Johnstone.gif Full Name William Bruce Gordon Johnston
Nationality South African
Born 30 January 1937, Durban (RSA)
Died
Website
Twitter
Instagram
First Grand Prix 1962 South African Grand Prix Last Grand Prix 1962 South African Grand Prix
Grands Prix 1 Non-starts 1
Wins 0 Podiums 0
Best Finish 9th, 1962 South African GP Points 0
Fastest Laps 0 Best Qualifying 17th
Retirements 0 Laps Led 0

Career Highlights

1962 Formula 1, Owen Racing Organisation BRM V8 P48/57, 1 race, 0 points, Not Classified

 

Biography

The South African-born driver started out in Volvo touring cars before entering single-seater racing, where his reputation really grew driving a Cooper-Alfa in 1960, finishing fourth in the Cape GP and sixth in the Formula Libre South African Grand Prix which was won by Paul Frère.

Less than a year later, he was runner-up to Syd van der Vyver in the 1961 South African championship and was invited to drive for the Yeoman Credit team. It was not a happy partnership under the leadership of Reg Parnell, crashing the car at the Natal GP and repeating the feat in practice for the South African GP, consigning him as a non-starter.

Johnston moved over to Europe in 1962 and drove for Ian Walker, winning the Nürburgring 1000Km race with Peter Ashdown in a Lotus 23 and then claiming fifth in the Vanwall Trophy at Snetterton in Walker’s Formula Junior Lotus. He also secured a deal to drive a third works car for BRM in Europe and South Africa at the end of the season.

While he did quite a bit of testing for the team, they only have him one European outing – the Gold Cup race at Oulton Park, where he finished an impressive fourth – and then when set to race at home at the Natal GP, he was dismayed to find he was given a semi-works machine. That blew up in Heat 2, and he was given the same car for his one and only World Championship Grand Prix outing. Forced to run carburettors instead of fuel injection, he had to pit to correct a timing issue and eventually finished ninth. Disgusted with the situation, he drove the car to a nearby garage and abandoned it for BRM to collect at their own expense.

There was little doubt Johnston had plenty of talent, but he was so upset with BRM’s treatment that he promptly quit driving – a decision many felt to be premature. A few years later, he was back, but this time as a sponsorship hunter for local drivers and races.

CLICK HERE to return to our driver profiles.

Share