Ford CEO Jim Farley put another podium on his racing résumé Sunday at Sebring, winning in a 1978 Cosworth Ford Lola T298 with co-driver Billy Johnson in the 12-hour vintage endurance race and spoiling an opponent’s chances of taking home a fourth consecutive class win.
Farley’s team took first in Group B at the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Sebring 12 Hour, Pistons and Props, presented by the Alan Jay Automotive Network, beating out three-peat winners Gray Gregory and Ethan Shippert in the Phil Reilly and Co. 1974 No. 26 Chevron B26.
Farley is a member of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) and a regular competitor in vintage racing events and has described racing as his personal equivalent to yoga.
“I feel bad for all those people who just wake up on a weekend and just play golf,” Farley said from the podium. Gearhead though he may be, Farley knows where his bread is buttered. “I’ll make this short. I’ll make this quick. Please go buy a Ford,” he concluded.
When he replaced former CEO Jim Hackett, he made it clear that he intended to continue racing. He obtained permission from Executive Chairman Bill Ford to continue racing in one of the earliest conversations Farley can recall between the two of them.
Farley, of course, is not the only Detroit bigwig who sees the green flag from inside a cockpit on weekends. Former SRT boss and current head of global design for Stellantis, Ralph Gilles, was known for piloting an entry in the SRT Viper Cup Series back when the cars were in production, and has participated in several high-profile competitive events, including the Targa Newfoundland and Mille Miglia.
GM President Mark Reuss is another bona fide competitor. Outside of Detroit, Toyota President Akio Toyoda and Stellantis Group boss Carlos Tavares both have impressing racing résumés of their own.