Johnny Mowlem's musings

I seem to have been very busy over the last month or so. First I had back-to-back races in Mid-Ohio and Road America. Then there were several Porsche commitments as soon as I got back at various less glamorous locations! Finally, last week, I shared a Formula BMW and Silverstone circuit, with factory BMW driver Jorg Muller and a couple of reasonable peddlers - Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher!

Johnny Mowlem's musings

On top of that, I've just had a call asking me to go out and do the Spa 24 Hours this weekend, for Jurgen Von Gartzen's team, my old Porsche Supercup teammate. I'm quite looking forward to eventually having a break!

Going back briefly to last month's pair of American Le Mans Series races, I have to say that I'm both pleased with our performances, but disappointed with the results.

At Mid-Ohio in particular, Randy Pobst and I were very competitive throughout the whole weekend meeting. We were quickest in GT in the final practice session before we qualified, and I qualified the car second, splitting the two Alex Job 'factory' Porsches. I have to admit, I was very pleased with that because it was such a huge improvement from where we'd been at the previous race at Sears Point. The Petersen Motorsports team were delighted and they really deserved to be. Mike Petersen and Dale White thoroughly deserve their success, and the whole team are awesome, especially considering that most of them only get together on a race weekend. They'd been up until 3am two nights before, fixing a flywheel sensor problem, and this qualifying was really what they needed to lift their spirits!

The race was a strange affair. I took the lead at the start, with Sascha Maassen and Timo Bernhard close behind, and that's the way it stayed for 45 laps. However, that simplifies things slightly as from lap five onwards my windscreen was absolutely covered in oil from a friendly LMP675 Pilbeam! You just couldn't exaggerate how bad the visibility was. I simply could not see. The best analogy is to compare it with looking through a heavily frosted bathroom window! I was looking out of the side window to get a better idea of where I was going - and was half expecting the Alex Job cars to come past me, but fortunately they had been similarly affected and were almost as blind as me.

Sascha had it bad enough that he said later that if I'd driven into a gravel trap, he would have followed me! He was following the Petersen car, just going wherever I went. When the sun came out, it was even worse...

Everyone said to me afterwards that they have never heard so much whining on the radio about poor visibility. My reply was that it was worse than driving at Le Mans last year in the pouring rain with no windscreen wipers!

Randy led after the changeover, but he now had Lucas Luhr all over the back of him. Then Lucas threw it down the inside at an unusual choice of corner - and he hit the right rear of our car, spinning Randy round and breaking the uprights on both cars, putting us both out. So that was that.

I had one night in Chicago after that (very good fun!), then headed off to Road America.

This race is very easily summed up. We led from the start, and then unfortunately had three punctures which dropped us right out of contention and eventually forced our retirement. Randy drove superbly again and the track is awesome, although still not a patch on somewhere like Spa, if I'm honest.

We'll miss the two Canadian ALMS races because the team now want to go and do some proper tyre testing, but I can't wait to get back out and hopefully give Alex Job a hard time again. I bet he can't wait!

Going back to my day at Silverstone with Montoya, Schumacher and Muller, unfortunately it wasn't quite as exciting as it sounds! I drove the Formula BMW along with Jorg to evaluate it for Sky TV. The car was great fun to drive and very nicely put together, a great training ground for young drivers if BMW decide to launch it over in Britain.

I tried to convince them to do a four-way driver shoot-out, with the fastest driver getting a free season in Formula BMW, but it was left to me and Jorg to compare laptimes. I guess after seeing our times the pressure got to the other two...

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