INTERVIEW: TA2 owner/driver Adrian Wlostowski

INTERVIEW: TA2 owner/driver Adrian Wlostowski

Trans Am

INTERVIEW: TA2 owner/driver Adrian Wlostowski

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Adrian Wlostowski spent his first full season with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli competing in the SuperGT class in 2020. As the team owner and driver of F.A.S.T. Auto Racing, Wlostowski got up to speed quickly to claim the Rookie of the Year crown and runner up in the SGT class championship.

The New York native moved into the very competitive TA2 class this season, driving the No. 3 Hawk Performance/F.A.S.T. Auto Chevrolet Camaro. In his first year of competition, Wlostowski sits fifth in the points competition after eight rounds. In the Q&A below, find out Wlostowski’s best and worst moments of his inaugural TA2 season, what a race weekend is like splitting duties as a team owner and driver, his goals for the rest of the season and Wlostowski’s future plans with Trans Am.

Q: How did you get into racing?

Wlostowski: I have loved racing since I was a kid, I loved watching the Dale Earnhardt-Jeff Gordon rivalry and was a big fan of both drivers. Dale Earnhardt did amazing things from gaining 18 positions in four laps for his final victory at Talladega in 2000, to flipping over and over at 180mph with the car landing on its wheels then drives the car down pit road to finish the race for points. That’s why I run the No. 3 it’s in memory and honor of Dale Earnhardt.

Q: What is your weekend like as a team owner and driver?

Wlostowski: My race weekends as a driver and owner are very hectic, however my crew chief Peter Bank and crew take a huge burden off my shoulders which lets me concentrate on video, data and discussing the setup with Peter. I play driver-engineer which seems to be working well. We have proven that we are a top-five team in our first year and are moving up each event. As a team we have learned a lot and it is showing in the results!

Q: Your first TA2 season is going well. What’s been the highlight so far?

Wlostowski: My first season in TA2 has been a steep learning curve. Everything from setup, taking care of the car and tires throughout the length of 100-mile race, identifying wear and tear items, etc. My first top-five finish and qualifying at Mid-Ohio was the highlight so far. Since then, we have consistently been in the top five. Since Mid-Ohio our momentum has carried over to all the following races. We are currently fifth in national points and are looking to keep moving up.

Q: What challenges have you faced in your rookie season in TA2?

Wlostowski: Being a new team with a brand-new car that we have zero setup data on has been the most difficult thing. Coming into TA2 without any previous experience with these cars is very difficult. In the beginning the lack of experience, had a direct effect on our finishing position. Now that we have a good understanding of the car and what it takes to go the distance, I feel podium finishes are not far off.

Q: You were second in the SGT champion last season, what’s the biggest difference from the SGT class to TA2?

Wlostowski: The biggest difference for me is to make the car last for 100 miles. The driver at the end who didn’t use up their equipment and is damage free has a good chance to be up front at the end. Taking care of the car is more important in TA2 than any other class I have ever raced. The level of competition is also much, much tighter. They say rubbing is racing and there is a lot of that in TA2!

Q: What do you like most about Trans Am racing?

Wlostowski: TA2 harkens back to the roots of Trans Am. All American muscle cars; Camaros, Mustangs and Dodge Challengers battling for supremacy, and that’s so cool. TA2 is some of the closest racing anywhere and with fields of 30 or more cars taking the green it is absolutely a blast to be a part of.

Q: The next event is in your home state, which we missed last year due to COVID. What are you looking forward to most about the Watkins Glen weekend?

Wlostowski: Watkins Glen is our house and even though we have limited experience in a TA2 car here, I feel like we’ll do very well. We’ll be looking for our first podium finish and with so many of my friends and family attending that would be fantastic!

Q: How does it feel to know you were part of the biggest field in Trans Am history and a race of such historical importance for Trans Am in Nashville?

Wlostowski: It was a great feeling — the race was very exciting. It was my first time at a street course. It was very close racing with no room for two or three wide, but we were doing it anyway with no room for error — I just loved it! Big thanks to the Big Machine group and Trans Am for putting on such a tremendous event.

Q: What is the future of your team and its plans for TA2?

Wlostowski: Our plans are to return in 2022 for a championship run. The current team will stick together, and we’ll continue to have the support of Hawk Performance. It will be great going into next year with a proven Howe Racing Enterprises chassis and a good understanding how to set it up.

Q: What are your goals for the balance of the season?

Wlostowski: Our goal is to get some podium finishes and in the end finish in the top three for the season.

Q: Was there anything we didn’t ask that you would like to include?

Wlostowski: I would love to thank my friends, crew, my family, and Hawk Performance for the opportunity and their represent their brand and to have remarkable brake pads on our car!

Trans Am returns to action for a double-header weekend at Watkins Glen International Sept. 10-12 as part of a SpeedTour event. The full event will be live-streamed on the Trans Am Series by Pirelli Racing App. Download and subscribe here: https://bit.ly/34qQfCG

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