A year may have already gone by since Muscle Milk Pickett Racing's last visit to Road America, but last season's trip to the Elkhart Lake track is still fresh in the minds of everyone on the team.
The 2011 edition of the American Le Mans Series round at Road America was a nail-biter to the finish that saw Pickett Racing come away with a win that was the closest finish in the history of the ALMS, with Klaus Graf crossing the finish line 0.112 seconds ahead of Guy Smith.
"Last year the race finish was the closest in ALMS history and we came out at the better end, so hopefully we can repeat that this year," Graf said. "This track always produces very close racing, so we should expect nothing less from this year's race."
The win, from pole, was the first for the Muscle Milk squad at Road America, after finishing second and third the two previous years.
This season, Graf and Luhr are returning to defend their title on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course hot off a five-race winning streak, which is the longest consecutive overall race win streak for a driver pairing.
"Winning five in a row is very special and we would like nothing more than to keep it going," Luhr said. "That said, the pressure is on, but that is nothing new in racing."
The team's latest victory marked Luhr's 40th career win. The German is now only missing two to join Olivier Beretta atop the all-time ALMS Most Wins chart. Additionally, with his pole at Mid-Ohio, he also climbed to second on the most ALMS career Fast Qualifier list.
With four rounds to go this season, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing heads to Road America with a 16 point lead over Dyson Racing in the ALMS Championship.
"The Road America track is very nice and fast," Luhr said. "It's going to be tough for us because the Dyson car is very fast in a straight line, so that will be an added challenge, but one that I know everyone at Muscle Milk Pickett Racing is ready to face. It's not because we have won all these races so far this year that we can sit back and relax."
The team was on the track with its Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a Thursday for a test session before taking part in practice and qualifying today.
"Although our main competitor has a slight straight line speed advantage, I expect our Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a to perform extremely well," Graf said. "However there will be a lot of work ahead of us to trim the car perfectly."
The Road America Road Race Showcase goes green on Saturday, August 18 at 3:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. The race will be broadcast on tape delay on ESPN2 on Sunday, August 19 between 2 and 4 p.m.