While having been left without a ride following Ram Racing’s withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship, it hasn’t taken Johnny Mowlem very long to return to return to top-level sports car racing action on both sides of the Atlantic.
The former Rolex 24, Sebring and Petit Le Mans class winner has firmed up a late-season deal with BAR1 Motorsports, which will see Mowlem make his TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut in the team’s Prototype Challenge entry in the final two races of the year.
“I always wanted to go back to America at some point,” he told Sportscar365. “I loved the American Le Mans Series and I recognize that the United SportsCar Championship is not the ALMS. But I’m also quite happy and quite excited to go do that.”
Mowlem, who has made previous ALMS PC starts with Woodard Racing and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, will team with a new to-be-announced co-driver in BAR1’s Oreca FLM09, which missed the previous two rounds due to funding issues.
The Brian Alder-led team heads into the Lone Star Le Mans weekend at Circuit of The Americas as defending class winners, which was also the site of its first victory.
“We are delighted that a driver of Johnny’s quality and experience became available at this stage in the season,” Alder said. “We look forward to working with him over the final races and in particular at the final round at Petit Le Mans with a view to hopefully doing a full season together in 2015.”
While COTA will be a new experience for Mowlem, he’s looking forward to the challenge ahead in what could lead to a full-season drive with the team in the prototype ranks next year.
“For me to go back in a PC car and run near the front, is great,” Mowlem said. “It’s a very competitive championship. Some of the drivers in it are incredibly good. The fact that Gunnar [Jeannette] and Frankie [Montecalvo] aren’t winning just shows that it’s pretty damn competitive.”
Additionally, the 45-year-old Englishman received a late call to drive for Greaves Motorsport in next weekend’s European Le Mans Series race at Paul Ricard, where he’ll team with 16-year-old Matt McMurry in the squad’s Zytek Z11SN Nissan LMP2 car.
Mowlem will be filling the shoes of Chris Dyson, who has previous business commitments that weekend in the Pirelli World Challenge season finale at Miller Motorsports Park.
“What better way to blow the prototype cobwebs off than go race at Paul Ricard the week before?” Mowlem said about the Greaves opportunity. “I want to do the best job we can at COTA for BAR1, but obviously Petit Le Mans is very important.”
With two separate drives having been firmed up in as many weeks, the reigning European Le Mans Series is optimistic about his future prospects.
“It’s really, really nice to be in a position that when I am available, that I seem to be on people’s list of drivers, and in some cases at the top of those lists,” he said. “It’s a really humbling and privilege to continue. It gives me a lot of comfort to know that I can continue on and keep on driving for the foreseeable future.”