Brian Wolfe, a 26-year Ford veteran who has held a series of management positions within Ford’s powertrain operations, has been named the new director of Ford Racing Technology, the company announced today.
Wolfe will replace Dan Davis, who has overseen the company’s racing efforts the past 11 years. Davis will retire after 32 years with the company on Aug. 1.
"Dan has done a great job for the company and its racing program, and he’s going to be a tough act to follow," said Wolfe. "I look forward to the challenge of taking the program forward and continuing the record of success he brought to us."
Wolfe, 47, has been director, Powertrain Calibration and Controls, Product Development, since 2002.
In his most recent job, Wolfe had global responsibility for all powertrain computer control software applications and powertrain calibration, including drivability and emissions.
He began his career at Ford Motor Company in 1982 and has held various positions within Ford’s powertrain development area, including a stint as manager of Ford’s Advanced Engine Group for North America, where he helped oversee the development of the Aston Martin V-12 engine.
Wolfe received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from University of Michigan-Dearborn.
He’s an avid amateur drag racer and still owns the 1969 Fairlane CobraJet he bought at age 15.
Wolfe lives in Plymouth, Mich. He and his wife, Nancy, have two daughters and a son.
"For me, a kid from Michigan whose father idolized Henry Ford, there was never any doubt where I was going to work," Wolfe said. "To have this opportunity now to take the racing program forward is a dream come true."
Under Davis’ leadership of Ford Racing Technology, the company captured three NASCAR Sprint Cup driver’s titles and four manufacturer’s titles. In addition, he helped with the formation of Roush-Yates Engines, the premier engine supplier to Ford NASCAR, sports car and USAC racing programs.
In NHRA, the company captured eight consecutive Funny Car championships, and Davis led development of the new Ford BOSS 500 nitro engine, the first new nitro engine in drag racing the past 40 years.
Davis also led major safety initiatives in both Champ Car racing and NHRA, where use of Ford Blue Box data recorders is now mandatory.
He also led a resurgence of Ford customer programs in road racing, where the Ford Mustang FR500GT, Mustang FR500C and now Mustang FR500S race cars are sold through Ford and compete in road racing circuits in North American and Europe.
Davis also will be known for starting the Clorox/Ford Women’s Driver Development Program in USAC, the first partnership of a consumer sponsor and auto manufacturer to try and develop women for professional racing.
He also expanded Ford’s grassroots racing programs, helping start the USAC Ford Focus Midget Series, which has grown nationally as a cost-effective way for youths to enter racing.