Johansson not ready to give up driving; will race at Sebring.
BRASELTON, Ga. (January 13, 2003) -- When it was announced recently that Stefan Johansson was going to become a team owner in the CART series, many fans of the American Le Mans Series wondered if they had seen Johansson drive his last race.
They needn't have worried. The popular Swede plans to continue driving in 2003 and will start his season in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway on March 15, seeking his third win in America's oldest sports car race.
Johansson, who formerly raced in Formula One and in CART, has raced sports cars much of his career and almost exclusively for the last few years. He has been a regular competitor on the American Le Mans Series since the formation of the series in 1999 and drove for Champion Racing in an Audi R8 during the 2002 season.
In fact, it was Champion Racing's performance in the 2002 season finale that made him hungry to return for more racing in 2003. He and co-driver Johnny Herbert led a great deal of Audi presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and ultimately finished second after a late-race fuel stop. "It confirmed that we can win, all things being equal," said Johansson.
Due to the time involved in owning and operating, but not driving for, his new CART team, Johansson, 46, will not drive a full schedule on the American Le Mans Series in 2003. However, he will run at Sebring and Road Atlanta, the two longest events on the 10-race schedule, and perhaps another race or two if his schedule permits. He will also drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race he won in 1997.
"I would like to try for wins in the big three in the same year, with Petit counting as one of the big three these days," said Johansson. He won Sebring and Le Mans in the same year in 1997, with his other Sebring win coming in 1984. He has never won the Petit Le Mans, but has finished second the last two years.
Fans of the American Le Mans Series can count on seeing Johansson for many years to come. "The ALMS is a great format and the cars are fantastic," he said. "I will always try to have an involvement in this type of racing in the future."