DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has joined forces with Nissan, becoming its official partner team in the United States as Nissan aims to return to its glory days of sports car success from the late 80s and early 90s.
The partnership will see the two-time championship winning team not only be powered by Nissan throughout the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, but also take part in the Japanese manufacturer’s Nismo Global Driver Exchange.
As part of the program, which was launched last year to provide drivers in the Nissan ‘family’ to contest major events across the globe, racers from Nissan’s squad of international talent will compete alongside Muscle Milk’s Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta.
The first driver to join the German duo is Nissan P2 World Endurance Championship regular Alex Brundle, who will take part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
It will be the young Brit’s first opportunity to compete in a major US championship event as he looks to follow in the footsteps of his father Martin Brundle who won the famed 24-hour event 26 years ago in 1988.
Brundle previously drove for Oak Racing in 2013 in the FIA World Endurance Championship where he finished second in both the Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM P2 class.
“Nissan has developed a great initiative with their Nismo Global Driver Exchange program and have a lot of young talent that we look forward to having join us throughout the season, starting with Alex Brundle at Daytona,” said Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team owner Greg Pickett. “I’m anxious to see Alex behind the wheel of our Muscle Milk ORECA/Nissan and I’m confident he will fit right in just fine with Klaus (Graf) and Lucas (Luhr).”
Graf and Luhr’s co-drivers for the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans will be announced at a later time.
“We’re extremely pleased to become Nissan’s official partner team and to have them as part of the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing family,” said Pickett. “Nissan are proven race winners throughout the world and together we want to build a strong relationship that will help us continue the success that we’ve both come to enjoy. We’re excited to not only have our prototype be powered by Nissan but to also be involved with them at a deeper level.”
Nissan’s return to top-level US sports car racing comes with an impressive background. The manufacturer contested 121 IMSA events from 1985 to 1992, winning 33 races, taking 36 poles and earning four drivers’ and three manufacturer’s championships. Geoff Brabham won four consecutive IMSA driver’s championships 1988, 89, 90, 91.
In more recent statistics, Nissan-powered LM P2 cars took pole position and race victory at every round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series and the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the Le Mans 24 Hours.