Johnny Mowlem, who announced his retirement from professional racing at the end of the 2016 season, will return for one last time to team with his BAR1 Motorsports mates for a final run at the twice-around-the-watch race later this month.
He will be in Daytona Beach, Florida tomorrow to take part in the official Roar official before test at Daytona.
“The team asked me to saddle up one more time and it means I can team up for a last US race with my old friend Tom Papadopoulos,” Mowlem said. “Which wasn’t possible at Petit Le Mans last fall. But I want to make it very clear that I am NOT returning to full-time racing.”
Daytona holds a very special place in Mowlem’s heart, as it was there in 1999 that Johnny took part in his first ever race in the US, his first ever 24 hour race and also the first race he ever got paid, so competing in one final Rolex 24 will bring his career full circle.
The race will be Mowlem’s 16th start at Daytona and the team would be hard-pressed to find a more successful driver. Mowlem has two second-place overall finishes, as well as a class victory, and seven other podiums. He won the Prototype Challenge pole in both 2015 and ’16 for BAR1 and finished on the podium both years, although the team was technically denied their second place podium in 2015 due to a minor driver time infringement.
In fact last year in the Prototype Challenge class, Mowlem posted the quickest overall prototype lap time in monsoon-like wet conditions during qualifying to be the fastest overall prototype.
All of this contributed to Team Principal Brian Alder finding it relatively easy to convince Mowlem to return for this year’s Daytona 24.
“Obviously all the drivers on the Daytona grid are here for one reason and that’s to win the famous watch!” stated Johnny, “I’ve been so lucky to win one of those famous watches already, but I just couldn’t in all good conscience turn down what I think is a good chance to win another one! But after the end of January I will be back to focusing 100% on my Red River Sport clients and ensuring 2017 is a fun and successful year for all of them!”
The race proper will be held January 28-29.