Stefan Johansson

Full Name:
Stefan Nils Edwin Johansson
Born:
8th September 1956 (Age 63)
Vaxjo, Smaland
Nationality:
Swedish
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Amid the aftermath of the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix it seemed inconceivable that Stefan Johansson would end his Formula 1 career without a win to his name. He had been robbed of a maiden victory that afternoon when he ran out of fuel just three laps from the flag. He would never come as close to outright success again.

Early racing career

The son of a national saloon car driver, Johansson’s good looks and personable demeanour marked a star in the making. A former karting champion, his car racing career began in 1975 with a broken wrist in his second Formula Ford race. He drove a year-old GRD a year later at the start of five seasons in Formula 3.

Despite flashes of promise – such as finishing fourth at Monaco in 1977 with a works Argo JM1-Toyota – his first three seasons were wild and inconsistent. He survived a downpour (during which nine cars crashed at Woodcote) to win at Silverstone in 1979 with Derek McMahon’s March 793-Toyota and Johansson was an altogether more composed driver by now.

Formula 3 champion

He began 1980 with an abortive move to F1 – failing to qualify the uncompetitive Shadow DN11A-Ford for the opening two races – but he started that year’s British F3 Championship as favourite. That campaign began with victory although it was only when he switched his March 803 for a Ralt RT3 that he took control – winning the last four rounds to snatch the title for Ron Dennis’ Project Four Racing.

Graduation to Formula 2 in 1981 with the works-supported Docking-Spitzley Team Toleman started well. He passed local hero Manfred Winkelhock two corners from home to win at Hockenheim on his second start and he repeated that success at the Mantorp Park finale to clinch fourth in the points.

His second season in the category with a Marlboro Spirit 201-Honda proved Johansson to be the quickest (witness five pole positions) but unluckiest F2 driver of the season and ill-fortune restricted him to eighth in the 1982 championship.

Return to Formula 1

Nonetheless when Spirit progressed to F1 in 1983 to develop Honda’s new turbocharged engine it was Johansson who was chosen as its driver. He finished seventh in the Dutch GP but his six races were little more than an extended test session. Johansson enjoyed some success in sports cars that year when sharing Joest Racing’s Porsche 956 with Bob Wollek – finishing second at Silverstone and the Nürburgring, sixth at Le Mans and winner of a lesser European round at Mugello.

Honda decided to concentrate on its new partnership with Williams for the 1984 F1 World Championship and both Johansson and Spirit were left high-and-dry. But victory in the 1984 Sebring 12 Hours with a Porsche 935 that had recently been in a museum and F1 promise shown by stand-in drives for Tyrrell and Toleman (for whom he finished fourth at Monza) led to Johansson’s big break.

So nearly a winner with Ferrari

When Ferrari unceremoniously dumped René Arnoux after one race, the Swede was drafted in for the rest of the 1985 season. Johansson spent two seasons with the Scuderia but struggled too often in qualifying and was hampered by resulting midfield accidents or mechanical failure. However, his race performances were as strong as ever when allowed. He came from 15th on the grid to lead the 1985 San Marino GP before running out of fuel tantalisingly close to victory, finished second at Montréal and Detroit on successive weekends that year and scored another four podium finishes during 1986.

McLaren and gradual decline

He spent 1987 with McLaren as Alain Prost’s team-mate but it was a similar story of ill-fortune and disappointing qualifying. He finished second in Belgium and Germany before being replaced by Ayrton Senna at the end of the year. Johansson joined Ligier for a disastrous 1988 campaign with its unsortable JS31 chassis although he did win that year’s Spa 1000Kms for the AEG Sauber-Mercedes team.

Johansson spent 1989 trying to establish the new to F1 Moneytron Onyx team and it included a surprise third place finish at Estoril but the team folded early the next year. 1991 was a sad final chapter of Johansson’s fading F1 career. Entered in six races with the uncompetitive AGS and Footwork-Porsche outfits, he only qualified in Canada for what was his 79th and final GP.

Success in Champ Cars and endurance racing

One avenue may have closed, but Johansson made an impressive switch to Champ Cars on Detroit’s Belle Isle in 1992. He finished a competitive third with Bettenhausen’s Penske PC20-Chevrolet on his debut and matched the result in Vancouver. He continued with the team until the end of 1996 and was third again at Vancouver in 1993 and Nazareth two years later.

It was in sports cars that he won again during 1997. He won at Sebring for a second time with a Scandia Ferrari 333SP before scoring a 23rd-hour victory at Le Mans with Joest Racing’s Porsche WSC95, Michele Alboreto and Tom Kristensen.

Johansson became a team owner during the early 2000s by running an Audi R8 in 2001 with which he won the European Le Mans Series. He entered Champ Car racing two years later and Ryan Hunter-Reay won at Surfers Paradise for American Spirit Team Johansson. Team patron Stefan Johansson continued to race in sports cars in which he remains a star.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2012 World Endurance Championship
Gulf Racing Middle East
3 0 0 0 76th 1.5
2006 Le Mans Endurance Series 26th 4
2006 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2005 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2004 Le Mans Endurance Series 28th 3
2003 American Le Mans Series
Champion Racing
1 0 1 1 0
2001 European Le Mans Series 1st -
1997 PSCR Championship
Scandia Motorsport
1 1 1 1 0
1997 International Sports Racing Series
Joest Racing
1 0 1 1 10
1996 PPG Indycar World Series
Bettenhausen Motorsports
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 43
1995 PPG Indycar World Series
Bettenhausen Motorsports
17 0 1 0
0% win rate
13th 60
1994 PPG Indycar World Series
Bettenhausen Motorsports
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
11th 57
1993 PPG Indycar World Series
Bettenhausen Motorsports
15 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
12th 43
1992 PPG Indycar World Series
Bettenhausen Motorsports
9 0 2 0
0% win rate
13th 47
1992 World Sportscar Championship
Nisso Trust Racing Team
Euro Racing
2 0 0 0 0
1991 F1 World Championship
Footwork Porsche
Automobiles Gonfaronaise Sportive
Footwork
1 (5) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1991 World Sportscar Championship
Konrad Motorsport
Mazdaspeed
5 (1) 0 0 0 39th 6
1990 F1 World Championship
Moneytron Onyx Formula One
0 (2) 0 0 0 0
1989 F1 World Championship
Moneytron Onyx Formula One
8 (8) 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 6
1988 F1 World Championship
Ligier LOTO
10 (6) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Toyota Team TOM's
Team Sauber Mercedes
4 2 2 1 19th 55
1987 F1 World Championship
Marlboro McLaren International
16 0 5 0
0% win rate
6th 30
1986 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
16 0 4 0
0% win rate
5th 23
1985 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
16 0 2 0
0% win rate
7th 26
1984 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
5 0 0 0 38th 13
1984 F1 World Championship
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
Toleman Group Motorsport
6 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 3
1984 IMSA Camel GT Championship
De Narvaez Enterprises
1 0 1 1 0
1983 F1 World Championship
Spirit Racing
6 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1983 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
6 0 2 0 11th 36
1982 European F2 Championship
Marlboro Team Spirit
13 5 1 0
0% win rate
8th 11
1982 World Endurance Championship 1 0 0 0 0
1981 European F2 Championship
Docking Spitzley Team Toleman
12 0 3 2
17% win rate
4th 30
1980 Vandervell British F3 Championship 1st -
1980 European F3 Championship
Marlboro Project 4 Racing
Project 4 Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1980 European F2 Championship
ICI Racing Team
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1980 F1 World Championship
Shadow Cars
0 (2) 0 0 0 0
1979 European F3 Championship
Derek McMahon Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1979 European F2 Championship
Polifac BMW Junior Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1978 European F3 Championship
Anglia Cars
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1977 European F3 Championship
Anglia Cars
Stefan Johansson
6 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 European F3 Championship
Kenitex
Hans Wangstre Racing
2 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0