Dubai 24H: Johnny Mowlem race report


DUBAI (Jan. 15, 2011) -- Johnny Mowlem and his Lotus Racing teammates stormed around the Dubai Autodrome and finished third in class in the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai.

"It was a little bit a case of what might have been, as we had a really great race car," Mowlem said. "We overcame a great field of cars and some hard luck to finish 21st overall."

Racing for the factory team, Mowlem knew before the event started that his was among the strongest entries in the field of 90 cars. But the car did not clear customs and arrive at the spectacular 5.39-kilometer facility until the night before the race. Mowlem's five laps during the morning warm-up were his first ever around the facility.

Obviously a quick learner, Mowlem drove the first two hours of the race and exited with the car running first in class and 25th overall.

"I had a bit of fun there," the popular British driver admitted. "I had to drive in a very disciplined way, dealing with all that traffic, but it was very satisfying to overtake the class leading Aston Martin just before the end of my 2 hour opening stint, and hand the lead to Lotus."

The Lotus Evora ran as high as 17th overall, but eventually the car developed drive shaft issues and dropped in the running order. But the resourceful Lotus team solved the issue and the car was back among the fastest in the field.

"This was a good test for the 24-hour spec Lotus GT4," Mowlem said. "It could have been a class win and a top 10 overall. We set the fastest lap of the race during the night, so there is obviously more in the car. The car is right on the pace."

Mowlem's co-drivers at Dubai were Leo Mansell and his brother, Greg, Stefano D'Aste and his Vallelunga driving partner, Gianni Giudici.

"Everybody drove beautifully", said Johnny, "Leo obviously already had GT experience and that showed and Greg did incredibly well seeing that his first ever time in the car was during the race and at night! Stefano fitted into the team really well and Gianni brought the car to the chequered flag."

Mowlem is the official test and development driver for the Lotus sports car program. The race at Dubai was his third in that capacity. He has collected two podium finishes, one of them a victory, in the three races. One of the most respected sports car racers in the world, Mowlem owns victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

-source: johnny mowlem

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