The privately run Cytosport squad for Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf took their maiden win in the American Le Mans Series, coming out on top after a frantic battle in the closing stage of the two-hour, 45-minute race.
Driving a Porsche RS Spyder in the series' combined Prototype class Klaus Graf fought wheel to wheel with the HPD ARX-01 of Patron Highcroft Racing, alledgedly forcing the championship leaders off the track (they picked up a puncture in the process) a move which was punished with a stop-and-go penalty for blocking.
However, with their rivals for the race forced to pit for repairs Graf was able to retain the lead despite the penalty, going onto win by nearly 30 seconds, the Highcroft team maintaining second place.
The pair of cars had been involved in a race long exchange of lap times, Pickett and Graf recovering from a bad start to reel in the leader, taking the lead on lap 93 when Highcroft made their a scheduled pitstop.
Now in the lead it was Graf's turn to be reeled in by David Brabham in the HPD car, despite Graf running at qualifying pace to try and preserve his lead, but when Brabham caught Graf with under 15 minutes remaining the stage was set for one of the most dramatic finishes of recent years in the ALMS.
“During the first 45 minutes of the race, Greg kept up with the leaders and that was great,” said Graf. “For me it was clear that I had to keep our rivals under constant pressure during my two-hour stint. Our team's pit stops were fantastic. The key to our success was most certainly the support from Porsche and Michelin.”
The team also won the Michelin Green X Challenge for the Prototype class, awarded to the most efficient car in a series which prides itself on green credentials.
The race was another milestone in a terrific season for the Muscle Milk backed team which began with a P2 class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring – again beating the Highcroft crew.