On historic racing
E: So, what’s it been like racing your GT40 at Goodwood? How long have you been racing?
JF: “It was a bit hectic actually. Because on the first flying lap, some people had an accident in front. I suddenly discovered liquid down so I spun. We went out again and I think I got three or four laps at good speed, so mid-pack.
“I really didn’t have much money when I first started. I bought a Cobra about 25 years ago from a gentleman who was dying. I loved it because it was a Ken Miles Cobra that got crashed at Road America. I said I want to buy it, he said, ‘I want you to have it but If you get it, you have to promise me you race it’. I’d never raced, never had any money. But I had training, I restored the car and I raced it, to live up to his ask."
“I raced the Cobra in America for ten years, very successfully. I loved the Cobra, but I wanted something safer. The GT40 was the dream Ford and you could put a full cage in it. That’s when I put my eye out for one. I had to sell everything to buy one, everything I own. I had to do a lot of negotiation with my wife.”
E: And now you’ve got the bug. What importance does racing hold for you now?
JF: “It was totally indirect but I think I’m addicted now. With my position, the racing is now more important. It’s a way for me to completely detach from all the problems, anything with work. For those 20 minutes in the car, it’s all gone. You can’t think about anything else but the driving.”
E: That’s some escapism… Does it lend any perspective when it comes to the day job?
JF: “It keeps me grounded as a person and makes me a better leader. In racing, just as in business, you want to be nice and pleasant to everyone. Your team is more important than you. Everyone is important in racing and you’ll never be successful if you’re a jerk.
“On the track itself, competing, I have to make choices about aggression. It also teaches me to moderate my aggressiveness in business. Never lose your cool. Nothing good is gonna happen when you’re racing a car if you lose your cool.”