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Bud Moeller
McLean, VA

1980 Ferrari 312 T5/046

1979 Ensign N-179

Bud Moeller's fascination with Ferraris goes back to the days of Ferrari great Niki Lauda, one of his heroes back in the 70's. "He was a driver who not only won world championships, but had a crash that nearly ended his life, and came back and won yet another championship after that. Phenomenal," says Moeller.  At age 26, Moeller bought his first Ferrari -- a 308 for weekend use -- with a partner. Moeller had 3/4 of the car, therefore he got the use of it three weekends of the month. "It worked out just great for both of us. We were able to do something we couldn't have done alone." Since then, Moeller has had a Ferrari in the garage almost continuously. "I got the bug very early," says Moeller. "Once it's in your blood, it stays." Since then, the Ferraris he's owned include two Daytonas, two Boxers, a 330 GTC, and a 355; he currently owns a 550 Maranello and has just received a brand new 360 Spider.

It's only natural that eventually, Moeller would acquire the ultimate in Ferrari machinery -- a Formula One race car. His Mauro Forghieri designed 1980 Ferrari 312 T5 had been in the collection of Luigi Chinetti, the importer for Ferrari of North America. When he died, son Luigi, Jr. was getting ready to restore a couple of cars in the collection and planned to sell one in order to generate cash toward restoration of the others. Moeller had been in the market for a Ferrari Formula One for eighteen months. "I told Luigi, Jr. that I was interested in restoring the car and putting it out where people would see it and hear it, and he said this is probably what his dad would have enjoyed and wanted to see with the car, so we cut a deal." That was in 1995; after a year and a half of restoration in Italy, Moeller has been racing the Ferrari ever since.

Moeller grew up out of the country (he spent only 3rd grade in the U.S.) -- his father was in the foreign service, working at embassies and military bases. Moeller's early years were spent in Germany and his junior high years were spent in his favorite place, Japan. "I think living outside the U.S. helps to put the U.S. in perspective in the world." 

Moeller's high school years ('68-'72) were spent in England. "We lived about 45 minutes away from Silverstone and I went to watch Grand Prix races there when I was a kid. Some really great names -- Jackie Stewart, you know, people like that -- were running. A lot of guys that were revered. That was part of getting that car stuff into my blood as a teenager."

Moeller returned to the U.S. for college, receiving his undergrad degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech. But he switched to business, receiving an MBA in general management and strategy from Harvard. "I enjoyed the leadership and management side of things much more than designing improved systems for refineries and so I decided midway through my undergraduate days that I was going to go for an MBA."

Moeller has been a management consultant for twenty-four years, currently working in the San Francisco office of the world's largest management and technology consulting firm, Accenture, a ten-plus billion dollar company with 75,000 employees worldwide. Moeller primarily works with communications and high tech companies. "Our firm works with any name that you would read in the business press. We help companies adjust business strategies to evolving market conditions. My particular specialty is to help them reorganize and to make all the necessary changes in the future to be successful. These days it's about downsizing, but in prior years before we hit this market downturn, a lot of it was helping companies to unlock their growth potential, helping them to create alliances with other companies."

Of course, racing remained an attraction and he started running the 308 at Ferrari Club events. Moeller and the 308's co-owner also autocrossed a Lotus Europa. "It was very competitive. In fact, I was fourth in the autocross nationals in Salina, Kansas." 

In 1984, Moeller's wife, Carol, gave him a class at the Bondurant School at Sears Point for a birthday present -- it hooked him on open wheel cars. He went to the Russell school in '87 and has been racing with their series on and off ever since. 

Not long after, Moeller started running a Lotus 47 (the racing version of the Lotus Europa) at vintage events. The car had a rich history at Le Mans, but growing dissatisfied with the feel of a fendered car, he swapped it for a British built 1979 Formula One Ensign N 179. "They were a second tier team; they're not as famous as Ferrari and Williams and some of those others. But they did have a series of pretty good drivers who moved on to other cars. Mine was driven by Derek Daly, who drove not only in Formula One, but in the U.S. Now he's a commentator on ESPN." The Ensign is basically Moeller's second tier car, a backup when the Ferrari starts acting "finicky." "The Ferrari -- I don't want to say it's easier to drive -- but it inspires much more confidence because it's a more predictable car. I think that's reflected by the relative grid positions of those two teams, too. And the sound of the Ferrari is something that everyone comments on. The flat 12 is a very different sound than the Cosworth cars, of course."

Moeller's Ferrari was kind of an interim car for the 1980 team. "They'd won the championship (as well as second place) in '79 and decided to do just  minor updates to the car for '80 and put their investment efforts into the '81 car, which was going to be their turbo car. So unfortunately, while they took a minor step ahead from '79 to '80, everybody else took a leap and they moved from being the front running, championship-winning team to scoring a relatively modest number of points in 1980." One problem was that it was early in the development of ground effects. "They were still pretty novice when it came to understanding aerodynamics. If a car would catch a curb, the skirt would lift up, so they'd be very very twitchy on any sort of a bumpy surface." Moeller's chassis number 46 was built for Gilles Villeneuve, but '79 champion Jody Scheckter drove it in most of the races (his best finish being a 5th place at Long Beach). "It really was down to the driver to kick the thing around and overcome its evil habits," says Moeller.

Moeller says the car can be rather squirrelly and doesn't handle as well as the pre-ground effects cars because Historic Grand Prix will not let them run the skirts that sealed the vacuum under the car, creating a low pressure zone. "The challenge of driving one of these cars is that it was designed with skirts providing the primary downforce. The wings were actually designed in those days to force air through the tunnels under the car and over the back end of the car, creating a pressure zone behind it to force the tunnels to work more effectively. So without ground effects, these wings are actually very, very ineffective. In fact, if you look at the wing of the Ferrari, the rear element is actually pointed up -- it looks like an airplane wing. So by itself, it would lift the car off the ground."

Moeller says a racer running a sister car in the U.K. has made major improvements in the suspension geometry. "They're driving in a bit more competitive series than we are in the United States. Yet we decided we're going to keep ours as original as possible and have to drive a bit slower."

Nevertheless, Moeller says the Ferrari is "still plenty fast."

"These cars will do zero to a hundred in less than four seconds, so they're pretty quick. Anytime we're out there on the straights, we push them as hard as we can. They really will fly. I think we were geared for about 190 at Indianapolis this year."

HGP is not the only series Moeller races in. This year, he ran in the SCCA Formula Mazda series, finishing second in his region. While he didn't go to the Runoffs, he did well against last year's national champion at a national race. "There were two guys from the pro series that were first and second, last year's national champion was third and I was fourth, so I felt pretty good. Maybe I'll go to the Runoffs at some point. I was within visual range of third -- I certainly wasn't trying to pass him on the last lap, but he was within striking distance." 

Moeller finds driving the Formula Mazda more like driving a go-kart than the powerful Formula One Ferrari, and the racing is different. "The (SCCA) drivers are by no means as gentlemanly (as vintage racers) and they're not as skilled. For someone to be a Grand Prix driver, they've got to have an incredible command of the machinery and good reflexes and be able to pay great attention to everything going on around them because things happen so fast. At the end of the straight at Indy, we were traveling the distance of a football field in about a second, so you have to be pretty good to handle a car at that speed." 

He found a marked difference in aggression levels between SCCA and HGP commensurate with the value of the cars. "(In HGP) if I can get by somebody, I will, so it's racing, but racing without the edge of focusing on winning over everything else. These cars are priceless; they have an incredible history. We would be very poor stewards of these vehicles if we let anything happen to them. So I think HGP has the right philosophy."

"On the other hand, I do also have the SCCA formula car series. There, it's pedal to the floor. You know, stick your nose in where there may or may not be room; you give it a try. So I get my competitive juices flowing and my aggressions out of the way in that series. I manage to be a bit more gentlemanly in the Historic Grand Prix series." 

Moeller thinks "HGP is the right thing in the right place at the right time." "There is a great appreciation in the U.S. for Formula One and the famous Formula One history of drivers. For us to be able to bring those cars out is tremendous for the fans. It's great fun for us, but I think the fans enjoy it more than we do. There are so many people that have come by and said, 'I have a picture of this Ferrari at Long Beach,' or Canada or wherever it is."

While Moeller says racing is his fundamental outlet for his aggression and passion, he says he also plays tennis and golf "poorly." "They're much less exciting than getting out in a race car and going 200 miles per hour. It's kind of hard to find time for much else when you spend ten or twelve weekends with the SCCA series and another five or six vintage racing -- all that compressed between March and November."

Other hobbies when at home in Danville, California include collecting art and wine. While the Moellers collect mostly contemporary art -- the premier pieces are by Picasso and Chagall -- art and racing intersect with a Leroy Neiman painting of the Caesar's Palace Grand Prix with Villeneuve's Ferrari in front. "He didn't paint my year, unfortunately, but I do have a couple of other paintings by other artists of my car. One is by Gavin McLeod -- I think he's done quite a bit of automotive art."

Moeller describes his wife Carol as "very supportive" and has come to all of the vintage events. The Moellers have a 20 year old daughter, Melaine, in college on the East Coast and a sixteen year old son, Kehne, who comes out to the races and has driven go-karts. "But he has aspirations for jumping into a race car. I expect some day to be racing side by side like Danny Baker and his dad, Bob, in HGP."

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