Johnny Dumfries

Today, John Crichton-Stuart is the Marquis of Bute, the Earl of Windsor, Viscount Ayr, Lord Crichton of Sanquhar and Cumnock, Viscount Kingarth, Lord Montstuart Cumbrae and Inchmarnock, Baron Cardiff, and Viscount Mountjoy. However he was, for a time, the Earl of Dumfries and it was under that name that he is best known in motor racing circles.

He was born in the family castle at Rothesay in 1958, the heir to one of Scotlandís oldest aristocratic families and one of the biggest fortunes, and the descendant of a British Prime Minister. However "Johnny Dumfries" turned his back on an expensive education and took a job as a van driver with Williams Grand Prix Engineering, thanks to the connection with his cousin Charlie Crichton-Stuart, a former racer who had become the teamís sponsorship-hunter. After that he concluded that he could make his name without needing his familyís connections and, posing as a painter and decorator, he scraped together the money to race in Formula Ford 1600 and then in Formula 3, where he made his first significant impression in 1983 when he battled with Ayrton Senna in a round of the European F3 series at Silverstone.

The fight did not go unnoticed and in 1984 Dave Price Racing took him on with money from BP. The team dominated the British Formula 3 series, winning 10 times. The team was so successful that it also took part in the European series that year and Dumfries finished runner-up to Ivan Capelli. This earned him the job of being a Ferrari test driver in 1985 while contesting the new European Formula 3000 championship with Mike Earleís Onyx team, though it was not a big success.

After Ayrton Senna vetoed the candidature of Derek Warwick, Team Lotus turned to Dumfries for 1986. Dumfries struggled to establish himself but was quietly dropped at the end of the year. He turned instead to sports cars and became a Jaguar driver in 1987, winning several races including the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours. He finished off his career with the Toyota factory sports car team in 1989 and 1990.

He then retired from racing to run the various family businesses. In 2002 he decided to promote the Mount Stuart Motorsport Classic ñ a motoring festival at his family home on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. The event was a big success but was too big for the facilities and has since disappeared.