Vehicles | November 25, 2020 6:00 am

Ford’s New CEO Jim Farley Just Won an Endurance Car Race

The definition of walking the walk

Ford CEO Jim Farley car racer
Ford CEO Jim Farley: Gentleman driver of the 21st century.
Ford Motor Co.

On October 1, Ford brought in new CEO Jim Farley as Jim Hackett stepped down from helming the American automaker. At the time of the transition, the big questions about the future of the company included restructuring and electric vehicles, but there was another important point specific to Farley: would he continue racing cars despite his new responsibilities? 

That’s right, Jim Farley isn’t just a car guy, he’s a race car driver of sorts. In fact, just this past weekend, the CEO won an endurance race at the Road Atlanta Grand Prix hosted by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, as the Detroit Free Press reported. This isn’t just some vanity gentleman driver affair, either; as the paper noted, Farley pushed a top speed of 107 mph during the 70-minute race.

“I don’t know that a CEO from any car company has won a truly authentic auto race before,” said Mark Dill, vice president of public relations for the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, according to the Free Press

Being able to continue racing was actually a condition of 58-year-old Farley’s employment, as the executive revealed in an interview back in October. 

“It was probably the second conversation we had after we had talked about this leadership opportunity,” Farley explained, citing executive chairman Bill Ford. “I said, ‘You know, Bill, I just can’t stop racing. It’s just who I am. It’s my yoga. You’ve got to let me do this if I’m going to be a better CEO.’ He was very supportive.” 

Here’s video of Farley in action, as pointed out by The Drive:

Time will tell if the hobby does help the company. But as Autoblog wrote in October, it certainly can’t hurt, as Farley primarily relies on Ford power. This weekend he won in a 1978 Lola T298 prototype with a Ford-Cosworth engine, and he’s also been known to take to the track in a 1966 Ford GT40.

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