Despite having set its sights on tackling the Le Mans 24 Hours later this season, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has confirmed that it will not now be taking part in this year's race.

While the team was initially planning to return to the famed event, upon further reflection a couple of different factors have forced it to make the tough decision of turning down their invitation and put all its effort into focusing on the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Running a new car in a new series, with new rules and new competition was deemed too great a task to have focus diverted, even for Le Mans.

"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," team owner Greg Pickett explained, "Initially, even being able to get tyres for Le Mans was a real problem. Michelin, our partner for the last few years, said 'no chance' [but], 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.

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"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.

"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."

After a strong performance at the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month, the team is hard at work getting ready for the second round of the TUDOR Championship, which takes place at Sebring International Raceway on 15 March, beginning with a series-sanctioned test scheduled for 20-21 February.

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest is due to reveal the full 2014 Le Mans entry list later today [Thursday].