Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will not compete in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as originally planned.
Revealed in a Sportscar365 exclusive last month, team owner Greg Pickett confirmed his intentions to take his Indianapolis-based team to the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic in LMP2 after receiving an automatic invite from IMSA.
However, those plans have been reversed, which will let the team focus on its full-season efforts in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with its Oreca 03 Nissan.
“We were really looking forward to returning to Le Mans, and I was excited about getting back behind the wheel, but we need to do what is right for the team at this present time,” Pickett said.
“Initially, even being able to get Michelin tires for Le Mans was a real problem. Michelin, our partner the last few years, said ‘no chance’.
“However, through the great efforts of Hugues de Chaunac of ORECA and the ACO, we had made some progress at the very end of the deadline period. Nothing for sure, but perhaps… We sincerely appreciated everyone’s efforts on our behalf.”
Pickett, 66, was due to be part of the driving squad alongside the team’s regular pilots Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr. Muscle Milk competed in the 2008 edition of the race in a LMP1 class Lola B08/60 Judd.
“We’ve gone to Le Mans in the past and we know how much work it takes to get to and be well prepared for that race,” Pickett added. “We also know how much work it takes to fight for a championship, especially with a new car, which is why we’ve decided to solely focus on the TUDOR Championship this season.
“We’ve seen what we’re up against following the 24 hours of Daytona, and that is a very steep hill to climb. While we know that we can battle with the best, we want to ensure that we’re not leaving anything on the table in this Championship fight.
“We still have the desire to go to Le Mans, more than anything, and we hope to have the chance to in the near future, but this year, just isn’t the right time for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing.”
The withdrawal of Muscle Milk’s planned Le Mans entry results in not a single U.S.-based TUDOR Championship team being represented in the prototype classes this year.
Another American squad had considered a LMP2 program for 2014 but those plans also failed to materialize.