John Nielsen »
John Nielsen - DTC 2007
|Birthday:||February 7th, 1956|
John Nielsen began in karting, but he didn't stay there for more than two seasons before graduating to single-seaters.
A Formula Ford racer was John Nielsen's first car and already in his second year - in 1975 - he won the Danish Championship. Then he graduated to Formula 3 and began to compete abroad. At first he didn't succeed in Formula 3 and he had to make a minor detour to Formula Super VW to be succesfull outside Denmark. 3 Formula Super VW Championships in a row from 1979-1981 reignited the career and John Nielsen aimed for Formula 3 once more.
In 1982 he won the German Formula 3 Championship and in 1983 he was second in the European Championship. John Nielsen was heading in the right direction but in 1984 his career again hit a stop when he crashed very seriously in the Formula 3 race in the steets of Monaco. Late in the year he was back at the circuits and in 1985 he was at full strength again - now in Formula 3000 and group C.
It was the group C racers that gave John Nielsen the next step. In 1987 he became a part of the Jaguar works team and he was now one of the leading drivers in sportscar racing. The first major victory came in 1988, winning the Daytona 1988, but it was in 1990 he won his biggest victory at the LeMans 24 Hours race. It is intentional I write "he won" because John Nielsen was the main driver in the car and drove for 14 of the 24 hours.
John Nielsen's Le Mans victory put motorsport in the news in Danmark. Imagine that a danish driver was able to win and not just participate. Suddenly a danish racing driver was known by people outside motorsport's inner circles.
Unfortunately for John Nielsen group C developed in the wrong direction. He is a big man and the next generation of cars did not leave room enough for him inside. But worse was that the manufactures lost interest for group C and the category collapsed in 1993.
Sportscar racing hit the bottom and for a few years John Nielsen raced in minor series for GT-racers. He was still a frontrunner and won the BPR-championship in 1995 and was Japanese GT Champion in 1996. Both titles came in a McLaren F1 GTR.
Arround year 2000 John Nielsen engaged himself in Danish motorsport and soon became team manager (and driver) for the leading team in the Danish Touringcar Championship, Team Essex. Team Essex expanded to sportscar racing and have several times participated in Le Mans, but the team folded during 2009.
In 2009 John Nielsen had a serious accident at Jyllandsringen but luckily he escaped with bruises. However, he has not participated in racing at the top level since.