Electramotive Years   1979 - 1981

    The development of the championship winning Electramotive 280 ZX GTU, into a Championship Winning GTO car was truly an enjoyable experience.  I was able to make various suggestions utilizing my racing experiences to make a difference in the development of the car.

1981 Daytona

     Electramotive Engineering was formed in 1975 by Don Devendorf and John Knepp.  They were located in El Segundo, CA and started racing Datsuns in the ranks of the IMSA GTU series, working up to GTO.

     I began with Electramotive in 79, setting new qualifying records at Riverside and Road America while co-driving with Don Devendorf in the debut of the Electramotive Datsun 280 ZX.  I helped Don win the 1979 IMSA GTU Championship.

     In 1980, I co-drove with Don at the Road America Pabst 500.  Set another new lap record there, en route to the 1980 IMSA GTU Championship.

     It was to prove a long and successful teaming.  Don did trouble shooting for NASA when he worked for Hughes.  A true genius in electronics, he was sought after by Porsche, Bosch, and Ford, for his engine management system.

     The modest bodywork used in 1979-80 is about to give way to a meaner-looking and much more purposeful body shown in subsequent photos.

     Don's "Black Box" was developed at Electramotive on his 280ZX GTU cars to the GTO, and finally the GTP cars.  It was a major advantage for power and fuel economy.  It was flawless!

     Initially we had to fit twin turbos into the engine bay, and the dilemma was solved by my suggestion to lay the engine on its side.  After all if it worked for Mercedes, it would work for the 280ZX.  IMSA soon banned our twin turbo idea, and we were relegated to one.  The inline six engine responded fantastically to the single turbo, tremendous power and torque and reliability.

    According to a Road & Track road test, the 580 horsepower turbocharged straight six Datsun engine pushed the 2600 lbs. car from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds.  It turned 131 mph the SS-mile in 11.5 seconds.  Eventually, the engine made almost 700 horsepower which surprised many a Porsche 935.

     The biggest development of the car was trying to get the power down to the real wheels.  The early 280ZX GTU homologated rear spoiler was not adequate.  We started adding Lexan extended rear lips to it, until it finally became a full blown extended spoiler in the later development of the car.  This truly trapped the air as the early Can Am cars were able to do.  It became an infamous competitor, challenging the twin turbo Porsche cars in the later races.  Oh what fun it was to do that!

     The car became a major contender in overall positions of IMSA races, embarrassing many GTP prototype cars.

      We always used the Number 83 on all the cars I drove with Don.  It was his lucky number coming from his early racing of Datsun cars.

Tony a2z 1983 Riverside IMSA race

     In 1983, I co-drove the 280-ZX turbo with Don Devendorf to four consecutive wins at Brainerd, Sears Point, Portland, and Road Atlanta.  I also set a new lap record at Pocono Raceway.

Tony Adamowicz, Gary Wheeler, Tony a2z, Tony Adamowics, a2zRacer, Gary Wheeler, Tony Adamowicz

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1981  Road America, Elkhart Lake:   I set a new lap record