Friends and Rivals
Friends and Rivals
You may expect that the two top competitors in the 2012 American Le Mans Series Prototype class, Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson and Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s Greg Pickett, would be bitter rivals. You would be very wrong.
“We have no better friends in ALMS than Chris and Rob Dyson,” said Pickett. “On the track we are fierce rivals, but we try to race each other hard and clean and when the race is over we exchange high-fives. We root for each other and pat each other on the back.”
“The Dysons even helped us come into the ALMS by selling us their old Porsche RS Spyder. We have great respect for Chris and Rob and their team,” said Pickett.
The two teams, winners of ALMS prototype honors in six of the nine races last season, literally come from different directions. The 2011 champions from Dyson are Poughkeepsie, New York-based, while Pickett and his Muscle Milk squad call Benicia, California, home.
Both teams have new cars for 2012; Muscle Milk has chosen the new Honda-powered HPD ARX-03a while Dyson stays with Mazda power aboard a new Lola. They do not agree on tires either, with Pickett choosing Michelin while Dyson runs with Dunlop.
To wrest the ALMS title from Dyson and his co-driver Guy Smith, Pickett has assembled a powerful driver line-up for the 2012 season. The Muscle Milk squad pairs World GT1 champion and former Audi factory ace Lucas Luhr with veteran Klaus Graf. Here at Sebring, the team seasons the mix with Simon Pagenaud, runner-up at 2011 Sebring and Le Mans.
Pickett’s quest for the title hasn’t stopped with a new car and drivers. “Michelin has come to the table with some new developments for our LMP1 car and we are looking forward to testing new constructions and compounds,” said Pickett. “We want to be a tougher team, we need to be a tough team to beat the Dyson team and focus on winning the championship.”
While the Muscle Milk team readies its title challenge, Dyson has taken on their own double challenge. Not only will they debut a new Lola Mazda at Sebring, but for the first time the team will enter a pair of cars for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
“We have a unique opportunity with two automatic entries earned by winning the 2011 ALMS championship and the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge,” said Chris Dyson. “We want to take on the new challenge of Le Mans. We have never tried it before.”
That doesn’t mean they will be distracted here in the ALMS. “Our primary goal is to defend the championship here in the ALMS,” said Dyson.
“We are racing against our best friends in racing,” said Dyson. “Neither wants to lose, but after a race, we exchange high-fives and have a meal together. It is healthy rivalry and built on mutual respect.”