Johnny Mowlem At Sears Point
ACEMCO Getting Ever Closer To The Corvettes
Mowlem and Terry Borcheller finished third, yet again (three in
a row) at Infineon Raceway last Sunday (July 17), in the ACEMCO
Saleen – but this was the most competitive outing yet for
the leading challenger to the C6.Rs.
It coincided with a slight increase in restrictor sizes, but as
Johnny Mowlem explains, that was only a small part of the performance
“Sears Point naturally suits the Saleen, so that was the first
reason for the improvement. ACEMCO has been developing various packages
to try and find the S7R's sweetspot and although we had seen parts
of that at previous races, I think that at Sears Point, for the
first time we got a very good spring/damper combination and this
helped us to unlock some more of the potential of the car.
“We had Jim Bell back with us at Sears Point, and with a really
good set-up, and a slight increase in power, I reckon we found a
second in relation to the Corvettes. Being wildly optimistic, the
power increase would only have been responsible for two or three
tenths of that performance gain, as to truly optimise the slight
increase in restrictor you would have to put the engine back on
the dyno. The rest was down to the set-up.
“It was my turn to qualify, and yes, I was pleased with my
lap, but even nicer was the reaction of the whole team. They all
work so hard for little or no glory and it was nice to see them
all so pumped up after qualifying." – that lap put the
ACEMCO S7R just three-tenths behind the pole position Corvette.
the start of the race, I could just about hang onto the C6.Rs, but
then I caught traffic in the just the wrong places for about three
laps and lost over six seconds. But we were still less than 20 seconds
behind at the first round of pit stops. The Maserati was 40 seconds
“The great thing about keeping in touch with the leaders is
that it dramatically reduces the chances of going a lap down if
there’s a safety car. Earlier in the season, when we’d
be more likely to drop two-thirds of a lap to the Corvettes, I’d
be praying that we didn’t get a safety car while the leader
was between us. But when the gap is around 10 to 15 seconds, you’d
have to be horribly unlucky to have the overall leader between you
when a safety car appears.
“I think the Maserati got caught at Infineon and lost a lap,
but that only explains part of the difference between us at the
flag – which was two laps.
“In Terry’s final stint they gave him a splash of fuel
and tyres and he then drove a storming 30 minutes to the end, and
we were still on the lead lap.
always nice to make progress and move in the right direction. Aside
from the performance issues, our reliability this year (touch wood!),
has been incredible, and that is totally down to the ACEMCO team.
As I think Jeff Giangrande has been quoted as saying, the factory
Corvettes have really set the bar high both in performance and reliability,
and whether other people accept it or not, to be able to even challenge
them means that you have to be up there as one of the best GT1 teams
in the world. We're trying hard to go and earn that mantle, but
we know that for us to beat both of their cars will take an almost
superhuman effort! Of one thing you can be certain however, is that
we're not going to give up trying.
thing I really like about the ALMS is that there is a huge amount
of respect between all the competitors, at least within the same
class anyway! I think that the Maserati people have now got a lot
of respect for the factory Corvettes as they have now experienced
them at first hand, and I know there is a lot of mutual respect
between ourselves, the Maserati and also the Pacific Coast C5. Even
the Carsport American team get their Viper going seconds quicker
than a Dodge Viper has ever gone before!
a nice environment to race in and it means that everyone drives
everybody else forward, and come the end of the year, we're going
to have another of the best GT1 teams in the world join us again,
with the Prodrive Aston Martins. Then it really will be a fight
to get on the podium!”