Third generation Johnson to race Hyundai Excel
Jett Johnson, son of Steven and grandson of Dick, will race in a car for the first time next year in a recently acquired Hyundai Excel.
All three drove to Sydney this week to take delivery of the car before Jett is able to obtain a CAMS licence when he turns 14 years of age next March.
Jett is set to race in one of the Queensland series for what has become a popular grassroots category, in a move which Steven says will also teach him valuable skills for when he begins driving on the road in a few years’ time.
“The last sort of two years now we haven’t been karting, with my workload and the amount of effort that you need to do for karting to continue to stay at the top,” Steven Johnson told Speedcafe.com.
“In my opinion, karting’s just gone ballistic at the moment with regard to costs and everything, so we’ve pretty much just ruled that out.
“Getting him into a car, learning how to drive a proper car with a manual gearbox, would be the best thing to do not only for a bit of fun and something to do together, but more so later on in life when he gets his road licence.
“The worry for us is not out racing on-track, it’s more when they get their licence for the first time and go on the road, so that’s really what it’s all about.
“It’s something that we’ve sort of discussed with him but he only realised (on Thursday) when we got there that it was actually happening, so it was actually quite a cool Christmas present in a way.
“We’ll tinker with (the car) over Christmas and just get him out on a private track just to do some laps and just learn how to drive and change gear properly and all that sort of thing and get him ready to do some races next year.”
While Jett holds aspirations to emulate the preceding generations of Johnson and race at a high level when he is older, Steven sees the exercise as a similar one to his exploits in Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters.
“We’ve got quite a lot of good people like Cam Wilson that are willing to help out and he’s one of the leaders of the (Excel) series Australia-wide so it’s quite cool to have some of those guys willing to help us and really keen to see Jett out there,” added Steven.
“It’s like my TCM stuff; I want it to be fun, I want us to be surrounded by awesome people and great sportsmanship and really teach him the right way to go about it.
“It’s about racing and meeting some great people along the way and also trying to teach him a little bit.
“He knows, but it will really hit home when he has to start working himself to pay for some of it, to speak to people about helping out with sponsorship and what he’s got to do for them, and really give him a massive overall picture of what it’s like in motorsport. It’s not just like what you see on TV.”
The car’s current vague resemblance to a Shell V-Power Racing livery is a coincidence, but Steven confirmed that a retro look is a possibility.
He revealed that there has already been an offer to use #17 depending on which series Jett may race in.
“A fella in one of the series up here that has #17 has already messaged us and said he’d happily change to give Jett #17 if he was to drive in that series, so it’s pretty humbling and awesome that people recognise that number for us,” he explained.
“We definitely don’t expect it, we’re definitely ready to just go and have a bit of fun and if need be race with whatever number he chooses.
“As for the look of the car, we don’t know yet; it would be cool to do some sort of a retro thing if we can make that work and have it Johnson-oriented but it depends on the sponsors.”
Excels are currently raced in the Sunshine State in Series X3 Queensland, which operated within the CAMS system, and the Keema Cars Queensland Excel Cup.