Laguna Seca: Johnny Mowlem race report

MOWLEM'S CHARGE FALLS SHORT AT LAGUNA SECA MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2006) -- Johnny Mowlem, long regarded as one of the classiest drivers among the world's GT competitors, gave the factory-backed Zytek 06S prototype a great ride in the...

MOWLEM'S CHARGE FALLS SHORT AT LAGUNA SECA

MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2006) -- Johnny Mowlem, long regarded as one of the classiest drivers among the world's GT competitors, gave the factory-backed Zytek 06S prototype a great ride in the Monterey Sports Car Championship race for the final American Le Mans Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Mowlem took over for co-driver Stefan Johansson and led the race before having to serve a penalty for a pit road rule infraction.

"I took the restart after the long safety car period and managed to get past the leading Porsche and pull out a four-second lead in one lap" Mowlem said. "But unfortunately I had already been told that I had to pit to serve a penalty for the team working on the car whilst the pits were closed. That effectively cost us nearly two laps, which was huge shame as we were as fast as any car in the field, even after the penalty. We should have won that race."

Johansson was ruled to have entered pit road after the pits were closed due to a caution flag. The penalty was the number 15 Zytek's second, following an earlier 15 second stop and go for contact with a Ferrari. The pit stop infraction penalty of one minute, 15 seconds cost the team two laps.

Mowlem returned to the track and in the final hour and a half was able to pass every car in the field at least once, with the exception of the winning Audi. Mowlem and Johansson eventually finished 5th in LMP1, completing 157 laps around the 2.23-mile venue.

Mowlem's popularity among race fans and the sport's journalists has made him a standard pre-race interview subject. The personable Britisher was also in demand for post-race interviews at Laguna Seca.

"Even after the penalty, I thought we could win the race, as we'd already come back from one lap down, but that final penalty just killed it for us." Mowlem said. "We were every bit as fast as anyone out there and that's what pushes me on, the chance to win. The whole Zytek team and Stefan did an awesome job and it's always hard to accept when one ends up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!"

One of Britain's most successful and personable sports car drivers, Mowlem started his career behind the wheel at age 19. He was named the 2005 UK Reading Sports Personality of the Year, an honor reserved for the top sports performers in his region. 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.

-credit: le

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Series ALMS
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Johnny Mowlem