Stefan Johansson speaks to AUTOSPORT.com

Stefan Johansson was a surprise visitor to the British GP. The former McLaren and Ferrari driver was in Britain to test his Reynard sportscar prior to pre-qualifying at Le Mans, where his ALMS outfit will join forces with the Audi Sport UK team, which is not involved in the works project. Adam Cooper asked the Swede about F1 and his new life as a team boss

Stefan Johansson speaks to AUTOSPORT.com

Q: What was it like being back at a Grand Prix again?

"It was great. I was so impressed with how the whole thing has developed in the last few years. The whole business of F1 has taken off so much."

Q: When you hear the engines, do you still get a buzz?

"I'm well passed missing it as a driver, but it always gets the juices flowing, of course. As I said, I'm incredibly impressed by everything around F1: the way the cars are turned out; the way the whole set-up is; the business around it. You don't even recognise Silverstone now when you come in! It's incredible how it has grown."

Q: You've driven for Ferrari and McLaren. What do you think of this year's battle?

"I think it's great. McLaren have still got a big task ahead of them now. It can certainly be done, and it's been done before, but it'll be interesting."

Q: Who's your money on - Mika or Michael?

"I would have to say at this point probably on Michael. He's obviously the best guy out there, and if he doesn't have an incredible amount of bad luck, he should be able to pull it off."

Q: Are you enjoying life as a team owner in the ALMS?

"I am. It's a lot of work obviously compared to just being a driver. It's interesting, and you have to focus your energy in a slightly different area, but the competitive aspect is still there."

Q: How has the season gone for you?

"It's been a bit of a struggle so far this year with the Reynard, but we've done a lot of modifications to the car. We haven't finished a race yet - apart from Daytona, but that was after four gearbox changes and God knows what else! At Sebring we had a small engine problem so we didn't finish there. I'm hoping the car will be a lot better now after all these changes we've made. It's a lovely car, but there are a couple of areas where they missed the boat a little bit."

Q: Are you worried about missing the boat in Le Mans pre-qualifying?

"I don't think anybody's decided what the number will be, so it will all be a little bit up in the air when we get out there. I guess you have to make sure you're at the front of the beauty contest! It's always nerve-wracking anyway because all you need is the car to stop out on the track after 15-20 minutes, and you're in trouble."

Q: Are you happy with your straightline speed for Le Mans?

"We think we're going to be OK now. The aerodynamic changes that we've made look to be in line with where we think the competition is. So I think we'll be OK. Our engine is as strong as anything else out there, but the reliability will be the main factor in the race."

Q: Is the ALMS a good championship?

"It is actually a very good series. I think it's developing in the right way. Don Panoz is very, very serious about it. He's got the substance to do it right, and so far it looks like he done everything he said he was going to do. It's looking good."

Q: And it's getting good coverage?

"The TV ratings are very strong in America - they are actually as good as CART and IRL, so it's going in the right direction."

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