With Clare Lawrence Stefan Johansson has been involved in international motorsport for nearly 30 years. He has competed in Formula One and IndyCar, as well as Le Mans style sports car racing. He won the 12 Hours of Sebring twice (with Porsche and Ferarri) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (with Porsche). He is on McLaren’s 50 Greatest Drivers list, at number 19 for his time spent with them in his F1 career in the early 80’s. Hi Stefan! It’s so wonderful to be interviewing you. Thank you for taking time out to feature in the Costa Car Trader Auto Magazine… Many thanks; it’s a great pleasure to join you! Can you remember a time now before you entered the world of Formula One? I remember very well, there were many years of struggle and hardship before I finally made into the world of F1, but along with it of course many great memories also… What was life like during the days of your Formula One racing? It was great but also very hard. The pressure in F1 is enormous, and the workload is huge between racing, testing and all the sponsor work the drivers have to do. But of course it’s a dream life really, if you think there’s 24 guys in the entire world each year that get to do what we do, there is nothing that anyone should ever complain about!
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I am sure that you know about the McLaren’s 50 Greatest Drivers list of which you are featured in! How does this make you feel?
Great of course, I am good company as Mclaren is well know for always hiring the best drivers available in each era… When you left Formula One, you took on various other racing challenges – Can you tell me about these? I have done pretty much everything there is to do in racing, except NASCAR, maybe more so than any current driver. Each and every category of racing bring their own challenges, and you really need to become a specialist in each one in order to be successful, some were a lot easier than others but they all brought their own unique disciplines and adjustments which makes it very interesting for a driver to figure out of course!
Have you ever been frightened during a race where you felt that if you’d have perhaps done something slightly differently, there could have been an entirely different outcome? Normally you try to control the environment the best you can when you race, but of course there are times when you have to step out of your comfort zone and ‘dig” a bit deeper in order to get the job done. There have certainly been moments when you have a fraction of a second to make a decision, of course there are times when that decision may not bring the best outcome in that particular situation, so yes there have certainly been times when you replay the event in your mind you realise that had I done this or that instead the outcome would have been a lot different. Do you love everything that comes (hand-in-hand) with fame or are there some things that you wish you could pick and chose? (For example, press intrusion).
I don’t see a lot of good can come out of fame, for me it’s the evil step brother of success. I wish one could have success without fame… If you had not have gotten into racing, is there anything else that you think you would have been as enthusiastic about? Designing products perhaps? Yes, nowadays I am just as passionate about my design and art ventures, and had I not been a driver I think I would have studied to become an architect…
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Can you please tell me more about Stefan Johansson Timepieces – What inspired you to begin designing watches? I was always interested in watches, like most men, from quite an early age. The design part started when I was approached by a company to endorse their watches, while I was still racing in F1. The design of this particular watch was not very appealing and I didn't feel comfortable endorsing something I would most likely not wear, so I suggested we do a collaboration on the design to make a product that was truly my own.
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I know that you have many loyal fans from the world of racing, but who are some of your notable watch-collector fans? I have a very eclectic mix of collectors of my watches, ranging from Hollywood A list actors and some of the most famous people in the racing world of course, a lot of genuine watch collectors and aficionados and more recently a lot of custom made pieces either for select individuals to companies that want something that is totally unique. For example, recently I made a one off piece for the CEO of one the major groups in the watch industry with the specific colors he wanted on the dial. Thanks again Stefan and I wish you every continued success for the future. Many thanks to you also!
You can discover more out about Stefan by looking at his website at: http://www.stefanjohansson.com
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