Mowle now ‘comfortable on Pirellis’ after first test with BMW

Mowle now ‘comfortable on Pirellis’ after first test with BMW

British GT Championship front-runner Lee Mowle declared himself happy with the progress he and made during their opening day of pre-season testing at Silverstone last Friday.

The West Thurrock squad has taken over the running of Mowle’s former Triple Eight-prepared BMW Z4 GT3 after campaigning a Porsche 911 in the GT4 category last year.

It was the first time that Mowle, who will once again be partnered by regular team-mate Joe Osborne, had driven the car since clinching third in the 2015 Drivers’ standings at Donington Park last September.

It was also an opportunity for both team and driver to gain experience of the new Pirelli tyres British GT will use for the first time this year. And after spending much of the day on used sets, with only a single run on fresh rubber as a comparison, Mowle was left feeling satisfied with the progress made.

“I’m really happy with how the test went,” he said. “I’d not been in the car for something like five months so I went into the day thinking it was a good chance to blow off the cobwebs and do to a bit of a shakedown.

“As it was, I felt at home straightaway and was able to set some strong lap times despite the fact we were using used tyres which were effectively as they would be towards the latter stages of a race stint.”

Mowle also revealed that the issues he’d previously encountered while adapting to the Italian supplier’s product were now firmly behind him.

“Previously, I had struggled to get a grip on the Pirelli tyres compared to the Avons we used in British GT last year, but I think the time out of the car almost cleared my mind as I felt comfortable on the Pirellis from the moment we hit the track,” he said, after setting faster times than his last British GT outing at Silverstone.

“The team worked really well together considering it was the first test with the car and I can’t fault their work at all. It’s certainly a good start to the relationship and gives us an excellent base to build on.”

Team boss Shaun Hollamby was also delighted with the outcome of the test.

“It was great to get out on track with the BMW and get down to business,” he said. “We had a list of things we wanted to get through given it was the first chance we have had to run the car on track, and we were delighted with the day went.

“Lee was right on the pace throughout the day and the lap times bode well for the season ahead given we spent most of the time on older tyres which weren’t at their best.

“As this was the first test with the car, we know there are things we can work on before the season gets underway but the test was a great start and we are now looking forward to the next test and the opportunity to start working with Joe [Osborne] as well.”

That opportunity will come at Snetterton later this week when Osborne joins Mowle behind the wheel.

Elsewhere, talks continue with a number of drivers interested in racing’s second BMW Z4 GT3.