When little Adam Lacko first sat in a go-kart in 1994, he probably had no idea that one day he would end up among one of the top European motorsport drivers. The Buggyra Racing team driver has won numerous international championships and he is a multiple European Vice-Champion. In 2017 he achieved the long-awaited title of European Champion. Mr Lacko talked to us about his beginnings, his successes and his plans for the future.
Hello, Adam. Tractor racing is a rather unusual sport. How did you get into it?
Although it may not seem like it, tractor-trailers have had a long history in the Czech Republic, and this year these races celebrate their 30th anniversary. I got into this sport through Standa Matějovský, the European Champion from 2001, who was racing for Tatra Truck Racing Team at the time. I am from Frenštát, which is a short drive to Kopřivnice, so Standa has known me since I was 6 years old, when I first started racing go-karts. He approached me to see if I would like to try driving a Tatra tractor. I liked the idea and so we decided to give it a try. The first year I was a test driver for Tatra and the following year I was racing Super Race Truck in the Tatra Jamal category.
You have accomplished a lot since then. You are a multiple EuropeanVice-Champion, European Champion, the only racer who hasn’t missed the top three since 2015, and you’ve won the trophy ‘Zlatý volant‘ several times... What experiences or achievements have you valued the most in your career so far?
Even though I have had many successes, you always want to win. And I managed to do that by becoming the European Champion. That is my biggest achievement so far, because truck competitions are all over the world – there are championships in China, Brazil, America, Europe, however there are no World Championships – Therefore, the European Championships are the highest competitions for us. I won the title, and that is what I’m most happy about. Of course, I’m also very happy to see that my nine-year-old son is slowly following in my footsteps – he’s racing go-karts for the first time this year.
My lifelong racing dream is to try the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
How fit does a professional car driver have to be, what do you have to do to get there? How often do you train?
Many people say: “Yeah, you’re just sitting on your ass and turning the wheel”. (laughs) But it’s not as easy as it seems. For example, our Buggyra tractors are built in such a way that we sit on the engine while driving. The cabin is made of aluminum and the engine is obviously very hot. Even if it’s only twenty degrees outside, we have between fifty and sixty degrees in the car. I’m sure you can then imagine what it must be like in the car when it’s thirty degrees outside. We spend at least six drives of about forty-five minutes each in one day in the cabin. If you weren’t fit, you wouldn’t last in there.
Do you have some kind of ritual before your races?
We have one truck on our team where we do telemetry. There’s a bench that you can stretch out on. So my ritual before important things, like timed practice or a race, is to stretch out there for at least a minute and relax, think about the ride, and then go into the car with a clear head. It’s actually like a kind of meditation. Everybody knows to leave me alone for those few minutes.
Yeah, you’re just sitting on your ass and turning the wheel.
How difficult is it to raise money and attract potential partners on the Czech market?
Times are, of course, getting harder, in all fields. So we also have to get up to work and find sponsors, because we know that we can’t do it without them. That’s why we always thank all our sponsors and we are very happy that they support us. Fortunately, so far, we have been we have been successful with this. Thanks to the fact that we have good results so there will always be sponsors. The sponsors become visible not only in the Czech Republic, but also in the whole of Europe, which is of great value to these companies.
What are your plans for next year? Where can we see you racing?
I would like to continue racing tractor trailers and this year I also raced touring cars, the so-called “GT”, so I would like to continue that next year as well.
Have you experienced everything in the world of cars, or do you still have some unfulfilled dreams?
Apart from formulas, I have really driven almost everything with cars. But my lifelong racing dream is to try the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. I haven’t managed to achieve that yet but I hope to one day.
You currently live in Prague with your family, but you come from Frenštát pod Radhoštěm. Do you often come back to your home town?
Yes, I live in Prague with my wife and children, but I still have my base in Frenštát. I like to come back to Beskid Mountains and spend time there. Apart from my company, I have my parents and sister there, so as they say, I always have somewhere to go back to “the warm home”.
Adam, thank you for the interview.
Foto: archiv Adama Lacka