Former grand prix driver Stefan Johansson will make his Nurburgring 24 Hours debut 31 years after finishing second on the Nordschleife in a Group C Porsche 956.
The Swede, who took the runner up spot in the 1983 Nurburgring 1000Km in a Joest Porsche shared with Bob Wollek, will contest this year’s enduro at the ‘Ring on June 21-22 in a factory-backed Mazda MX-5 entered by the British Jota Sport team as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the model.
Johansson, who raced for Mazda at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1990-91, will co-drive the entry in the V3 class for production two-litre soft-top cars with Nordschleife specialist Wolfgang Kaufmann, Briton Owen Mildenhall and Japanese driver Teruaki Kato.
“I raced on the Nordschleife in Formula 3, Formula 2 and then Group C and always loved the place,” said Johansson, 57. “The 24 Hours was something I always wanted to do and I made noises about wanting to do it with the Jota guys, who I know well from my Zytek days [when it helped run Zytek prototypes under the factory and Corsa banners].”
Johansson has already made his return to the Nordschleife in a VLN long-distance race in April aboard the Jota Mazda to qualify to take part in the 24 Hours.
“It was a blast, so much fun in that car even if I had a lot less horsepower than the last time I was there,” he said.
The 1983 Nurburgring 1000Km was uniquely run exclusively on the 14.17-mile Nordschleife The old pits loop had been demolished and the new Grand Prix circuit was under construction ahead of its opening in 1984.