26/4/1958 - 22/3/2021
John Colum Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute, usually known as Johnny Dumfries, is a Scottish peer and a former racing driver. He won the 1984 British Formula Three Championship and raced in Formula 1 in 1986 for Team Lotus. In 1988 he won the Le Mans 24 Hour race driving a Jaguar XJR9, with Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers. Johnny Dumfries died this year
The Most Honourable John Colum Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute, styled Earl of Dumfries before 1993 and from this courtesy title usually known as Johnny Dumfries, is a Scottish peer and a former racing driver.
As the heir to one of Scotland's oldest aristocratic families and one of the biggest fortunes, he could have settled for a life of luxury but being passionate about racing he was able to find a job as a van driver with Williams Grand Prix Engineering thanks to his cousin former racer Charlie Crichton-Stuart who was then the team's sponsorship-hunter.
Johnny decided that he wanted to race and set out to make his name without using his family connections. Posing as a London painter and decorator he managed to scrape together money to run in Formula Ford 1600 and then with Dave Morgan, to race in Formula 3 where he made his first impact in 1983 battling with Ayrton Senna in a round of the European F3 series at Silverstone.
He landed a plum drive in the BP-backed Dave Price Racing team for 1984, and the season exceeded even his wildest expectations, Johnny winning the Marlboro F3 championship at home and nearly repeating the feat in the European series finishing runner-up to Ivan Capelli in the European series, achieving a magnificent total of 15 wins.
His stock was justifiably high, and for 1985 he earned the job of Ferrari test driver and he joined Onyx for a season in F3000, but a bright start soon faded and by mid-season he was out of work.
In 1986 Ayrton Senna declined to accept Derek Warwick as his new team-mate at Lotus, as he was entitled to under the terms of his contract. This gave Dumfries his big chance, but while he let no one down he was naturally very much the number two to Senna in all things. He did, however, score three points and handled himself pretty well. Politics of one sort had helped him into the team, and unfortunately the revolving door took him straight back out when an engine deal with Honda meant Satoru Nakajima would be Senna's partner in 1987.
Johnny did some testing for Benetton and then went into endurance racing, with drives for Porsche, Jaguar and Toyota. He won the Spa 1000 in 1987 but the highlight of his career was his win at Le Mans with Lammers and Wallace in 1988 in the TWR Jaguar.
He ranked 121st in the Sunday Times Rich List 2004, with an estimated wealth of £337m. He is the son of the 6th Marquess of Bute and the former Beatrice Weld-Forester. In 1984, he married Carolyn Waddell but they divorced in 1993.
Sadly he passed away from cancer in March 2021