Former Lotus driver and team-mate to Ayrton Senna, Johnny Dumfries – better known by his royal titles as the 7th Marquess of Bute, or Earl of Dumfries – is celebrating his 52nd birthday today!
Determined to make it in his own right as a racing driver without the aristocratic lineage he carries, Johnny made himself out to be a south London painter and decorator in a bid to thwart his true identity being discovered.
With perceptions of his ability sky-high, he graduated to F3000 for 1985, but couldn’t replicate the same results and was out of a drive by mid-season.
A lucky twist of fate in 1986 would see Johnny appointed to the Lotus team as a number-two to Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian having torpedoed the team’s desire to pair him alongside Derek Warwick.
Lotus decision to take on Honda engines – and with Satoru Nakajima coming as part of the package – left no room at the inn for Johnny at the team and he was out of a F1 drive.
He did some testing with Benetton and then switched to endurance racing, driving for the likes of Porsche, Toyota and Jaguar. The major highlight of his motorsport career was undoubtedly the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours victory in a TWR Jaguar.