Road Atlanta: Johnny Mowlem race report

MOWLEM, ACEMCO TEAM PREPARE FOR ALMS RACE AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, Ohio (April 20, 2005) -- The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with all its challenges, is the next stop for Johnny Mowlem and his ACEMCO Motorsports team as they race along the 2005...

MOWLEM, ACEMCO TEAM PREPARE FOR ALMS RACE AT MID-OHIO

LEXINGTON, Ohio (April 20, 2005) -- The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with all its challenges, is the next stop for Johnny Mowlem and his ACEMCO Motorsports team as they race along the 2005 American Le Mans Series schedule.

Mowlem and co-driver Terry Borcheller will drive their Saleen S7R at Mid-Ohio mindful that the track was the site of one of the team's finest races last season.

"It's a track that suits us well as a team," Mowlem said. "We've tested there in the past and we have a very good feel for what the car wants there."

Mowlem and Borcheller finished eighth in the overall scoring and fourth in the GT1 class in the Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta. The GT1 class of the ALMS is among the most competitive classes in North American sports car racing this season. It features production-based sports cars, some with factory-based teams.

"It's a bit frustrating," Mowlem said. "We've been competitive in each of the first two races this year, but we don't have the results to show for it. I think all of us feel the race at Mid-Ohio could be our break-out race."

In the Road Atlanta race, shortly after taking over the ACEMCO S7R from Borcheller, Mowlem managed to pass the Maserati for third place, which became second place when one of the factory Corvettes made a mistake and went into the gravel trap at turn 10. However, with only 30 minutes of the race left, a late caution period allowed the Corvette that had gone into the gravel trap to get a wave by from the pace car and get his lap back. The Maserati passed Mowlem whilst the Saleen was in the pits for a late splash of fuel. This subsequently dropped the ACEMCO team from a podium position whilst in sight of the chequered flag for the second race in succession.

"Despite losing second place very late on in the event, it was still a great race. Terry and I and the whole team really battled hard, and with us running in second for so long, it looked for a while like things were going our way." Mowlem said. "We were pushing the factory Corvette and Maserati. Our Saleen package has all the basics in place, but now we just have to fine-tune everything to release this car's true potential. Having said that, they say it's better to be lucky than good, and recently we sure don't seem to be getting much luck!!"

The Atlanta race was the first for the Saleen under a new rule interpretation that altered the size of the rear wing the team uses.

"The new wing changed the car's personality dramatically," Mowlem said. "The car lost a lot of downforce and that changed the way we had to drive it. Rules are rules, but it is a little confusing because in this case the rule itself did not change; it's an old rule. What has changed is the sanctioning body's reading of the rule. It certainly means that we have had to start over in terms of our aero package, and at this point in the season that is going to take us a number of races to recover."

The ALMS uses the rules produced for the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

One of Britain's most successful and personable sports car drivers, Mowlem started his career behind the wheel at age 19. In 2003, 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.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Terry Borcheller , Johnny Mowlem