Former Lotus F1 driver and winner of the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hour Johnny Dumfries passed away overnight, aged 62.
His real name was John Colum Crichton-Stuart, the 7th Marquess of Bute. However, he would use the name Johnny Dumfries during his racing career to blur out his aristocratic heritage.
Thus, Johnny Dumfries became a respected name in F1.
He was a teammate to Ayrton Senna for the 1986 season at the John Player Special Team Lotus. He achieved a best result of fifth at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Before his racing career, Dumfries was a van driver for the Williams F1 team. There he mulled around the paddock, establishing links within the motorsport community.
In 1983 he tried his hand at British Formula 3, a season that would be won by his soon-to-be F1 teammate Senna.
Finishing 11th in the standings, Dumfries returned the following year with the BP-backed Dave Price Racing team. He would win the first three races on the trot and seven of the opening ten rounds.
Dumfries would dominate the championship and duly won the crown with an emphatic points margin over second-place Allen Berg.
A test role for Ferrari followed in 1985 before Lotus recruited Dumfries to replace Elio de Angelis. It was later revealed that Senna would be the reason for Dumfries’ promotion.
The team were reportedly set to sign Derick Warwick for the ’85 season. However, Senna feared Warwick would be too much of a threat, and he didn’t believe Lotus could prepare two front-running cars.
A shaky season saw Dumfries score at only two races, and the team dropped him at the end of the season.
His short-lived F1 career had reached its end. Still, Dumfries continued to march on with his racing ambitions.
In 1988, Tom Walkinshaw signed Dumfries to join his Le Mans-winning squad, driving a Jaguar XJR-9.
Dumfries would retire from racing for good following the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hour.
In a statement confirming his passing after a short illness, Dumfries’ family said: “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.”