MOWLEM, HYBRID CAR RUN WITH LEADERS IN ALMS RACE
MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 11, 2009) - Johnny Mowlem turned in one of the best performances of his racing career, showing the potential for the Corsa Motorsports hybrid power program during the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Mowlem, the veteran with a glittering list of career accomplishments, qualified the team's Ginetta-Zytek 09HS sixth overall, 4th in the top prototype class in the American Le Mans Series race and had the car running with the leaders before his co-driver, Stefan Johansson, encountered some technical problems which dropped them to fourth in the LMP1 class and fifth overall.
"I had such an enjoyable 2 hours at the start of the race," Mowlem said. "The Corsa Motorsport team, along with the Zytek hybrid engineers, made a good step forward with the car, which meant that I had a package underneath me that allowed me to push hard. One by one we picked off the cars in front and took the car right to the front in second place overall, only ten seconds behind the Gil de Ferran factory Accura. In fact, that number 66 car was the only car in the race that we didn't overtake! It made a pleasant change to run right at the sharp end, especially with such new technology, and it revitalised both myself but also the entire team, as we finally showed what the hybrid technology is capable of. It's just a shame it's the last race of the season, and not the first, but it still gives Steve Pruitt and the whole Corsa team a good foundation to build on over the winter."
At the two-hour mark, when Mowlem pitted, he had passed every car except the then leader and eventual over winner, the De Ferran Motorsports Accura.
Stefan Johansson then took over and continued the good work, but unfortunately a little way into his stint he then lost the power steering due to an electrical short which dropped the #48 Ginetta Zytek to sixth. They then clawed their way back up to 4th overall and what looked like an LMP1 podium when bad luck struck with 30 minutes left in the race, with a right rear puncture costing them time and dropping them back to fifth place overall, fourth in the LMP1 class.
Mowlem has been the prime development driver as the team has spent the season making the Kinetic Energy Recovery System hybrid power system work in a competitive atmosphere and matching the Zytek chassis with the power system.
"We've all worked hard," Mowlem said. "The first two hours of today's race showed what all the work has accomplished. It was a hard, difficult day but we raced with the best in the world and got ahead of most of them for a while."
A member of the select group of drivers with wins in both the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the 24 Hours of Daytona, Mowlem has enjoyed a history of success at the Northern California track. Mowlem's first ALMS win, in 1999, came at Mazda Raceway. He has recorded podium finishes at the facility in both GT and prototype cars since then.