Defending American Le Mans Series champions Muscle Milk Pickett Racing began their 2013 campaign well as they topped the times on the opening day of Winter Testing at Sebring International Raceway yesterday.

The team lapped the circuit in a best time of 1:47.414 (125.347 mph) with German Lucas Luhr behind the wheel of the #6 Muscle Milk Honda Performance Development ARX-03c. Luhr will once again share driving duties with fellow countryman Klaus Graf this season.

Luhr said:  “It’s been quite a long winter and offseason. The last time I was in the car was just before Christmas, but I was looking forward to coming back here and get away from the cold European weather, ice and snow. It’s been quite a productive day for us. Sebring is always very tough to compare lap times, this year versus last year and so on.

“I’ve been coming here since 2000, so when you come back for the race, everything is different anyhow. We just want to go through our programs. We still have a lot to learn with our new package and a lot of things we want to try. Overall, I’m quite happy. It was a productive day and we went quicker than last year in qualifying, and it’s just a bonus.”

In the Prototype Challenge Class the #8 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 set the pace with a lap of 1:55.831 (116.238 mph). The time was set during the morning session to give co-drivers Kyle Marcelli, Chris Cumming and Stefan Johansson top spot in their category.

In GT, Risi Competizione marked their full time return to ALMS by heading the class with their #62 Ferrari F458 Italia shared by Olivier Beretta and series newcomer Matteo Malucelli. They lapped the circuit in a best time of 2:01.645 (110.683 mph).

The fastest GTC lap of the day went to the #66 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup shared by Ben Keating, Damien Faulkner and Craig Stanton. They set a benchmark time of 2:06.514 (106.423 mph) late on in the afternoon session.

Testing concludes today with another full day of track action, with the first race of the season, the Twelve Hours of Sebring  taking place in just over a month’s time on Saturday 16th March.