Ford is one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers. Running the company is certainly a full-time job, but CEO Jim Farley still finds time for some extracurricular activities. However, therein lies a philosophical question. Is racing a legendary GT40 at a prestigious automotive event really extracurricular for the head of Ford Motor Company?
The event in question was the Le Mans Classic, which took place last weekend. Not only did the Blue Oval boss show up with a racing suit, he raced for three hours in several heats and finished second in his class. As for the GT40, that’s his car and he’s raced at Le Mans before, though this past weekend’s performance was his best ever according to the Detroit Free Press.
Suffice it to say, Farley didn’t turn a few parade laps for the camera. The video at the top of this article comes from our colleagues at Motorsport.tv, featuring some of the action at the historic French track. Jump ahead to the 5.50:00 mark to see the start of Farley’s first session, complete with a classic Le Mans running start. He’s driving the no. 64 GT40, a 1965 model positioned at the start of the field.
Given the nature of the Le Mans Classic event, the old-school running start is ceremonial but the racing is still rather intense. During this 43-minute session, there are a few vehicles that retire with mechanical issues, and there’s a heart-stopping near-collision with a Ferrari 250 GTO at one point in the race. For that matter, the weekend event also saw the one-off Ferrari Breadvan take a header into the fence. So while it’s not as on-the-edge as you’ll find with modern race teams competing for championships, it is still a race.
To Farley’s credit, he looks composed and fast through this first session. That’s not easily done in an old GT40, demonstrating that he indeed knows a thing or two about going fast. Whether you like Ford vehicles or not, it’s hard to not have some respect for a CEO who literally races his company’s cars on Sunday, then gets to work on Monday.
Sources: Jim Farley via Twitter, Detroit Free Press, Motorsport.TV
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