MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2005) -- Johnny Mowlem and his ACEMCO Motorsports teammates battled adversity to finish fifth in class at the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Mowlem and co-driver Terry Borcheller drove the ACEMCO Saleen S7R without benefit of power steering for most of the four-hour race and were en route to a third place finish when a collision with a slower car near the end of the race knocked them off the podium.
"Again, we had no luck, but the ACEMCO car really had the speed," Mowlem said. "It's a shame that it is the last race of the season. It would be nice to have a few more races to go and win one."
Mowlem felt the race represented the team's chance to win this season.
"We were on pole, leading the race and then the power steering failed," said Mowlem. "It would taken to long to fix it, so we soldiered on for four hours without it. As Terry said, 'It was like wrestling an alligator.' "
The GT1 class is the most competitive in the ALMS. The teams include factory-back Corvettes, Aston Martins and Maseratis. The ACEMCO team was the highest- finishing private entry in the Monterey event.
In addition to the power steering problems, Borcheller had an off-track excursion after slipping in some coolant, ripping part of the floor and front diffuser off the S7R, dramatically reducing the car's front down force.
Mowlem said, "Despite all the problems, we were still fast enough to hold off the Aston Martins for third place until, with six minutes to go, a GT2 Porsche wiped me out going into the corkscrew. It was a tough way to end a tough day."
Mowlem and Borcheller finish third in the season GT1 standings. The driving teams that finished ahead of them were both from factory-backed teams.
The ACEMCO team won the independent IMSA Cup championship.
"That is a testament to the grit of everyone on the ACEMCO team," said Mowlem. "We worked flat out all year. (Car owner) Jeff Giangrande and the entire team had to change the car constantly because the rules kept changing and because we worked so hard to continue the development of the Saleen."
One of Britain's most successful and personable sports car drivers, Mowlem started his career behind the wheel at age 19. In 2004, he finished fourth in the British Racing Drivers Club Gold Star Award voting for international British racers. A married father of two, Mowlem was raised in Majorca, Spain. He has earned university degrees in economics and Spanish. More information on Mowlem is available at www.johnnymowlem.com.