MM&FF: The big chunk that we haven't discussed yet is NASCAR. NASCAR has changed radically over the years since Ford got back into racing in 1982. How do you assess Ford's current position in NASCAR? Do you have enough teams to generate the research and development data you need to progress against Chevrolet, Dodge, and especially Toyota?
Wolfe: NASCAR is part of the fabric of Ford Racing. We have an enormous number of fans of Ford and our drivers, and it's a key part of any racing strategy. How many teams we can afford to assist, and how many major sponsors we can help them find, those are the keys, more so than our direct involvement. One of the things I think that gives Ford a unique advantage when teams go looking for a new direction is that we have Roush-Yates Racing Engines doing our engine development, building the best racing engines available on the planet. So, whoever runs a Ford will have the advantage of competitive horsepower with the most reliable race engines you can buy. With the Roush-Yates affiliation, everybody gets exactly the same product, and they get the same support at the track.
MM&FF: Now that you're here, is there something, some niche, some gap, that you would like to address in the Ford Racing program?
Wolfe: I don't think we've ever really reached out to Sportsman racers. We really want to embrace these guys, and that's what the Cobra Jet drag race program will do, if we can get it approved and get the cars built. Another thing we want to do is address the European cars, the smaller B and C cars that will be coming over here. Now that gasoline is $4.00 a gallon, we want to give the customer a small, fuel-efficient car that can also be fun to drive. We want to tie some very good, very edgy performance parts into those cars right from the first day they go on sale, offering a range of performance packs that are dealer-installed. They'll be engineered right, designed right, and ready to go, so you'll be able to get 35-40 mpg and have fun doing it.
MM&FF: Thanks, Brian, and good luck, especially with that Cobra Jet drag race program. We'd like a manual coupe in white, no stripes.
The reason for Ford's motorsports involvement is to sell more cars, to improve the company's image.