A LONG STARTING STRAIGHT AND AN EVEN LONGER CAREER.
Stanley Dickens is one of Swedens most successful racing drivers at international level. He started his career in the 70s driving a Formula Ford for a few seasons. He came 3rd in the Swedish Championship 1977 which was his best achivement in those years.
The year after he took the step over to Formula 3 and achieved a few recognised results, not only in Sweden but also in Europe. However the aim was to become Swedish Champion, a relevant(?) ambition which was stopped by an engine failure in a decisive competition. After this disappointment he left F3 and focused on a new category – Sports 2000 – which was introduced into Sweden the same year. He was 3rd in the Nordic Championship and two years later he became European Champion. With this title in his pocket he looked for new challenges and the target was Formula 2. The first race was on his home track – Mantorp Park – the final race in the European Formula 2 Championship 1981. Dickens did well in the March 802 but problems with the extreme engine stopped the progress. Similar problems arose in future Formula 2 competitions so F2 was not the category for him. Stanleys main team in F2 was Horag, a Swiss team managed by Markus Hotz. Markus became a good friend and came to mean a lot to Stanley in his future career.
On the way to the EM-title in Sports 2000 in Lola T590.
Winning at Monza 1986.
Formula 2 EM at Mantorp Park 1981 in March 812.
THE ROAD TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP VIA JAPAN
1982 was the year when Stanley first came to Japan, which was going to be an important place for him for many years. In the end of 1983 he was invited to share a Group C Dome together with his friend and colleague, Eje Elgh, in the season final for All Japan Endurance Championship. The team did surprisingly well and finished 2nd in the 500 km race on Fuji. The result was highly appreciated by Dome who offered him a seat in the new Dome Toyota team and the 1984 season. Significant technical problems followed and a crash in the Le Mans 24-hour race the same year made it difficult to continue in the team. Dickens started to look for a position in European teams and 1985 he was in touch with the German-based Gebhardt team in Group C2. Together with Frank Jelinski from Maurer F2, he was established in the fast Gebhardt Cosworth and the team scored several top results in the World Championship, especially during 1986.
With BRUN Porsche 956 before VM in Japan 1986.
These good results, and the purposeful work by the manager Fritz Gebhardt, led to Porsche and the top category C1. In October 1986, Dickens/Jelinski were hired by BRUN to compete in the final World Championship race at Fuji. A second place secured the World Championship title for BRUN Motorsport and this achievemant opened up a new direction. Now Dickens received proposals from various teams, among them JOEST RACING which had a strong connection to Porsche. Dickens became a regular driver for JOEST in the 1987 World Championship, sharing the car with other top drivers such as John Winter, Hans Jr Stuck, Bob Wollek and Klaus Ludwig. A third place at Nürnberg was his best achievement but most of the results were placings around 4 – 6th. This was frustrating for Dickens who wanted more. Since the scoring was in a World Championship, the results entitled him to a Formula 1 license (Superlicense). So it was time to set a new goal – F1. Hard work with sponsors resulted in backing from a finance company who could estimate the PR of having a new Swede in Formula 1. Dickens was very close to signing a contract with Minardi who could offer one of the few free positions for 1988. However, the seat in Minardi was taken by Luis Peres Sala, who had a much stronger backing from Lois Jeans.
BACK TO JAPAN
Dickens now had to either continue in the Joest team or join a team in the All Japan Endurance Championship, continuing in a Porsche 962. He decided to go in both directions, giving Japan the main effort. It was a golden decision which lead to his first title as Japanese Champion and as well a 3rd place in Le Mans and 4th in Silverstone. This made him a winner in the 1988 BRDC Le Mans – Silverstone Challenge. Finally Dickens got some much awaited recognition from England. With additional podiums in IMSA (USA) with the MOMO Porsche, Dickens now belonged to the top drivers in the World, especially in Sportscar Racing.
Alongside with Group C he also did Touring cars with BMW and in partnership with Kenny Acheson. The team had some wins and top-3 positions.
Towards the first japanese championship in Porsche 962.
It was not surprising that Peter Sauber and the Mercedes team approached Dickens in the beginning of 1989 for their first factory attempt at Le Mans for more than 30 years. The rest is history – Dickens won the famous 24-hour race together with Jochen Mass and Manuel Reuter. The victory came to mean a lot, not least in Japan, and Dickens position was even more strengthened by a second title in Japan the same year. This year together with the legendary Kunimitzu Takahashi. In 1990 he started in Le Mans with Bob Wollek in the Porsche factory team 1990, sponsored by Mizuno. The Dickens/Wollek car had some technical problems but finished 8th. The year after, Mercedes made a new attempt at Le Mans, this time with Michael Schumacher, Jochen Mass, Jean Louis Schlesser, Karl Wendlinger, Alain Ferte, Jonathan Palmer and Kurt Thiim. Dickens had to stop after technical problems. In the 1996 race he also tried to qualify a McLaren with old friend and Indy 500-winner Arie Luyendyk. However a 3rd driver had a crash in the pre-qualifying and the trio could not start. The last drive in Le Mans could have been his last drive ever after a horrible high speed crash in a Kremer Porsche, sponsored by STP. His partners were Steve Fossett and George Fouche.
In the following years Dickens continued in Sportscars for World Championship as well as in the USA. When Group C ended, he tried to get established in the USA but could not really find the right path. However he made a few attempts with Jim Downing in the Kudzu and with the first Apple-sponsored car, a Spice Chevrolet with Rick Sutherland. He was also racing in Paul Lanzantes Porsche 911 for the BPR Global GT-series. He came also back to Le Mans for a shorter race at the Bugatti-circuit with Henry Pescarolo in a Porsche 962.
After the serious crash at Le Mans 1996, Dickens took a break from driving. However he came back in a new Gebhardt, manufactured by the German team in cooperation with Gianpiero Moretti and MOMO. He also drove a few races in the Ferrari 333 SP in US with Fredy Lienhardt and Didier Theys. Even in this late phase of his career ha managed a few wins and even more podiums. For example in the Lanzante Porsce 911 in the GPR GT Global Series, the SRTS Lola Nissan and as well as late as 2010 in the West Coast Racing BMW GT3.
Pitstop right before a historical win at Le Mans.
FROM DRIVER TO TEAM MANAGER
In 2000 Dickens started his own team – SRTS – with a Lola SR2. After winning the first race in Kyalami and leading the Rolex Daytona 24-hours (in class) Dickens decided to concentrate on managing the team. SRTS won the SR2 category in the FIA Sportscar Championship the following year with Thed Björk and Larry Oberto. A few years later the team switched to Formula Renault 3,5. After two tough seasons they won the final race at Dubai with Alx Danielsson at the wheel.
He took the role as team manager again in 2015 after a long break from motorsports. The PWR-team clinched the title in the Nordic Formula Renault 1,6 Championship. █