Johnny Mowlem announced Wednesday his retirement from professional driving, following a successful 20-plus-year career that’s seen participation in numerous sports car racing series worldwide.
The 47-year-old Englishman’s final race will be next month’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-ending Petit Le Mans with BAR1 Motorsports.
Mowlem, who got his start 26 years ago in Formula Ford 1600, had his big break in 1993 when he was selected by Jackie Stewart for his “Staircase of Talent” program, as a teammate to Dario Franchitti.
While having initially taken the open-wheel path, he turned his focus to GT racing in the late ’90s and spent the majority of his career in the U.S., racing in the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am, where he claimed class victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring.
He’s also enjoyed success around the world, having most recently won the 2013 European Le Mans Series GTE championship with Ram Racing, while also being a nine-time starter in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which included a class podium finish.
Mowlem said his decision to hang up the helmet has been made to focus on, Red River Sport, his growing sports and driver mentoring agency.
“I’ve had a decent career, winning some major sports car races and championships and I’ve been fortunate enough to drive for some great factory and privateer teams in pretty much every class,” he said.
“I still love the pure thrill of driving and I doubt that will ever leave me, but this opportunity has arisen at a time when I have simultaneously felt some of my motivation waning slightly and I have to look at my longer term future.”
Most recently, Mowlem has starred in the Prototype Challenge class with the Brian Alder-led BAR1 squad, having claimed consecutive class poles at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“He told me the week before the IMSA Road America race that he had decided to stop at the end of this season,” Alder said.
“After that race I did briefly try and talk him into changing his mind, especially after his race performance in comparison to the other pro PC drivers, as I felt he still had more to give, but he wants to leave on his own terms and I respect that. ”
Mowlem credits Alder for helping revive his pro career in 2014, following Ram Racing’s sudden withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“I can’t thank Brian enough,” Mowlem said. “He has become a good friend and I will always feel a part of the BAR1 Motorsports family.
“This won’t be completely the end as I will continue to work with Brian to help bring drivers to the team and assist in mentoring and developing their talents.”
Mowlem will miss next weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas due to a conflict in the UK, with the Petit Le Mans serving as his final race, in what will be his 15th start in the famed 10-hour enduro at Road Atlanta.