INDIANAPOLIS - Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has opted to sit out the next two rounds of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Long Beach and Laguna Seca to focus on reliability and performance testing with its ORECA Nissan.
With the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the GRAND AM Series, Pickett Racing had one of its shortest off-seasons and with only five weeks between receiving their car and having to be on track at Daytona, they were unable to spend their usual amount of time preparing and learning about their new P2 ORECA Nissan.
Having ran P1 cars on Michelin tires the past few years, the team is faced with a lot of new elements in 2014: a new car, a new prototype class and new Continental tires, a brand not only new to the team but also to the ORECA 03 LMP2 prototype.
While the team got through the 24 Hours of Daytona with no major glitches, they did encounter a couple of issues at Sebring International Raceway, one of which ended their race.
With all of this in mind, the team decided that it was in their best long-term interest to spend the time testing and gathering more knowledge of its new prototype while missing two races before coming back at Detroit at the end of May.
Furthermore, Pickett Racing also wants to study how the balance of performance between the Daytona Prototypes and the P2 cars pans out over the next couple of races.
"It's never an easy decision to make when deciding to miss a race, let alone two," Team Owner Greg Pickett said. "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," he said.
"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.
"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," Pickett said.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will return to action at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park May 30-31 for the Detroit Grand Prix.