Steven Johnson is an Australian racing driver who recorded more than 400 starts in the Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercar Championship between 1994 and 2014, winning three times and scoring sixteen podiums. At the greatest Australian race, Bathurst 1000, his best result was third place in 2007. For most of a career, he was driving for Dick Johson Racing, a team of his father and Australian racing legend Dick Johnson.
Steven was watching father winning ATCC titles
When Steven was born, in Brisbane, Queensland, his father Dick was a perspective driver but he still wasn't a champion. The first Australian Touring Car Championship title came in 1981, and then four more titles until 1989. Watching his father, it was natural for Steven to became a race car driver. Unlike most of his peers, he didn't start a career in single-seaters but immediately jumped into touring cars.
His first race car was a Ford LaserTX3 Turbo, which he was driving for father's team at Sandown 500 and Bathurst 12 Hour in 1993. He spent a season in the 1993 Australian Sport Sedan Series with Datsun 1600, finishing in 12th place.
1994 - ATCC debut at Oran Park
In July 1994, Steven made his ATCC debut in the final round at Oran Park, driving the #19 Ford Falcon for Dick Johnson Racing, alongside his father in the #17 Ford and John Bowe in the #18 Ford.
At Bathurst 1000 race, which wasn't a part of the championship, Steven and Allan Grice finished in the 7th place. Earlier that year, Steven he was successful at Bathurst 12 Hour race, finishing sixth overall and scoring the Class V victory in a Ford EB Falcon XR6. His co-drivers were father Dick and Danny Osborne.
1995 - Collecting race victories with Ford
In 1995, Steven returned to Bathurst 1000 with Charlie O'Brien as co-driver in the #18 Ford. He finished in the seventh place again. At Sandown 500, they finished third.
During that season, Steven was successful in the Australian Thundersports Championship, driving Ford Falcon and Ford Mustang. He was a race winner two times to finish second in the points. He was also driving Ford Mustang in the 1995-1996 TraNZam Championship, finishing third in the final standings.
Two Bathurst 1000 attempts with father as a co-driver
In 1996, Steven competed at Bathurst 1000 for the third time, having third different co-driver. He and Tommy Kendall finished 8th in the #18 Ford. Next year, fourth attempt and fourth co-driver – Craig Baird. The #18 Ford crossed the finish line in the fourth place.
And then, in 1998, Steven was sharing a car with his father for the first time at Bathurst. Unfortunately, they didn't finish the race. A father-son combination return in 1999, when they finished in the fourth place.
Steven took over father's #17 Ford in 2000
In 1998, Steven expanded his ATCC commitments, participating in five championship rounds in the #95 Racing for Life Ford Falcon. Next year, he was driving the #17 Ford in three events of the Shell Championship Series.
And then, in 2000, following Dick Johnson's retirement, Steven took over his famous #17 Ford. In his first full season at the wheel of the #17, Steven Johnson finished 11th in the championship with one podium on his account. At Bathurst 1000, his partner was Cameron McLean. They were fourth.
2001 – career-best Supercars season
The 2001 Shell Championship season was the best in a career for Steven. He scored three race wins and won two championship rounds, the GMC 400 at Canberra Street Circuit and Queensland 500 at Queensland Raceway.
He was in the championship lead for two rounds, finishing fifth at the end of the season. At Bathurst 1000, he and Paul Radisich failed to finish the race.
No more wins for Steven
After his best season, the period came he would rather forget. In the next four season, Steven's best season-finish was 10th place in 2004. He dropped to 12th in 2005 and then returned to top 10 in 2006, finishing 9th in the championship. The relatively good result came in 2009, when he finished sixth in the championship, scoring two podiums that season in the #17 Ford.
During the 2000s, Steven's results at Bathurst 1000 were also poor. His partners in the #17 were Paul Radisich (2001-2002), Warren Luff (2003-2004), Will Davison (2005-2008) and James Courtney (2009).
Bathurst 1000 podium for Steven Johnson and Will Davison
However, Johnson managed to score at least one podium at Bathurst 1000. In 2007, he and Will Davison started fourth on the grid. During the race, the #17 was even in the lead but the rain caused a drama in the closing laps. Four cars battled for the victory. At the end, Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup won the race ahead of James Courtney/David Besnard. Johnson and Davison had to be satisfied with third place.
Driving for Dick Johnson Racing until 2012
Steven Johnson entered a new decade in the #17 Ford, finishing 10th in the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship, not scoring wins or podiums. At Bathurst 1000, he and Marcus Marshall finished 12th.
Steven spent two more Supercars seasons with Dick Johnson Racing, finishing far outside top 10 in both seasons (2011 - 15th, 2012 - 17th). His partners at Bathurst were David Besnard (2011, DNF) and Allan Simonsen (2012, 17th).
Taking managing duties in 2013
The season 2012 was the last full-season for Steven Johnson in the Supercar Championship. Early in 2013, he became a general manager of Dick Johnson Racing, stepping down from driving duties. Tim Blanchard was hired to drive the #17 Ford. Steven returned to the series in endurance events, not with his team but with Erebus Motorsport. He was sharing the #9 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG with Maro Engel. In four races they participated together, the 20th place at Bathurst was their best result.
Two class wins at Bathurst 12 Hour with Porsche
While he was still active in the Supercars Championship, Steven Johnson participated at 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour with Porsche, driving for Tinkler Motorsports/Hunter Sports Group and taking Class B victory. In 2013, Johnson took another Class B victory at Bathurst 12 Hour with the same team.
Following his withdrawal from V8SC, he participated in the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia but without notable results.
2014 – last attempts in the #17 Ford
In the 2014 V8 Supercars Championship season, Steven Johnson returned to the cockpit of the #17 Ford in endurance events, as a co-driver to full-time driver David Wall. They were fifth at Sandown, retired at Bathurst and they were disqualified at Gold Coast 600.
In 2014, Johnson also took part in few races of the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series. In 2015, he switched to the Touring Car Master Series, reserved for touring cars manufactured between 1963 and 1976. He was driving Ford Mustang for John Bowe Racing, finishing 6th in the points. Touring Car Masters Series remained Johnson's main competition for 2016 and 2017, with occasional appearances in the Toyota 86 Racing Series.