MOWLEM TESTS FORMULA ONE CAR AT SILVERSTONE SILVERSTONE, England (Feb. 23, 2007) -- British professional sportscar racer Johnny Mowlem, has already had a pretty varied career from his early years in single...
MOWLEM TESTS FORMULA ONE CAR AT SILVERSTONE
SILVERSTONE, England (Feb. 23, 2007) -- British professional sportscar racer Johnny Mowlem, has already had a pretty varied career from his early years in single seaters up to the current day and his GT and prototype sportscar drives. But now Mowlem is going back to his single seater roots, testing a Formula One car.
"Trevor Foster from Zytek Engineering e-mailed me while I was testing the Ferrari 430 in Vallelunga (Italy), asking if I was available to do a shakedown in a Formula 1 car at Silverstone. "Obviously I gave it some serious thought before saying yes --. all of a nanosecond!" the happy Johnny Mowlem said.
Mowlem is doing the driving as a key component is installed in an F1 Arrows A22 car. It is essentially the same tub and chassis that was originally used by the Super Aguri Formula One team to start their race program in 2006.
Mowlem explained, "Zytek Engineering are installing their paddle gear shift system for the first time onto a modern Formula One car, the same as they already have on the A1GP car and, of course, the Zytek 06S, which I raced last year in the ALMS. So basically they needed me to do a systems check for them and evaluate shift cuts and downshift blip lengths, etcetera. We were due to run on Wednesday, which was dry, on the Stowe circuit, but never made it out on the track, so I drove it yesterday, (Thursday) instead. It was wet, and we weren't yet running traction control, but the car was incredibly nimble even in the wet and with all that power it was great fun!"
The car is powered by a 3.5-liter V-10 AsiaTech engine. This produces about 900 horsepower for a car that only weighs 600 kilos, including the driver. The engineers set the engine limiters to 15,000 rpm in order to protect the engine through the length of the test. The limiter is normally set at 17,000 rpm.
Mowlem anticipated that it would be feel like a rocket ship, and he was not disappointed!
" Even driving it at seven-tenths or so in the wet, it felt fast, but not mind boggling fast compared to say the Zytek 06S LMP1. I could throw it around a little bit and get opposite lock slides -- and with no traction control, I had wheel spin everywhere!"
When the day was finished, he got another surprise.
"I got out thinking well that was great fun, shame it was wet and then they asked me if I could come back again next week, on the Silverstone International circuit and run in the dry! We need to do quite a bit of calibration with the shifting, especially on the downshifts to help settle the car on corner entry, and this is tough to do on such a short circuit as the Stowe circuit, especially in the wet. I believe we may also be running traction control the next time as well, so I'll really get to feel the full potency of a modern Formula One car."