- Full name Leslie George Johnson
- Birth date March 22, 1912
- Birthplace Walthamstow, Great Britain
- Date of death June 8, 1959 (47 years 78 days)
- Place of death Withington, Andoversford, Gloucestershire, Great Britain
- Teams ERA
|Only race||British Grand Prix||Silverstone||May 13, 1950||[race_results]|
Leslie Johnson was a self-made businessman from east London who built up his family's furniture manufacturer so well that it was able to fund his passion for motor racing. A gifted driver, he overcame childhood heart and kidney ailments to become one of the leading all-round racers of the immediate post-war period.
Endurance events were his forte, but he was able enough to break several records for production cars. In 1947 he bought English Racing Automobiles (ERA) and it was in their colours that he made his only Formula One appearance, in the first modern championship event at Silverstone in 1950. He claimed an unwelcome record when he became the first man to retire from an F1 Championship race with compression problems after two laps. He also initiated and negotiated Stirling Moss's first commercial sponsorship deal - with Shell.
In 1954 his worsening heart condition forced him to retire and he bought a farm in Gloucestershire, but he remained active in his Maidenhead engineering firm. He died of a heart attack at home aged 49.
Martin Williamson November 2009