Home' Supercar Xtra : Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Issue 108 Contents 52 SUPERCAR XTRA
Fraternising with Foges
really have to dismantle this to rebuild it.’ He brought
in the idea of franchises for each of the teams and put
some structure around it.
Wayne did a magnificent job in laying down the rules
and then, after I finished driving full-time at the end
of 1999, he joined V8 Supercars as its chief executive
officer. But let’s go back a step. In ’96 Tony Cochrane
and James Erskine came along and pitched the team
owners on taking over the running of touring-car racing
and we knew we needed something like that to take us
to the next level.
Anyway, in the early ’90s, Group A was dying. Our TV
ratings were going down, our attendances were going
down, so we sat down as this group as asked, ‘What are
we going to do to turn this around?’ And the answer
was what had already worked, which was the Ford and
Holden V8s. So that’s how that was born, and then
Cochrane came along and they took it to the next level
again. It’s what we still have today, which is Ford versus
We’re saying goodbye to the Falcon, but the excit-
ing replacement is the Mustang. Of course, you’ve
been there once before with the Group A Mustang
in 1985/86. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day. Very dif-
ferent, though, this time. Just explain why you
had to switch to the Mustang in ’85.
Well, when Group C finished after CAMS decided to go to
this worldwide Group A category, there wasn’t a Falcon
that was suitable to go racing (the V8 road-going model
had been dropped in 1982).
Our priority was to remain as competitive as possible
because at that point we knew the Sierra was coming
in a couple of years. It was too soon to go down the
road of the Merkur XR4 Turbo, which they were already
running in Europe (as a forerunner to the Sierra RS Cos-
worth), and it was something totally different to what
I was used to. It had computerised electronic engine
management, whereas I was just a carburettor and dis-
tributor guy – the old Model T Ford stuff. I needed a bit
of time to find the right people and get my head around
what was coming.
So the Ford that fitted the bill was the Mustang, which
Zakspeed had been running in Europe with engines built
by Jack Roush. Ross Palmer (of Palmer Tube Mills, DJR’s
main sponsor) and I went over to Germany to Zakspeed
and asked them if they wanted to sell the two cars they
had, which they did.
One of them had never been raced and the other one
had been raced a couple of times. So we bought the two
cars and brought them back to race here.
To be fair, it was a struggle with them, wasn’t it?
It was. It was difficult, but we could’ve done a much
better job if we had’ve been able to get into the fac-
tory to give us what was there and available, and get it
Unfortunately, Ford was never involved because the
Americans weren’t interested in Group A. It meant noth-
ing to them and was, really, unique to Australia that the
Mustang was going to race in Group A.
They didn’t see any benefit in it. We made the most
of what we had and it filled the gap we needed to fill
until the Sierra.
So the new Mustang next year. How much are you
looking forward to that?
Well, the Falcon is past it’s use-by date. Not only has it
been out of production for a couple of years, but techni-
cally and physically the FG X Falcon racer is at the end
of its life.
The ZB Commodore was a huge step forward and the
Mustang will enable us to catch up. You’re only talking
about very small gains, but in such a tightly controlled
category little things make a big difference. It’s crucial
to have everything spot-on.
It’ll be popular with the fans because the Mustang is
sold here in right-hand-drive and it’s now Ford’s sig-
nature model in Australia. It’s what those people out
there want to see. And it’s great to have Ford Australia
involved in racing again.
I think they’re really excited about it, too. I don’t think
they expected the reaction they got from the public when
they announced they were coming back to Supercars
with the Mustang.
ABOVE: The Group A version
of the Mustang (top) and
the Supercar Mustang that
debuts in 2019.
z_SX108 p48-52 Foges Dick Johnson.indd 52
13/11/18 1:44 am
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