Sweedler, Keen and Mowlem in for Last ALMS Petit Le Mans in Ferrari
TAVARES, Fla. - Leh Keen and Johnny Mowlem will join regular Bill Sweedler in the Team West/Alex Job Racing Ferrari for the final edition of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Petit Le Mans to run Saturday, October 19 at Road Atlanta.
Keen (Charleston, SC) has raced with Team West/AJR at Sebring, Road America and Mosport. Mowlem (United Kingdom) raced with the team last year at Petit. Sweedler (Westport Conn.) and the team would like to put all the pieces together in the final race of the ALMS era. The team has had some tough outings with car issues, on-track contact and other problems that have prevented them from posting a solid finish with the No. 23 Team West/AJR Ferrari.
"We have had a series of tough races," Sweedler said. "Petit will give us the opportunity to turn the season around and show the true performance of the Ferrari, Team West/AJR team and the Yokohama tires. Leh is coming back and with his speed there is no reason why we can't be a top-five car this weekend."
"I am really looking forward to running the Ferrari at Road Atlanta," Keen said. "It is a great car and Road Atlanta is a great circuit. This will be the last real Petit Le Mans, it would be nice to have a good finish to close that chapter for the team. The track requires a really good all-around balance in the car. There is a lot of momentum sections, with only one real high-torque exit out of Turn Seven. The AJR guys know how to set the car up, we just have to keep our composure, keep the wheels turning and be close to the front with a couple of hours to go."
"It was a pleasant surprise to have Alex Job approach me to re-join AJR for Petit Le Mans," Mowlem said. "I'm sorry not to be able to drive with Townsend again, but I'm looking forward to driving with Bill and Leh. I've only missed a couple of Petit Le Mans races since the very beginning of the ALMS, so this will be my 14th Petit. I've raced here in GT2, GT1 and LMP1, finishing on the podium five times and second overall in 2006 to the then all-conquering LMP1 Audis. I believe I am one of the few drivers to have raced in the ALMS at least once every year since it very first started at Sebring in 1999. I was in the race that day, so it is quite nice that I will also be in the very last ALMS race in history. It will actually be sad for me come the end of the race because it is the end of an era, and I owe my entire professional career to the ALMS and IMSA. It all started for me here and I just hope that we can go out with a strong finish as well."
Team co-owner Eduardo Espindola knows all of the pieces are there for a good run at Petit.
"We have had good reliability and speed with the 458 GT," Espindola said. "As a team we have not been able to put it all together for the finish we deserve. We will have almost ten hours on Saturday to prove ourselves, I think we can do it."
Alex Job, team co-owner, is ready for a good finish in the ultra-competitive GT class.
"We knew coming into the season how tough it would be in the GT class," Job said. "At some of the races we have had bad luck and at others the pain was self-inflicted. With the added speed that Leh brings and a full schedule of races under our belt with the Ferrari and Yokohama tires I think we can have a very competitive finish on Saturday."
The American Le Mans Series season finale Petit Le Mans television broadcast will air Oct. 19 starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 2, live streaming can be viewed starting at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN3.com with live qualifying on Friday streaming at 1:50 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won four championships (GTC 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts nine Sebring 12-hour wins.
The ALMS GT Class is comprised of production-based, moderately-modified, two-wheel drive race cars including the BMW Z4, Corvette C6.R, Ferrari F458 GT, Viper SRT and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The GT cars share many similarities to their showroom brands. With top speeds of up to 180 mph, these elite GTs produce between 450-500 horsepower and have a minimum weight of 1,145 kilograms (2,480 pounds). All GT race cars have green Leader Light System race position lights and green car numbers.