Johnson defied father for Bathurst co-drive

Steven Johnson went against advice from his famous father Dick Johnson to ensure the pair would race together at the Bathurst 1000 back in 1998.

Johnson defied father for Bathurst co-drive

The father-son duo made a pair of Bathurst appearances together in the late 1990s, failing to finish in 1998 before grabbing a fourth at Dick's farewell race in '99.

However the Johnson dream team almost didn't happen. The younger Johnson has revealed that he was offered a full-time multi-year contract with Garry Rogers Motorsport for the 1998 season, taking the seat vacated by the British Touring Car Championship-bound Steve Richards.

While the deal would have been his breakthrough as a full-time Supercars driver, it also would have ruled out any chance of the two Johnsons sharing a car at Mount Panorama.

According to Steven Johnson even his father advised him to take the GRM deal, however he opted to go against that advice and stick with the family-run outfit.

"There was a black-and-white offer to go, a multi-year deal for me to race there full-time in Garry’s Commodore,” Johnson told the V8 Sleuth podcast.

“It was a really hard decision because, being such a close family and knowing that Dad was going to come to the end of his career in the not-too-distant future, I decided to decline that drive.

“[Dad] left it up to me. He actually told me I should take [the GRM seat].

"I went against him to drive with him.

Read Also:

"We talk all the time about what would have happened if I did this or did that, but I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I loved what I did. I had a great time doing it.

“That fourth [at Bathurst] in 1999 was hard. It would have been so good and fitting for him to stand on the podium for his last race there.

“But once we got the car back and knew how bad the brakes were, it literally had no brakes, it was on the backing plate, we don’t know how he got it up to fourth.

“I still think that was one of the best drives of his career.”

Johnson turning down the GRM seat opened the door for Garth Tander to kickstart his career with the Melbourne-based Holden squad.

His own chance as a full-timer came in 2000 when he took over the famous #17 DJR entry, which he raced until the end of the 2012 season.

At that point he was forced to retire due to financial problems at DJR, which started a chain of events that led to Roger Penske buying into the team ahead of the 2015 season.

shares
comments
The full 2019 Supercars endurance grid

Previous article

The full 2019 Supercars endurance grid

Next article

Supercars and TCR promoters to do battle over new Bathurst event

Supercars and TCR promoters to do battle over new Bathurst event
Load comments

About this article

Series Supercars
Drivers Steven Johnson , Dick Johnson
Teams Dick Johnson Racing
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020
Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester" Prime

Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester"

Scott McLaughlin has been a controversial figure in Supercars over the past few years but, as he heads off to a fresh challenge in IndyCar, the Australian tin-top series needs to find someone else to fill his drama-filled boots as the category enters a new era...

Supercars
Nov 3, 2020
Why 2020 isn't McLaughlin's greatest title Prime

Why 2020 isn't McLaughlin's greatest title

Scott McLaughlin was quick to describe his third Supercars title as his best yet. But even though it didn't match the dramatic backstory of his 2018 triumph, there's a good reason for him wanting to control the narrative this time around.

Supercars
Oct 2, 2020
Why a Bathurst finale is risky business for Supercars Prime

Why a Bathurst finale is risky business for Supercars

The Bathurst Grand Final may provide Supercars its greatest spectacle yet – but there's a risk it will force the series to face a hard truth.

Supercars
Sep 4, 2020
Why Scott McLaughlin must become an IndyCar driver Prime

Why Scott McLaughlin must become an IndyCar driver

Scott McLaughlin, two-time and current Supercars champion, should have been making his NTT IndyCar Series debut for Team Penske at the GP of Indianapolis, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced a rescheduling that has put the brakes on his career switch. But David Malsher-Lopez explains why the New Zealander deserves this opportunity as soon as possible.

IndyCar
Jul 4, 2020
Tickford's 10-year wait for James Courtney Prime

Tickford's 10-year wait for James Courtney

When the Supercars season resumes James Courtney will be a Tickford Racing driver – but it's not the first time the star driver has flirted with the famous Ford squad.

Supercars
May 19, 2020