A couple of brief notes from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship after the Rolex 24 at Daytona aftermath…
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing announced Wednesday the team will not take up its automatic invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team will instead focus solely on the TUDOR Championship season with its new ORECA 03 Nissan.
Per team principal Greg Pickett, there were a couple reasons to decide that now. The biggest issue from a tire standpoint was simply supply, with a significant increase to Michelin’s number of technical partner teams expected in Thursday’s entry release.
“Initially, even being able to get Michelin tires for Le Mans was a real problem,” Pickett explained via a team release, since the ORECA would need to be changed over from Continental to Michelin or another tire manufacturer for Le Mans.
“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.
“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. 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.”
The team finished fifth at the Rolex 24, best overall of the teams from the American Le Mans Series and running a P2-spec car.
Additionally, Pickett’s third driver at the Rolex 24, Alex Brundle, will be in another Nissan-powered P2 car for further TUDOR Championship events this season.
The young Englishman, son of Martin Brundle, will race with OAK Racing at the three remaining Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup events (Sebring, Watkins Glen, Petit Le Mans) and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.
OAK has confirmed Gustavo Yacaman for the full season in the No. 42 Morgan Nissan, but hasn’t named the other co-driver yet.