American Le Mans Series

Honda Performance Development Complete ALMS Californian Sweep

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As Muscle Milk Pickett Racing won in LMP1, Level 5 Motorsports scored a 1-2 in P2 (Photo Credit: American Le Mans Series)

Honda Performance Development swept the American Le Mans Series Prototype Categories once again, as Muscle Milk Pickett Racing took a hard fought victory over Rebellion Racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After four hours of racing, the HPD machine of Muscle Milk came home just 6 seconds ahead of the Toyota of Rebellion Racing in a battle which featured multiple lead changes and unfortunate contact between the two in the closing stages.

The decisive point in the race between the two came with 37 minutes remaining, when the pair split their way around a slower GT Challenge class Porsche. As the pair passed the Porsche, they went on to make heavy contact at Turn 3, forcing Neel Jani in the Rebellion Racing machine to pit for repairs, handing the victory to the Muscle Milk team of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr.

The LMP1 victory for Honda was repeated in the LMP2 class, as Level 5 Motorsports took a strong 1-2 finish led by Marino Franchitti and Scott Tucker, marking the second successive year that Honda Performance Development have swept both Californian rounds of the ALMS, following victories for Muscle Milk and Extreme Speed Motorsports in both LMP1 and LMP2 at Long Beach in April.

Level 5 dominated the LMP2 class after the Extreme Speed cars suffered early race problems, although Guy Cosmo and Scott Speed managed to fight their way back into third in class, meaning HPD powered machines swept the podium in LMP2.

“Congratulations to both Muscle Milk Pickett Racing for their exciting overall win at Laguna Seca and to Level 5 for their 1-2 finish in LMP2,” said Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Griffiths. “LMP1 is proving to be very competitive this year, but we welcome the challenge at HPD and Muscle Milk/Pickett Racing is doing an incredible job. In LMP2, Level 5 had a nearly flawless weekend, although Long Beach winners Extreme Speed encountered issues with tire punctures on one car, while the other suffered a recurring issue in the wiring that the team and HPD will investigate. Level 5 has again demonstrated why it is one of the top teams in LMP2 worldwide, and the team should be well-prepared for next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, as HPD seeks its third class victory in our fourth appearance at this great event.”

HPD will field two single car squads for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 22/23, with World Endurance Championship regulars Strakka Racing in LMP1 and Level 5 Motorsports in LMP2.

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Based in Mid-Wales, James joined TCF at the start of the 2013 season, covering a range of disciplines, predominantly Motorcycle Road Racing and NASCAR. Follow him on Twitter @JCCharman
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