St. Pete: Corsa Motorsports race report

CORSA MOTORSPORTS TAKES FOURTH IN GT2 AT ST. PETERSBURG Team Is Second-Finishing Ferrari in Debut with Dunlop ST. PETERSBERG, FL -- Corsa Motorsports made its 2008 racing debut Saturday at the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg in...

CORSA MOTORSPORTS TAKES FOURTH IN GT2 AT ST. PETERSBURG
Team Is Second-Finishing Ferrari in Debut with Dunlop

ST. PETERSBERG, FL -- Corsa Motorsports made its 2008 racing debut Saturday at the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg in stunning fashion, finishing just shy of the GT2 podium in fourth place in the American Le Mans Series. The No. 48 was the second-finishing Ferrari and the first of the GT2 class not racing a Michelin tire.

"We came into this weekend with a lot of anticipation and we are leaving with momentum; it's a great feeling," commented Steve Pruitt, team owner and principal. "There has been anticipation and anxiety, but today there was reward, and it's extremely pleasing to see how well our team came together on race day and how hard the drivers worked to take care of the equipment. Fourth place is fantastic and it gives us something to build from heading to Long Beach in two weeks. We're especially thankful to Dunlop for its help in making this happen."

Johnny Mowlem qualified and started the car in the 8th position of the class, quickly made up two spots, then took a third about 18 minutes into the run. Mowlem raced hard under green-flag conditions for 40 minutes before signaling that the scorching heat in the cockpit of the Ferrari was becoming too much. Caution fell a minute later giving the team an opportunity to put second driver Gunnar Jeannette behind the wheel.

Getting into the car after an exhausted Mowlem exited, Jeannette understood a daunting task was ahead. "I knew the car was hot and Johnny was worn out by the heat. This course demands so much of a driver," he said. "As a competitor, you want to get into the car and attack, but I knew I faced over and hour and ten minutes in the car, so I just had to settle in, race smart and save myself."

Jeannette restarted in position six of the GT2 field. Engineer and strategist Rob Taylor immediately instructed Jeannette to save fuel because the timing of the stop would allow for a one-stop race. Incidents and attrition, in addition to smart driving allowed Jeannette to move up the field to fourth place by the end of the race.

"There was some fortune involved, but that's racing and it goes both ways as we have well learned," explained Pruitt. "We had two hours of practice on this tire. We earned points today; we are taking a clean car home to Salt Lake City; the drivers did a fabulous taking care of the equipment and overall, we're very, very excited. We're glad we were able to race for sponsor Alabama Motorsports Park in a market that is closest to its future home around the Gulf in Mobile."

Mowlem shared Pruitt's excitement. "Fantastic! It was an excellent result given that we only had Friday's practice sessions to test the car on the tire Dunlop provided," Mowlem said. "The car performed well and I couldn't be happier for Steve Pruitt and all of Corsa Motorsports that we were able to come to St. Petersburg and come so close to the podium. It's really pleasing and simply fantastic."

Corsa Motorsports finished 14th overall in the four-class field.

-credit: cm

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Gunnar Jeannette , Johnny Mowlem