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Nissan and Muscle Milk make it official - Nissan back in Le Mans with NISMO

Nissan's NISMO is now officially sponsoring Muscle Milk for the 2014 series and will have driver exchanges for races like the Rolex 24, Sebring, and Petit. Will the company dominate like it did in the 80s?

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, Nissan owned American motorsports. Now, the company looks to return to those glory days with a NISMO partnership with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing as an official partner team.

The coming together means two things: Muscle Milk Pickett Racing gets closer sponsorship and affiliation with Nissan and Nissan gets to rotate through NISMO drivers as well as utilize the expertise of the Pickett team in other arenas.

The Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team took back-to-back championships at the American Le Mans Series and is one of the highest-regarded teams in American racing sports. They will be powered by Nissan for 2014 starting with the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

"We're glad to welcome Muscle Milk Pickett Racing to the Nissan family and look forward to having our official drivers learn from such a successful team," said Darren Cox, Nissan Global Motorsport Director. "Greg Pickett and his team have achieved incredible results in recent years and having them as part of the NISMO Global Driver Exchange program will be an outstanding opportunity for our drivers."

The two companies are not strangers, of course. Muscle Milk Picket Racing's Lucas Luhr was on Nissan's team when he won the 2011 GT1 World Championship in a GT-R with popular Nissan racer Michael Krumm as his team driver.

Nissan's NISMO team will be trading drivers with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing in various races this year, putting some of the NISMO drivers into sport car seats outside of the GT-R and 370Z's circuits. The Rolex 24 at Daytona will have Alex Brundle from Nissan's P2 Endurance Championship team following in his father Martin's footsteps for the round-the-clock classic - Martin Brundle won that event in 1988. This will be the younger Brundle's first contest in a major U.S. championship event.

At the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans, NISMO drivers will get behind the wheel of the Muscle Milk ORECA 03 prototype class entry. That car sees its next run at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 this weekend. The TUDOR Daytona event begins January 25.