Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will make the switch from a HPD to an ORECA prototype in 2014, having announced Thursday that it will campaign a Nissan-powered Oreca 03 in next year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The two-time American Le Mans Series P1 champions, along with Dyson Racing, were faced with having to find new prototype machinery for 2014 due to the elimination of the top-level prototype class in the merged series.
“This is an exciting time for us at Muscle Milk Pickett Racing as we welcome ORECA as our new partner,” team owner Greg Pickett said. “After winning the last two P1 Championships in the American Le Mans Series, it was important for us to choose a partner for our new adventure into the TUDOR Championship, that can help us continue, and build on, the success we’ve known so far.
“Our success the last couple of years was only made possible by our commitment to work closely and collaboratively with our friends and partners at HPD, Wirth [Research] and Michelin. Although we will miss working with them, our commitment to ORECA will be exactly the same.”
Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr, who combined for 18 wins in 28 ALMS starts together, will share the wheel again next year.
It will mark the first Oreca 03 to compete in the U.S. full-time, having been a dominant force in the European Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship over the last two seasons.
“I very much look forward to getting into the ORECA/Nissan prototype car,” Graf said. “This combination has been the dominant package. We looked very hard into what would be the best way to move forward for us and the ORECA 03 LM P2 with a Nissan engine was the one to have in the past and I’m pretty confident that it will be the same in the future. It has won many races and hopefully we can win many more.
Luhr added: “I had a chance to drive a Nissan powered P2 at Le Mans and I had a lot of fun. Hopefully, we can continue with this new package the success we had with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing last year. The ORECA has shown it can win races and our goal is to give them more wins.”
Pickett, who confirmed to Sportscar365 plans for an expansion in October, also submitted a Prototype Challenge entry for next year, although it currently sits as the first reserve in the class.
Its plans for a GT program is understood to have evolved over the last two months and is unclear if they’ll also be on the grid in the production-based ranks next year.