Over the last four or five seasons of historic racing, Andy Wolfe has really made his name as a racer and preparer in the mould of established aces like Martin Stretton and Simon Hadfield. Paul Lawrence caught up with him.
“I ran the team as a hobby business up until three or four years ago and so we were very low key,” says Wolfe. “Then my circumstances changed and I lost my job in the engineering company I was running. We decided to move it on and make it a full time team.”
Wolfe’s background is as a racer although he first started in rallying before moving into one-make racing. “I then dropped into historic racing in 1998 in the Supersports Cup. The whole thing that drives me is the racing.”
The Wolfe team has stepped up another gear for 2015 and is notably running a range of cars for drivers like Jason Wright and Michael Gans, with a particularly strong presence in Masters Historic Racing.
“We’ve invested in staff for 2015 and we’ve got some really good guys and it is going very well,” says Wolfe. “I’m the principle but you’ve got to have good guys around you. We’ve got about 30 cars under our wing altogether and about 20 of them are active. We’ve got 13 cars racing at the Silverstone Classic!”
Italy-based Wright decided to go Formula 1 last year and now has a Shadow DN8. “I joined forces with him and got myself a Tyrrell 011, which is a really good challenge for me,” says Wolfe, who had done very little single-seater racing before this season. “It’s all about set-up and we’ve got a couple of very experienced Formula 1 guys helping me along with that and it’s going well. It’s something I can do on my own away from the customer work. I ran an F1 Hesketh in the early 2000s with Philip Walker.”
The team’s standard is evidenced by the long-term commitment of key customers. “Jason has been with me for 16 years now and Michael is a good friend of Jason’s and they work well together. Graham Wilson came with us about three years ago with the Lotus Elan and we won the Gentleman Drivers’ title as I share some cars with the owners as well. Then we’ve got five or six other customers.”
While running the team is his main priority, it is clear that Wolfe is never happier than when racing historic cars. “You need to spend a lot of time in these cars to be able to jump from car to car,” he says. “You look at Martin Stretton, Simon Hadfield and Gary Pearson; we can all do the same and we’re all around the same pace.”
The team is based in Huntingdon and now has 17 staff as well as an engineering facility. “We don’t advertise, everything is done on word of mouth. If you do a good job and are a friendly outfit with no vices, people will want to come with you,” says Wolfe. “I think we’re challenging the top teams now.”