Bjorn Wirdheim

Bjorn Wirdheim

  • Full Name: Bjorn Karl Mikael Wirdheim
  • Family: Engaged to Ellen Aubrey, Daughter Edie Beau, Working Cocker Spaniels Maddy, Molly and Spuddy, Cat Frank
  • Birthplace: Vaxjo, Sweden
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 183cm
  • Weight: 73kg
  • Blood Type: AB+
  • Languages: Swedish, English, German
  • Interests: My Family & Dogs, Running, Golf, Cooking
  • Music: Massive Attack, Basement Jaxx, Chase & Status

Career 2016-1990

2016
Super GT Series
GAINER Team

European Le Mans Series
LMP2
Krohn Racing

Scandinavian Touring Car Championship
Flash Engineering
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

2015
Super GT Series
GAINER Team

European Le Mans Series
LMP2
Greaves Motorsport
CHAMPION

2014
Super GT Series
GAINER Team
RUNNER-UP
TEAM CHAMPIONS

GT ASIA
Mike Racing

2013
Super GT Series
GAINER Team
RUNNER-UP
JAF GP CHAMPION

World Endurance Championship
LMP2
Greaves Motorsport

2012
Super GT Series
Nissan & Kondo Racing Team

2011
Super GT Series
Nissan & Kondo Racing Team

2010
Super GT Series
Lexus & Team Le Mans
JAF GP CHAMPION

2009
Super GT Series
Lexus & Team Le Mans

2008
Super GT Series
Lexus & Team Le Mans

2007
Super GT Series
Lexus & Team Le Mans

Formula Nippon
Team Dandelion

2006
Super GT Series
Lexus & Team Le Mans

Formula Nippon
Team Dandelion

2005
Champ Car
Team HVM

Champ Car Testing
KV Racing, Dale Coyne

2004
Formula 1
Jaguar F1 Racing

2003
FIA Formula 3000
Arden Racing Team
CHAMPION

Formula 1 Testing
Jordan GP & B.A.R

Champ Car Testing
Patrick Racing

2002
FIA Formula 3000
Arden Racing Team
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

2001
German Formula 3
Prema Powerteam

2000
German Formula 3
Team Ghinzani

1999
Formula Palmer Audi

1998
Formula Palmer Audi

1997
Swedish Formula Ford
Team Brorssons
CHAMPION

1996
Swedish Formula Ford
Team Ichi Ban
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
JUNIOR CHAMPION

1990-1995
Karting

Career Highlights

  • 2016 STCC – Rookie of the Year, 4th Overall
  • 2016 STCC – 1 Race Win, 4 Podiums, 3 Pole Positions
  • 2015 European Le Mans Series LMP2 – Champion
  • 2015 European Le Mans Series LMP2 – 2 Race Wins, 3 Podiums
  • 2015 Super GT Series – 4 Podiums
  • 2014 Super GT Series – Team Champion
  • 2014 Super GT Series – Runner-Up on Equal Points with Driver Champions
  • 2014 Super GT Series – 1 Race Win, 5 Podiums
  • 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 – 4 Races/2 Podiums
  • 2013 Super GT Series – 2nd Overall
  • 2013 Super GT Series – JAF Grand Prix Champion
  • 2013 Super GT Series – 2 Race Wins, 5 Podiums
  • 2010 Super GT Series – 4th Overall
  • 2010 Super GT Series – 3 Podiums
  • 2010 Super GT Series – JAF Grand Prix Champion
  • 2007-2015 Super GT Series – 3 Race Wins, 22 Podiums
  • 2006-2007 Formula Nippon – 3 Podiums
  • 2004 Formula 1 – Test & Reserve Driver Jaguar F1. Friday Practice Driver at all GP’s
  • 2003 Formula 1 – Testing with B.A.R at Mugello & Jerez
  • 2003 Formula 1 – Testing with Jordan GP at Monza & Friday Practice Driver at US GP
  • 2003 FIA International Formula 3000 – Champion, 3 Race Wins, 9 Podiums
  • 2002 FIA International Formula 3000 – Rookie of the Year, 1 Race Win, 3 Podiums
  • 2001 International Formula 3 – Pole Position in Macau GP on first Visit, 3rd Overall
  • 2001 International Formula 3 – Pau GP, 3rd Overall
  • 2001 German Formula 3 – 2 Race Wins
  • 1996-1997 Swedish Formula Ford – Rookie of the Year, Junior Champion, Champion

Profile

Bjorn was introduced to motor racing through his father, himself a successful GT Driver. Already from a very young age, Bjorn was determined to reach his childhood dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver.

Macau 2001Having risen through the junior formulas, Bjorn got his break-through at the Macau Formula 3 GP in 2001 where he grabbed pole on his first visit, out-qualifying newly signed Formula 1 driver and most successful British F3 driver ever, Takuma Sato. This led to Bjorn being given the chance to drive for one of the top FIA Formula 3000 teams, an opportunity he seized, finishing 4th and taking rookie of the year honours in his debut season.

“It was slightly daunting coming into F3000 and racing with much older and very experienced drivers that I had only previously watched on TV. Many of the Formula 3 Champions avoided this championship as it was seen as very difficult and could easily finish off your career. It was all about gaining experience during that first season in order to get myself into a position to challenge for the championship the following year. But the pressure was on, I had to finish 4th or better overall in order to qualify for a reduced budget the following year and I always knew that would be my only chance of continuing for a second season. I managed the pressure and fulfilled my goal of establishing myself as one of the title favourites for the following year.”

Monza 2003In 2003 Bjorn went on to win the FIA Formula 3000 Championship in a record breaking season where he only finished outside of the top-2 on one occasion and had the championship wrapped up with two races to go.

“Coming from Sweden, a country with not much motorsport heritage and next to no interest from media and potential sponsors, I always felt like an underdog fighting more well funded drivers who had better prospects purely for the fact they were a different nationality. That feeling was a great source of motivation and I used to joke that as a Swede I would have to do twice as well as the best if I was going to get myself into Formula 1. But there was truth behind that joke and it spurred me on to deliver more than anyone could realistically expect in order to get myself into the Formula 1 limelight.”

Monza 2003Eddie Jordan was the first Formula 1 team owner to offer Bjorn a Formula 1 test and it took place at Monza, the final official test of the 2003 season. Regular driver Giancarlo Fisichella provided abenchmark and Bjorn was immediately invited for further testing during the Friday Practice sessions at the US GP, taking the role of the teams 3rd driver, evaluating qualifying, race tyres and setups for the regular drivers. Bjorn was also invited to test with the B.A.R team on two occasions, at Jerez and Mugello alongside regular drivers, Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve.

For the 2004 season, Bjorn had offers from three Formula 1 teams, Jordan, B.A.R & Jaguar F1 as well as an offer to race in Champ Car.

Jaguar Lineup 2004 Jaguar provided the best opportunity for Bjorn’s entry into Formula 1 with a three year option agreement which would see him gain experience at all GP’s driving alongside the teams regular drivers, Mark Webber and Christian Klien, in all of the Friday Practice sessions, with the aim of graduating into a regular drive the following year. Bjorn’s task aside from learning all the circuits would be to provide the regular drivers information on qualifying and race tyres as well as settings and evaluating new car-developments. Bjorn would also take part in all official test sessions.

Unfortunately at the end of the 2004 season the Jaguar F1 Team owner, Ford Motor Company decided to pull out of Formula 1 and sell the team. For the following season there were no opportunities in Formula 1 that did not demand a driver with a massive budget and Bjorn was forced to look elsewhere.

Bahrain 2005“The realisation of not being able to continue after only a year in F1 was heart breaking but at this point I had gained an insight into how that world works and with my increased knowledge I had to accept my fate. In hindsight, without any serious backing, it had been an almost impossible task that I’d set for myself as a young racer and I could at least take pleasure in the fact that I had managed to get as far as I had on talent alone. Also, after a year of testing I knew that all I wanted to do was to race and with that I set my sights at what I felt was the next best thing – Champ Car.”

For 2005 Bjorn secured a drive in Champ Car with the HVM team. The team was however struggling financially and the results were badly affected due to limited testing and barely any development. When Bjorn got the call inviting him to test Formula Nippon with one of the top Japanese teams, he jumped at the chance and a successful test led to a two-year contract starting from 2006.

FNippon 2007Following a successful debut in Formula Nippon where he scored his first podium in only his second race, Bjorn was also invited to test in the highly popular Super GT Series with the Le Mans Team. This led to Bjorn replacing one of the team’s regular drivers for the 2007 season. Since 2007 Bjorn has established himself as one of the top drivers in the Japanese Super GT Series.

“Super GT is a different form of racing compared to formula cars and I soon realised that I was getting even more enjoyment out of this. It’s much more of a team effort and I really enjoy working closely together with my teammate in order to get the maximum performance out of both of us. Super GT is highly sophisticated technically and we are developing the cars and tyres throughout the season working closely with the manufacturers, and in that I’ve found a little bit of what I missed out on when I left Formula 1. Around Fuji Speedway the Super GT car is now marginally quicker than an LMP2 and only a few seconds off the LMP1’s on qualifying pace. But we’re basically in touring cars and for that reason the racing is so much closer and tougher, the way it should be!”

Super GT 2010In 2010 Bjorn narrowly missed out on winning the Super GT Championship with Lexus Team Le Mans. Going into the final 300km round at Motegi the team was one point behind the championship leading Dome Honda (T.Kogure & L. Duval) and nine points clear of 3rd placed TOM’s Lexus (J. Wakisaka & A. Lotterer). However, after qualifying second behind the Dome Honda, Bjorn and his team were issued with a 20-second stop/go penalty for having entered the track too early on the way to the grid at the start of the race. Missing out on the opportunity to take the championship fight to the chequered flag, the team also lost a safe second position and dropped to fourth overall.

Having gained recognition as the overall fastest driver over the course of a race stint throughout the season, Bjorn was offered the opportunity to join Nissan at the end of 2010 to compeat with the manufacturer and the Kondo semi-works team throughout 2011 and 2012.

Kondo 2012

Kondo is one of two teams in the Super GT series that uses the less competitive Yokohama tyres whereas the majority of the other teams race on the stronger Bridgestone or Michelin tyre. As a result the team only managed a handful of competitive outings with the highlight being a strong 3rd at the 2012 Suzuka 1000km race. After a failed final pitstop with refuelling issues, the team dropped from 2nd to 6th. Setting a number of consecutive fastest laps along the way, Bjorn fought his way back onto the podium again during the final 20 minutes of the race.

At a wet autopolis a few weeks afterwards, Bjorn secured the lead from his third qualifying position, but a gamble of not changing tyres during the pit stop led to the team dropping out of contention before the end of the race.

'13_S-GT_Rd8_3146For 2013 Bjorn’s main priority was to secure a competitive drive which would get him back into a position where he could fight for individual wins and challenge for the championship. With no openings within Nissan’s more competitive teams Bjorn’s choice fell on the GAINER GT300 team.

“GAINER has always been one of the best performers in Super GT and with what they proposed for the 2013 season there’s no doubt that together with my team mate Hiranaka we’ll have one of the strongest packages. Together we’ve got well over 12 years combined experience of this championship and the GAINER DIXCEL Mercedes SLS is already a proven winner internationally. It’s a new challenge and one I can’t wait to get started.”

On April 7 2013, Bjorn and GAINER Team took victory in the 1st round of the 2013 Super GT Championship. After a highly successful season with another victory in the final round and several podiums, Bjorn finished 2nd overall in the Championship and best placed GT3 car.

Bjorn WirdheimBjorn participated in the second half of the World Endurance Championship with Greaves Motorsport, qualifying and finishing 4th on his debut at Sao Paulo, never having sat in an LMP2 car before.

Bjorn then went on to qualify and finish 3rd at the 6H race at Fuji Speedway a few weeks later. Bjorn took another podium at the 6h of Bahrain with another 3rd position. Bjorn’s best qualifying in WEC came at the 6h of Shanghai where he set the second quickest qualifying time overall.

2014 Bjorn returned to Super GT with GAINER and the same driver and team line-up as the previous year. In the 8 race Championship Bjorn and Kazuyuki scored 5 podiums and Victory in the final round of the series. They finished on the same points in the championship as the eventual Champions but lost the Drivers Championship on count back with one victory less than the winning drivers.

Bjorn WirdheimBjorn and GAINER however won the more prestigious Team Championship where fastest laps and qualifying positions are taken into account. It was GAINER’s first Championship Victory since the team joined the Super GT series.

Bjorn also participated in four rounds of the GT Asia Championship with Malaysian team MIKE Racing driving with and coaching team owner and driver Michael Chua, also driving a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.

2015 Bjorn continued in Super GT with the GAINER Team and an unchanged driver line-up. The team took several podiums throughout the season but two retirements due to technical issues meant the team dropped out of the top-3 in the Championship and eventually finished 5th overall.

In 2015 Bjorn also got recruited by Greaves Motorsport secured by Kairos to complete the line-up as their Platinum driver for an assault on the European Le Mans Series in an LMP2 prototype. Together with co-drivers Jon Lancaster and Gary Hirsch, Bjorn took two victories and three podiums in a highly successful season that saw the team crowned as both Team and Driver Champions.

2016 Bjorn re-signed with GAINER Team to compete in Super GT with an unchanged driver line-up but using the new Mercedes AMG GT3 car introduced for 2016. Bjorn was also given the opportunity to come back to European Le Mans Series with the American Krohn Racing Team, participating in the first two rounds of the season substituting for one of their regular drivers. Bjorn also signed to race in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship with renowned team Flash Engineering.

Career in Pictures 2014-1988