Le Mans countdown: Stefan Johansson

Stefan Johansson won Le Mans with the Joest Porsche in 1997, but a repeat this year will be even sweeter as the Swedish veteran is back as the boss of his own team. The last owner to win was Jean Rondeau back in 1980, and while that result was extra special in that the Frenchman actually built his own car, a success for Stefan would be highly unusual in the modern era. His Audi is very close to what the works team has, and he has two solid drivers in former Formula Nippon champion Tom Coronel and BAR test driver Patrick Lemarie, although the downside is that they joined the project at a very late stage. Adam Cooper spoke to Johansson about his prospects for the 24 Hours

Le Mans countdown: Stefan Johansson



"It was very promising I would say, especially the times we were able to do on race tyres. The car was sweet, and we didn't really touch it. We did a full tank run, and we were able to run very strong times, and the tyres didn't even look like they were used. So far, so good."



"I think we can be close to them on pace. But I think really and truthfully whoever makes the least mistakes is the one who's going to win the race, whether it's a mistake in the pits or a mistake on the race track. Whoever does the least amount of unscheduled stops is the winner."



"They have some bits that we don't have, the aero package and so on, but I don't know how much difference it makes. If the pre-qualifying is any indication it wouldn't be a huge amount of difference, I don't think. But I think obviously we have to drive incredibly hard, and be absolutely as fast as we can be all the time, but really it's going to come down to not making any mistakes at the end of the day."



"The arrangement this year is great, actually. I just put the deal together, and then Mike Earle and Arena are running the team for me, so I don't really get involved much in the running of the car. They do a fantastic job.

"The car is immaculately prepared all the time, and the team is really good in that the pit stops are great and so on. I just sort of work on the overall picture a little bit more."



"It's a challenge for sure! Certainly it's in the back of my mind."



"Nothing. I've shut down everything in America and I'm focussing completely on this now, and I'm actually planning to move the family back to Europe in September probably."



"Sportscars is what I'm putting all the effort into now. I'd like to pursue that and try to build a team, and try to elevate it a little bit each year."



"Which is a bit of worry, it's not a good situation, but hopefully that will get resolved sometime soon."



"Not really, just a lay man's interest. I have some other business interests which involve some issues in F1.

"But I do love F1 I have to say. The technology is incredible, and the way the whole business has evolved is unbelievably impressive."

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