Dumfries
Credit: © Toyota Motor Corporation

Johnny Dumfries, 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and ex-Lotus Formula 1 driver sadly passed away aged 62 after a short battle with an illness.

A motorsport endeavour in Formula 3 and Le Mans defined the career of a now-deceased racing driver.

A statement released by his family read: “The indomitable spirit and energy which Johnny brought to his life will be greatly missed, and the immense warmth and love with which he embraced his family.”

John Colum Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute, lived in a family of wealth into one of Scotland’s oldest aristocratic families.

He rejected the use of the ‘Earl Of Dumfries, son of the Marquess of Bute’ title. Instead he opted for ‘Johnny Dumfries’ to maintain a low profile on his social background.

Unlike his other family members, he disembarked from a traditional five-year education at Ampleforth College to enter motor racing.

He created the necessary funds as a painter and decorator, later as William’s van driver, all during his FF1600 campaign.

Dumfries made his first jump into the spotlight when he raced in the two main Formula 3 platforms during 1984.

The late Scotsman claimed 14 race wins and dominated the championship for Team BP (Dave Price Racing) in the British F3 Championship.

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In that year’s European F3 Championship, he finished runner-up on the standings to Ivan Capelli but was enough for a promotion into the FIA International Formula 3000.

Even though that season was comparably less successful to his previous single-seater endeavours, his next pursuit was JPS Team Lotus in Formula 1.

In 1986, he ran his only F1 campaign as teammates with Ayrton Senna competing in 15 grand prix and scoring 3 points as a midfield-runner.

Satoru Nakajima took his place in 1987 as part of a new Honda-powertrain deal and away from their turbocharged Renault engines of previous years.

His next journey was into the world of sports car racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Koros Racing in 1987.

He partnered Chip Ganassi and Max Thackwell in their Sauber-Mercedes C9 but retired after suffering a gearbox failure on the 37th lap.

Nevertheless, Dumfries secured the fastest race lap of a 3m25.400s.

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The 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours presented his most prestigious career achievement to claim Jaguar’s first ever victory at the historic race.

Dutchman Jan Lammers and Englishman Andy Wallace joined Dumfries in taking the win for the Silk Cut Jaguar Team.

Incidentally, he raced in his only British Touring Car Championship race during a 1-hour endurance race at Donington Park, claiming a third spot on the podium in Kaliber Racing’s Ford Sierra RS500.

His remaining outings at Le Mans were for Toyota but ended in retirement, concluding his participations at the 1990 event.

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The Last Lap team send our deepest condolences to his closest family and friends.

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