Q&A

Australian Muscle Car - - Man -

AMC: Why is your age usu­ally listed as two years younger?

GF: I lied while I was rac­ing be­cause I’d started so late. I didn’t start ral­ly­ing un­til I was al­most 30 and I was al­ready nearly 40 when I started rac­ing.

AMC: How were the Nis­san years?

GF: It was good right the way through. And Freddy was a re­ally good team man­ager and looked af­ter us re­ally well.

AMC: Did you feel bad about Fred push­ing you out to­wards the end?

GF: Oh yeah, of course, but I ac­cepted it. I’m not silly; he had three driv­ers hap­pen­ing at the same time and I kept do­ing silly things like win­ning the tour­ing cars at Win­ton… He nearly sacked me at Win­ton, I could see it com­ing, and then we won the race!

I mainly didn’t like it be­cause I didn’t like Mark, and I didn’t think that Mark was the way to go, but Fred wanted some­body young to push on with be­cause he’d just lost Glenn Se­ton. I think Mark’s fa­ther had a bit of in­put, so Freddy was push­ing Mark and I kind of took that a lit­tle bit badly.

AMC: You worked well with Glenn.

GF: Glenn had a ton of tal­ent and it was just di­luted by the fact that he wanted to man­age a team, not just drive, but Glenn could have gone any­where – he was tal­ented. To be a top driver, it’s not enough to be a good driver, you have to have other at­tributes and I don’t think Glenn was hun­gry enough to make For­mula 1, for in­stance. To push that far, he didn’t want to go through all the pain to get there.

AMC: In hind­sight, were you dis­ap­pointed you weren’t able to get in­volved in the GT-R pro­gram?

GF: Not re­ally. It doesn’t bother me at all. I think it would have been a pretty agri­cul­tural sort of device.

AMC: It would have won Bathurst though!

GF: Yeah, I know. It would have been nice, but what will be will be… Look, this might sound a bit sel sh, but I’ve al­ways driven for my­self. I’ve driven times where you don’t come any­where

and you know you’ve driven re­ally well, and that’s where the ful ll­ment comes from.

AMC: But doesn’t it stick in your craw that Nis­san didn’t even at­tend the 1983 ATCC nale when you were lead­ing the cham­pi­onship?

GF: You know the old Henry Ford thing, ‘never com­plain, never ex­plain’; well Howard was like that. He would never ever say sorry or any­thing like that. Howard and I had a good re­la­tion­ship and he knew he’d done wrong, but I could never ask him and he would never tell me, so I don’t know what hap­pened.

AMC: I re­call it was in protest against pe­riph­eral port (for Mazda) be­ing al­lowed for Bathurst or some­thing like that.

GF: Re­ally? Well, I never knew any­thing of that.

AMC: Who was the best driver you raced against?

GF: Brock was the best to race against. He was never dirty, even when he had his st out the win­dow at you! I re­mem­ber him fol­low­ing me all the way at Lake­side once, all the bloody race. He couldn’t pass and he never biffed me; I was wait­ing for it, but he never did.

AMC: You did the Round Aus­tralia Trial in a works Cortina; how was that?

GF: It was a mis­take that the project ran so late and the car wasn’t tested. All the things that hap­pened to us, like en­gine mounts shear­ing off at the block, shouldn’t have hap­pened. The Cortina was miles faster than the Com­modore – and we had three good main driv­ers – but what a drama of an event it was.

AMC: Any re­grets about your ca­reer?

GF: I would have liked to have started at 18. I think you’re a bet­ter over­all pack­age (when you’re younger). And it would have been nice to have won Bathurst be­cause I de­served to get it, if you know what I mean. But we never once went to Bathurst know­ing that we had a chance to win it, be­ing bul­let­proof or fast enough. Qual­i­fy­ing is dif­fer­ent to rac­ing with a turbo en­gine.

AMC: So you never think of the one that got away?

GF: The year that got away was 1986 when Gary Scott got pole. I think we might have been pretty com­pet­i­tive in the race if the en­gine held up, and de­pend­ing what boost we de­cided to use. That year the car was pretty com­pet­i­tive with the V8s.

AMC: But that’s the year you had the new chas­sis…

GF: Yes, so I was screwed al­ready. So that year, woulda, coulda, shoulda… But, be­ing a mi­grant and start­ing re­ally late, I think my ca­reer was good – it turned out al­right.

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