Brian Faessler has been round the race track his entire life, “I guess you could say I’ve been around it since I was in the womb,” he says. Hanging on the wall of the family’s performance shop shop are photos of his mom making laps on the track at Charlotte with unborn Brian along for the ride, all the while dad was racking up wins in road racing competitions behind the wheel of his ’65 coupe.
The Faesslers, have a love of Fords, and for 30 years Brian’s father Paul has operated Paul’s Automotive Engineering (PAE) on the north side of Cincinnati, OH. The family business has evolved away from restorations in recent years, and more into performance and race cars. For the last 20 years, they’ve also relied onForgeline to provide the wheels for not only the family racers, but also many of their customers. “We’ve been with Forgeline for over 20 years now, and I was surprised to learn we’re one of their longest running dealers in the country,” says Paul.
Forgeline’s lightweight, high-strength wheel designs have been a key part to the Faesslers winning ways, which include seven NASA championships in the last eight years. Their current Mustang racer wears the company’s three-piece GA3R design, which offers incredible strength, lightness, good looks, and ease of cleaning.
At the ripe old age of 17 Brian began making laps in American Iron competition behind the wheel of a white Fox body, and was quickly transitioned into a S197 Mustang featuring many trick parts, and components designed and built by the family business.
Today at just 22, Brian is making waves in the racing world, having competed in American Iron, and American Iron Extreme, this year the younger Faessler stepped up to NARRA’s GT Unlimited class, one that is typically dominated by Vipers, many of which are owned by individuals with millions to spend on their “hobby”. The underdogs in terms of their chosen car, and their financial means the Faesslers have relied on the support of companies like Forgeline to make young Brian’s racing career possible. “If it wasn’t for companies that sponsor us, we wouldn’t be able to go out and do these things,” says Faessler.
As an example of how expensive this form of amateur racing is, the Faesslers have had a relationship with Hoosier Tire for years, going back well into Paul’s racing career. However, the NARRA series requires a Pirelli tire, since Pirelli is the official tire sponsor. Tires are $600 each, and typically one set will get through one weekend. As a result Faessler has been racing for tires competing in time trials, where the top prize are tires. “He’s won six tires so far this season, which helps,” says Paul
Top Row: Left: Just some of the plumbing for the turbo system. Right: Brian's office is all business, but comfort and safety come first, including a custom built and custom fitted seat, made at the family shop. Bottom Row: No it's not Photoshop trickery, the BOSS 302 intake is turned around backwards, made easy by it's symmetrical design and drive-by-wire thorttle body. This allows for less plumbing and weight for the turbo system.
Brian’s Mustang began life as a Ford Racing body-in-white. Building it at the shop, Paul and his crew which includes Brian who works at the shop when he’s not attending college courses, have taken it through several evolutions to get to the point they’re at today.
Starting up front, the car features an SLA style front suspension, big Brembo brakes, and JRI shocks. In the back, the rear suspension has received several trick components include PAE’s own Watts-link setup, something that the elder Faessler developed using his background in automotive engineering.
The 8.8 rearend has been modified to a floater style for better durability at the track, and to also allow for some negative camber, critical to getting the solid-axle Mustang to turn-in as it should. PAE also handled the mods to the housing on their own, using a process they’ve become quite familiar with over the years.
Providing the power on Brian’s number 018 machine is a Coyote engine. “Our first year in American Iron we were one of the only teams running this engine, and we told everyone this would be the one to have. Today they believe us,” says Paul.
The BOSS 302 based engine uses Wiseco pistons and rods, along with the factory forged crankshaft. The cylinder heads are untouched BOSS 302 models with the exception of Trick Flow valve springs. A BOSS intake manifold is mounted backwards, and sits atop it all, force-fed boost via the rear mounted turbo, another PAE system that is obviously producing excellent results. The rear mount turbo feeds boost back to the intake after passing it through a charge cooler.
Brian was able to take the pole in the recent NARRA race at Watkins Glenn. This was the first Ford to ever win the pole in that class, and Brian didn’t just win the pole, he secured it by over a full second, turning in a 1:56.371 lap time compared to a 1:57.437 lap of the second place qualifying Viper Competition Coupe!
Brian held a commanding lead in the race as well, with nearly four-seconds ahead of the closest car with just laps to go when an issue with the pump-gas they’d been running cost the engine a piston, and Brian the race. Still even with that let-down, he remains third in overall points, just 14 points back from the top spot, with time left in the season to catch up, he’s also currently top contender in points for the series’ Rookie of the Year.
With a natural talent behind the wheel, and the support from the family business building safe, reliable race cars that can win, as well as sponsors like Forgeline backing their efforts we’d say Brian Faessler is a name you’ll be hearing about in the Ford racing world for years to come.