Highcroft teams Johansson with Brabham
Highcroft Racing owner/driver Duncan Dayton made it official today and announced that Stefan Johansson (right) will join David Brabham and him on the driver roster for the team's new Acura Courage entry in the LMP2 division of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for 2007.
Johansson has been successful in Formula One, champ car and endurance sports car racing. He won the 12 Hours of Sebring twice (1984 and 1997), and he was also victorious at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1997).
The 50-year-old driver from Vaxjo, Sweden who currently lives in Sherman Oaks, Calif. has driven for some of the top factory efforts, including Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Audi.
Johansson reached the F1 ranks in 1980 and drove in the World Championship for 11 years, competing in 103 F1 events. He switched to CART champ cars in 1992, running primarily with Bettenhausen Motorsports. He was immediately impressive, winning the series' Rookie of the Year Award that season. He has three Indy 500 starts (1993, 1994 and 1995) prior to the IRL's first race in 1996.
He's also been an Indy Lights, CART and an ALMS team owner. Most recently he drove one of the Champion Audis in the ALMS and at Le Mans in 2004; he was one of Chip Ganassi's drivers in the Grand American Rolex Series in 2005; and last year he was one of the stars of the GP Masters series. A successful businessman and entrepreneur, Johansson designs and markets a line of high quality watches and he is also involved in driver management, guiding other stars such as 2003 IRL champion Scott Dixon.
"I'm very excited to join Highcroft Racing and Acura in their new sports car project," Johansson said. "I've known Duncan Dayton for several years as a great racing driver, and when he invited me to come and join his team it was a very easy decision for me.
"The team has already assembled a group of very high-quality people. Some of them are old friends, like Danny Sullivan, who adds a tremendous amount of experience and expertise to the program," Johansson added.
"The factory is one of the best I have seen anywhere, and Duncan's attention to detail is a great indication that this is a very serious effort on all levels," he continued.
"It's also a great pleasure to work with Honda again," Johansson said. "I started my Formula One career with them, many years ago now, and I have very fond memories of the experience of working with them. Knowing how they approach their racing, there is no doubt that this project will be very successful.
"I'm proud to have been chosen as one of their drivers, and I look forward to the challenge of making this a successful relationship," he concluded.
The team's first race with its new Acura Courage will be the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla., March 17. All three drivers will compete in that event. Brabham and Johansson will share the car equally in most of the other races, which are typically two-hour-and-45-minute sprints. All three drivers also plan to participate in the series' annual winter test at Sebring Jan. 22-24.
"I'm very pleased to announce that Stefan will be joining Highcroft Racing’s 2007 ALMS program," Dayton said. "His experience and talent will undoubtedly be very helpful in the development of our new Acura LMP2 package, and as everyone can clearly see, he is bloody quick.” "Stefan and I have been friends and competitors for over 25 years," said Danny Sullivan, Highcroft Racing's senior advisor. "He has proven to be very competitive in all forms of the sport that he has competed in, but more importantly he brings a wealth of experience in prototype sports cars. As a very new entry in the ALMS, we believe that both Highcroft and the Acura program will benefit from Stefan's years of experience. We are really excited to have such a strong driver lineup in Duncan, David and Stefan, and are looking forward to a challenging and very competitive season." For more information on the team, see highcroftracing.com. Johansson's Web site is at sjvaxjo.com, while Brabham's is at davidbrabham.com. The series' Web sites are located at americanlemans.com and imsaracing.net.