Ford CEO Jim Farley finishes second at Le Mans racing event
Farley calls racing his 'yoga'
Ford CEO Jim Farley has been driving the automaker toward an electric future, but he still likes driving its old-school cars.
Farley is an avid collector of vintage racers that he regularly enters in historic events.
The vehicles have included Shelby Cobras, a Ford-powered 1978 Lola T298 and a 200 mph Ford GT40 like the one Ford famously beat Ferrari with at Le Mans in the 1960s.
Farley has been bringing the GT40 to the annual Le Mans Classic event since 2018, and his persistence has paid off with a second place finish over the Fourth of July weekend.
He tweeted after the event, "A dream come true. A podium finish at LeMans Classic in a GT40. Three hours of flat-out racing against some of the best drivers I know. What a great team!"
Farley took part in three 45-minute heat races, and his average finish ranked him second in the GT40's class.
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He will take some extra pride in having brought the car into shape. It had been converted into a road car in 1971, but Farley restored it to its period-correct racing form including changing its metallic red paint back to Ford dark blue with Wimbledon white stripes.
"Simple stuff like seat height, my position in the car, how the pedals work, because I want to win, and I want to do well as an American over here," he told Petrolicious in 2016.
Despite the risks involved to the CEO of the number 22 company on the Fortune 500 list, Farley has approval from Ford Chairman Bill Ford to continue his racing exploits.
"I was very up-front with Bill about my racing, and he’s been so supportive," Farley told Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty shortly after becoming CEO of Ford.
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"He plays competitive ice hockey, and he said, 'No, no, you need to keep racing, that’s your yoga, and it’s good for you to keep connected with the product like that.'"
Farley's Le Mans finish was not his first success, either. He had a class wins in 2020 and 2021 at the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association events in Atlanta and Sebring in the Lola.