Former Formula 1 driver and 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Johnny Dumfries has passed away aged 62 following a short illness.
Known to family and friends as John Bute, he was officially born as John-Crichton-Stuart, with the surname Dumfries adopted as to keep a low profile as his family was of Scottish aristocracy.
He began his racing career in Formula Ford 1600 before moving to British Formula 3 in 1984 where he dominated, taking 10 of the 17 rounds en route to the clinching the title.
The Scotsman’s big break would come the following year as he partnered Ayrton Senna at Lotus, driving the legendary Lotus 98T, his best result of the season came at the Hungarian Grand Prix where he finished fifth.
After failing to keep hold of his seat for 1987, Dumfries moved across to sportscars with Tom Walkinshaw’s Jaguar outfit, he would go on to win at Le Mans alongside Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers a year later.
After his father passed away in 1993, Dumfries wound down his racing activities and moved to the family estate on the Isle of Bute and made the ascension to become the seventh Marquess of Bute.
The family issued a statement describing him as a “devoted husband, father, brother, uncle, son and grandfather and loved by all”.
It also said: “The indomitable spirit and energy which Johnny brought to his life will be greatly missed, and the immense warmth and love with which he embraced his family.
“His heart was firmly rooted on the Island of Bute where he spent much of his time. Johnny chaired the Board of Mount Stuart Trust from its active inauguration in 2005 when Mount Stuart and its gardens opened to the public, and its rural estate was vested into the charitable trust.
“He was a moderniser and an inspirational thinker, transitioning a family home to a progressive, working visitor facility and estate.
“His island projects include the internationally respected Bute Fabrics and, most recently, the Kerrylamont Centre for Rural Excellence and Bute Yard. He was a philanthropist through his foundation, particularly focusing on Scotland and the West Coast.
“His family request privacy at this time.”