 cars handle more speed? yes. would we all like to see the P2 cars go faster? yes. he’s either reacting like a spoiled brat saying “we’re not going to race unless you make it easier for us to win” or there is something else seriously wrong with their development of the car he’s not disclosing. good luck muscle milk!

  7. Fujis123

    March 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Kind of reads like an ultimatum to IMSA. Get BoP right or we are gone.

  8. Jason

    March 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I think there are reasons not being mentioned in this article somehow. Regardless, Long Beach is now down to 6 DP, 5 LMP2, and 10 GTLM. But this news about Muscle Milk does not bother me though as long as we don’t lose any GTLM’s. I know times have been shakey for the SRT and Risi Ferrari teams but hopefully they can hang in there.

    • Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

      March 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Risi’s budget is set, no worries there. SRT is set as well, they won’t be spending the money to go to Europe. Southern California is the largest car market in the US, so its important for the GT cars to be there.

      I wouldn’t bother speculating the additional reasons Pickett wants to take two races off, the sky is not falling.

    • Doug

      March 26, 2014 at 7:21 am

      Honestly I’d be happy at this point if we dropped prototypes all together and just had GTLM.

  9. Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

    March 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    LOL, the emotional overreactions are funny to read…

    I believe Turner always had it in mind to run the season opening event of the Pirelli World Challenge since its in FL. How much more expensive is it as he put it “change the oil and revert back to pure FIA GT3 specs”? Its also a toe in the water exercise the way I see it. Furthermore, owning a GT3 car gives you much wider options than owning a DP, P2 or GT-LM car.

    I am not shocked by the Deltawing pulling out (limited budget), but somewhat surprised by Pickett’s decision to basically skip his home races. Sebring basically shaked the car apart, but I guess they don’t want to risk body damage at Long Beach. Missing Laguna makes no sense or does it?

    With their 5th place finish at Daytona and completing 70% of the winners distance at Sebring they are 21 points behind (67 vs 46 points).

    I really should be saving this analyst for my own blog but I don’t think this is a bad move if reliability for the second half of the season is paramount. They will have two more long distance races to make up ground, plus the sprint races all after Le Mans, this give them plenty of time to test and be ready for Detroit.

  10. Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

    March 25, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Why you yelling??

    • Johnny

      March 25, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Breathe and relax Josh… It’s not that serious buddy. Your series will be back before you know it. You can expect tens of fans lining the fences next year just like Grand-Am had.

  11. Tucker

    March 25, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    The WEC has 41 cars entered and now the tudor series has 21 at Long Beach. Way to go nascrap.

    • Kevin Oakley

      March 25, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Last year ALMS had 12P and 10GT. Almost zero difference. And you are comparing a race with no GTD/PC to a full WEC show. If your point is pro-ALMS, car counts should probably not be the basis for your argument.

      • Mike

        March 25, 2014 at 8:53 pm

        Actually, Kevin you are wrong. I am looking at the ALMS spotter guide from Long Beach last year. 33 cars were there. 3 P1′s, 4 P2′s 10 GT’s, 6 PC’s and 10 GTC’s. I was there and have been every year since 2005. Sure if you want to cook books and play mathematics there are more cars per class this year with 22 entries. So with the 2 Mazda Prototypes that won’t even finish the race we have a stellar grid of 20 cars. Numbers don’t lie.
        I would rather have GTD at this point and exclude the Prototypes. Look at Pirelli World Challenge car count at this point for Long Beach- 41. Stupid move excluding GTD- Flying Lizards, AIM, Dempsey, no Weather Tech or the Bleekemolen (Jeroen is Mr. 24 hours) brothers in the new Viper. In 2005 when Indycar was in disarray this was my new love but now I am losing interest.

  12. 917

    March 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Spoken like a true nascar fan.

  13. Josh Green

    March 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    So what fucker?! I enjoy NASCAR. But I also enjoy , F1, WEC and my favorite driver is Derek Bell and the Lowenbrau Special. I’m tired of all you so called sports car snobs. Open your mind cuntbag!

    • Guest2

      March 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Because the NASCARization of the IMSA is what is killing the series. Ridiculous cautions pushed just to make the last few laps of each race exciting, while ruining all the other laps stuck under caution.

    • Jackson

      March 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      nobody went to Grand-Am races… Most ALMS races were packed because of good racing and professional teams

      • Adrian

        March 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        Very true. ALMS might have had small fields, but the racing was always leagues better than it was in Grand-Am.

    • 917

      March 25, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      I assume thats directed to me? Next time hit the reply button to reply to someone…Reading is fundamental

    • Iamthey

      March 26, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Wow Josh, good point! Now then, what’s your point?

  14. Guest2

    March 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Sounds like you’ve got a dick up your butt

  15. Guest2

    March 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    BOP has really got to go… Its turning into a racing series for 4 year olds. A bunch of crying and equalizing when someone actually uses their brain to gain an advantage over the other. You could also call it communist Russia- what’s the point of innovation anymore?

    • Jackson

      March 25, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      just chill out and give the series a season… France’s dream is to have the DP cars run in Le Mans and if they don’t make the p2 car equal to the DP car they will never be able to… so if France wants his dream to come true he has to balance the cars

      • 917

        March 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        “if France wants his dream to come true” a DP will actually have to pass a crash test… Good luck with that lol.

        • Jackson

          March 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

          lol, Were you a fan of ALMS or Grand-AM?

          • 917

            March 25, 2014 at 4:29 pm

            Actually both. I have always liked and cared more about the ALMS and viewed GA as something to fill in time when ALMS is not on. I have always gone to both the Rolex 24 and the Sebring 12 Hour.Having them both seprate was great but together is a mess and I hope most of the GA parts disapear quickly.

        • Doug

          March 26, 2014 at 7:23 am

          Actually, DP’s will probably never run at LeMans. 2017 is a new ACO P2 spec and I’d bet both the current P2 and DP cars will be scrapped for the new spec.

          • Mike

            March 26, 2014 at 3:26 pm

            Yep, FIA ACO says it won’t incorporate a tubular based frame for any specifications of P2′s in 2017. Bye DP’s. Well if the series is still around by then the only place they will run is in a TUSC type series and not allowed at Le Mans or any WEC event.

      • pdxracefan

        March 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm

        DP cars will never run at LeMans. Minor detail such as passing the crash test.

  16. Fujis123

    March 25, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Sheesh, I thought the name calling was only on the CNN comment section. Amazing how we’re still debating on which failed series was better. Here I settled it they both failed, can we move on?

  17. Frank

    March 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Neither failed one bought the other.

  18. Redcap

    March 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Had there been less time run under yellow at Sebring, the field would have spread out more. DP’s would have ruled the day. they just have more speed right now.

    • Iamthey

      March 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Less run time under yellow at Sebring turns the dp cars into a big pile of broken chassis and busted suspension. Long greens would have been nothing but good for p2 cars. Turns out that lighter cars are better on tires than heavy ones. Heavy dp’s tires come up to temp quicker, but also go away quicker. And what about fuel consumption? Honestly, do the p2s carry as much fuel as the dp’s?

    • Jack

      March 31, 2014 at 1:12 am

      your analysis is completely backwards, at the every long run a p2 was leading, by a fare margin, dp’s were faster on short runs and p2′s were faster on long runs and had fsster pitstops

  19. mack1956

    March 25, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    If I was giving up 150hp I’d be crying to

    • Iamthey

      March 26, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      Yep, and if I was given that hp all of a sudden as well as 60% more aero, I’d pretend that my series was always better.

  20. uspeed1

    March 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Did no-one notice the last stint from the #1 ESM car? Anyways, those who are currently working with a prototype team are well aware of a major issue among the lmp teams, the development rate. Despite the dp cars being outdated, the competitiveness of the series in the past has kept all the teams on their toes and pushing hard for years. Like it or not, when you are in a class with 1 or 2 other cars, you are not learning or being pushed enough. That’s just reality, you learn more damper tricks, adapt to the tire(!), refine your testing methods, speed up fueling etc. How much track/tunnel/7post/K&C testing time did the the average lmp vs dp team do? I’m also not interested in hearing any team complain about BoP when they can’t finish a race reliably or knock out consistent & fast pit stops, get your shit together.

    • 917

      March 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      How much did DP teams learn racing spec cars and having nascar pick the winners?

    • Iamthey

      March 26, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      So an outdated PROTOTYPE makes sense to you? I know I’m getting into this discussion kind of late, but have you ever looked up the the definition to prototype? You might notice terms like relevance and technology and future. Never outdated.

  21. Jason

    March 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    The GTLM category is the only reason why I will follow TUSK at this point. GTD is ok and is a step up from Grand Am GT, but I think it is inferior to PWC now.

    • MaskedRacer

      March 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Ranking my favorite sportscar categories in America right now from favorite to least favorite:
      1. GTLM
      2. PWC GT3
      3. GTD
      4. Prototype
      5. LMPC

  22. Guest

    March 25, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    LOL! Wow you guys are hilarious……

  23. Guest4

    March 26, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Get rid of BOP by retireing the DP’s, there’s nothing ”prototype’” about them, just a cheep, shitbox space frame with less tech than a 80′s C2 car. 30 years on and and we should really be paying to see actual prototype cars with carbon tubs, innovative power trains and efficient aero; DP is just the sports car version of NASCAR so let the piss water larger swilling red necks have em and grow some real sportscar talent. IMSA should sack it off and let the FIA control things and have a global format as it would open everything up to teams and drivers wanting to go to and from Europe and Asia; going off the state of F1 and GP2 etc, now is the time for sportscar organisation to capitalise on FOM’s failings and grow it’s fan base.

    • 917

      March 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      I could not agree more.

  24. Kirk

    March 27, 2014 at 9:28 am

    The problem is simple. The people who control the series (NASCAR/IMSA) were the series that previously had no fans. The ALMS on the other hand didn’t have the might of NASCAR behind it, but had a large group of devoted fans. So now we have the powers that be for a series that generated zero fans (Grand-Am) trying to figure out how to attract ALMS fans. Their first two offerings were to present Grand-am races – the same type of races that generated no fan interest the last ten years. Maybe over the next race or two somebody in NASCAR/IMSA will wake up and realize what it is that attracted the ALMS fans. We all know what it was, but can they figure it out?

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  26. Richard Raulerson

    April 1, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Has anybody else noted that IMSA “NEWS” never says a word about things like MM dropping out? Who do they think they are kidding by hiding the inconvenient truth?

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