It may seem strange that on the Grand Prix Drivers Club web site we should be talking about an American driver who never competed in Formula 1 but, in fact, Tony was one of the finest sports car drivers and shared drives with many of our Club members, notably David Piper.
Adamowicz, who died this week a year after being diagnosed with cancer,won the IMSCA Camel GT title no fewer than eight times in a variety of different cars and for a number of different teams. He was a well educated man who rose through the ranks within Washington circles to become a communication aide to no fewer than three US Presidents, Dwight Eisenhower, John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and it was during his time with Eisenhower that he took up club racing at the local Marlboro circuit. Tony was noticed by Bob Tullius whose Group 44 Jaguar team was developing and it was with Tullius that Adamowicz moved into major GT and sports car racing.
He did some single seater racing in Formula 5000 and won the US Championship driving one of Dan Gurney’s Eagle 5000s but clearly it was in series like IMSA, Camel GT and Prototypes that he became a household name in US Racing.
It is this period that David Piper remembers meeting him at the Sebring 12 Hour race when David was driving for NART with a 1964 Ferrari GTO. David was paired with Tony in an ex-factory Ferrari 312P in the 1970 Daytona 24 Hour race. “We were a well matched pair and I asked him to drive my Porsche 917 with me at Watkins Glen in 1970. Then he drove one of my Porsche 917’s with Mario Casoni in the 9 Hour Kyalami race finishing seventh. At the time I was out of action with a temporarily lost leg!
“ For me Tony was an excellent driver and good fun to be with. He was kind on cars and gave good feed back. Liz and I liked him but like some yanks he had to be a self-promotor”
He is also remembered for his sense of humour and he was one of the founding members of the Polish Racing Drivers Club of America! After racing professionally he hauled out the 5000 Gurney Eagle and won four US Historic F5000 titles to illustrate that talent never diminishes with age.
Throughout the history of motor racing there have been many racing drivers like Tony Adamowicz who never had the opportunity to break into Formula 1 but clearly his car control and success marked him as one who might well have succeeded.
The Grand Prix Drivers Club sends condolences to all of Tony Adamowicz’s family.