Date of birth : September 11 1914
Deceased : April 17 1997
Biography Vasek Polak
Vasek Polak (Vaclac Polakova) was born in Prague in the Czech Republic. In the 1930’s, Vasek Polak had a machine shop. This is where he started building race engines for motorcycles which he race in enduro races. As a soldier in WWII, Vasek Polak suffered injuries at the end of the war. He later moved to Berlin, Germany where he found a job as a mechanic at the US Army and he got involved in automotive motorsport. He started racing in a custom built Fiat GT .
This is the period where he got acquainted with Ferry Porsche. In 1951 he first moved from Germany to New York. First he worked as a Porsche mechanic at the Max Hoffman VW – Porsche dealership. Polak was such a good mechanic that Max sent him as a Porsche specialist with racing teams to Eastern events.3
In 1958, he moved on to Hermosa Beach, California. This is were Vasek Polak started the first Porsche exclusive dealership in the United States in 1959. Vasek was a wizard with the famous and difficult 4-cam Porsche racing engine. The same year he opened his shop, Polak prepared the engine in the Jean Behra RSK which came in fourth in the Riverside Time Grand Prix.
Vasek Polak Racing Team
From now on, Vasek Polak himself concentrates more on the preparation of race cars than on the racing them. Soon his name was spread in the racing world, and he gained some great pilots as customers : Jack McAfee, Ken Miles, Roger Penske, Joakim Bonnier, Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips, Bob Holbert …
In 1966 Vasek Polak drove a car from the showroom of his dealership and handed it over to his mechanics to prepare it for racing. Jerry Titus drove the car in the SCCA D Production championship. This can be considered as the start of the Vasek Polak Racing Team. In the same period, the Porsche factory asked Polak to work on their factory racing team during the Sebring 12H.
He campaigned a Porsche 917 for the 1971 through the 1974 Can Am seasons and entered Porsche 934 and Porsche 935 models in the Trans Am Series. In 1976 George Follmer won the Category 2 Drivers’ Championship of the Trans Am series in a Porsche 934 under the Vasek Polak Racing banner.
On March 11 1997 , Polak was traveling on the autobahn in Germany on his way back from the Czech Republic. Driving a new Porsche 911 Turbo S, at a speed reported in excess of 110 mph (some say much in excess!), he struck a road median between Prague and Munich. He broke both his arms and legs, and had some severe internal injuries. After first treatments in a German hospital, a plane was fitted with a intensive care unit, to transport Vasek Polak back to the USA. During a fuel stop in Montana, he suffered a cardiac arrest that was fatal to him.