Sweedler, Keen and Mowlem to Start from Fifth Row for Last ALMS Petit Le Mans in Ferrari
BRASELTON, Ga. - Bill Sweedler, Leh Keen and Johnny Mowlem will start the Team West/Alex Job Racing Ferrari for the final edition of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Petit Le Mans from the fifth row in GT tomorrow.
Keen (Charleston, SC) had the wheel of the No. 23 Team West/AJR 458 GT for the 15-minute qualifying session this afternoon. The lanky Keen put in a time of 1:20.506 that will the team starting from the fifth row for tomorrow's 11:30 a.m. start.
"So far this week I have been enjoying the last ALMS race," Keen said. "The team has been working really hard all week. We tested here early in the year, but I think the green track from the all-day rain yesterday caught us out a little on the set-up. We know what changes we need to make, the team will do that and we will confirm them in the warm-up tomorrow. We didn't have the best qualifying car, but we will be ready for the race. We are going to run our race tomorrow and work our strategy to get a good result at the checker."
Sweedler likes the pace of the Ferrari in race trim.
"We had a good week of practice with the Ferrari 458 GT," Sweedler said. "In practice we are very close on our lap times. Yokohama provides a great tire, but we don't have specific qualifying rubber, so that hurts us in qualifying. Johnny is bringing a good perspective to the team and Leh also brings a lot of Ferrari laps having driven most of the Grand-Am season in one. Tomorrow I am looking forward to having a good race and seeing what we can do against the best GT competition in the world in the last ever ALMS Petit Le Mans."
Mowlem (United Kingdom) is getting acquainted with the Yokohama tire.
"We had a very good week of practice," Mowlem said. "I ran for the first time in the Ferrari on the Yokohama tires. They are very different than what I've driven on all year on in the European Le Mans Series. In the wet yesterday, we ended up P3 and put in some very good times in relation to the factory cars. This morning I did a little run and was able to run consistently in the 21s every lap. We will see what happens with the temperature and the weather tomorrow."
Team co-owner Eduardo Espindola is looking forward to tomorrow's race.
"We had a good week of practice in the 458 GT," Espindola said. "Bill, Leh and Johnny have done a great job getting the Ferrari dialed into the track. We are looking forward to a great run in the race tomorrow."
Alex Job, team co-owner, has the team ready for a strong run in the last ALMS Petit Le Mans.
"It will be the end of a sportscar era tomorrow," Job said. "We have had a lot of success here, winning four times. This race has grown to become one of the big four in sportscar racing right up there with Daytona, Le Mans and Sebring. I am looking forward to a good race and will pull out of here Sunday morning with good thoughts of the past and a lot of hope for the future."
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.
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.