Muscle Milk Team CytoSport made the most of problems for rivals Patron Highcroft Racing to secure LMP2 honours in the Sebring Twelve Hours, the opening event of the 2010 American Le Mans Series season.
The victory marked the first Sebring victory for Klaus Graf and the fifth for Sascha Maassen. For Greg Pickett, the victory marked a return to the top of the Sebring podium for the first time since 1987.
Starting second, the Porsche RS Spyder, driven by Pickett, fell to third in the opening laps but quickly returned to its second place in class when the Dyson Racing Mazda encountered difficulties and entered pit lane.
Pickett who was putting in consistent lap times completed his double stint handing the driving duties to Klaus Graf about two hours into the race. Already one lap behind the LMP2 class leaders, Graf was quickly catching up to the Highcroft HPD ARX-01c but had to make a pit stop for fuel only, thanks to the superb performance of the Michelin tyres.
While coming in to the pits, Graf went over the pit lane speed limit and had to serve a stop and go penalty, costing him some precious time on the leader.
With Graf completing his double stint he handed the reins to Porsche ace Maassen and by the halfway point, the team was sitting second in class, and fifth overall but was two laps down to the LMP2 leaders.
With about three hours and 30 minutes to go in the race, the team had fallen five lap behind the leaders, but when Highcroft ran into issues, the Porsche swept through into a lead it would keep until the finish.
"This is a very, very special win,” team owner Pickett said. “Sebring is even more difficult than most longer races. I've run the 24 Hours of Daytona many times and this race is more difficult than that. It's tougher on the cars, the surface is just unbelievable, it's hard to pass here, you have to be careful. Bringing your team together and growing it together it's almost like a family, everybody here gets along so well and they're doing it for the right reason.
“You can't pay guys really enough money to do this with the kind of energy that they do it, they have to love it and they have to bring a lot of passion and that is something that we work hard at trying to create in our business at Muscle Milk. It's the same philosophy that we put in place here and it's been pretty good for our fifth time out in this car. We've only had podiums before but to now win this contest against the competition that we had is very special indeed. No question about it."