Interview with Joe Aquilante – Principal, Phoenix American Motorsports

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December 1, 2015 / Matt Kistler

A huge thank you to Joe for taking the time to answer our questions.  We wish whole team the best of luck as they take on Pirelli World Challenge in 2015!

Matt:   Phoenix American Motorsports raced Mustangs in CTSCC in 2014, what brought you over to Pirelli World Challenge for 2015?

JA:  There were several factors, with cost initially being the prime consideration.  However, as we dug deeper into the other key factors like sprint vs endurance format, TV exposure, series technical and operational management and overall long term benefits, it became clear to Preston, Andrew and myself that the sprint format in one hour or less races may be the most advantageous for our team.  Splitting GTS and Touring Car into their own races was a major benefit in our view and will pay big dividends into the future.  The format is easy to view and understand for the fans.

It is very clear that Scott Bove and his team have organized PWC into a vibrant, exciting format and package that really is the way sports car road racing should be. They have worked on a TV package that appears to fit, and they are working hard at leveling the playing field from a technical viewpoint.  And, they understand that the teams are their customers also.  In summary it is good for the team, our drivers and our fans and customers.

Matt:  Even though Blackdog and their Camaro again won the GTS title in 2014, the Mustang seemed to be one of the top cars in the class with Dean Martin, Jack Roush and Alec Udell all having impressive seasons.  What is it about the Boss 302 that makes it such a great car, especially for Pirelli World Challenge?

JA:  Ford has done an excellent job in developing the Boss 302 package.  They also provide excellent technical support.  The mustang has a strong, proven engine and drive line that is rock solid.  The only drawback is the solid live rear axle and we have that working well.

Matt:  What driver or team are you most looking forward to competing with in PWC?

JA:  Competing against the top teams in the GTS class will be a challenge.  Blackdog, Kia and GTSport will be stout competitors, as will the other Ford teams.   We are looking forward to it!

Matt:  You will also have a car in the GT-Cup class with Preston Calvert driving.  If the season is as successful as you’re expecting, do you see the team moving up to GT or GT-A in the future with a FIA GT3 spec car?

JA:  Yes.  I would love to see Andrew and Kurt, along with Preston compete at the very top of the GT class at some point.  We have to be realistic though about budgets and what is achievable.  Lets start out with what we know and advance one step at a time, which is the logic behind the GT-Cup car for Preston.

Matt:  Phoenix has had a lot of success in the SCCA, especially with Andrew behind the wheel, will you still have a presence there at all?

JA:  Yes. SCCA National club racing is in our team DNA and we have many customers who race there.  Andrew, following in the footsteps of John Heinricy, Don Knowles, Chuck Hemmingson and Jeff Altenberg,  has had a lot of success at the runoffs with 5 National Championships to this point, and he has laid out a plan for the 2015 SCCA  Majors and Runoffs season. We will be at the Daytona 2015 runoffs in multiple classes.

Matt:   What are you most looking forward to with racing in Pirelli World Challenge?

JA:  I would say seeing how our team and drivers stack up against the competition in GTS.  Hopefully we will be able to contribute to the growth of the class and the excitement in a meaningful way.  Our partner, Calvert Dynamics, is also excited about its participation and in expanding it’s involvement with PWC and furthering its marketing and operational goals.

About the Author:  MATT

Matt Kistler is the founder and editor of NASportsCar. Matt works full time for a Fortune 500 life Insurance company and runs Kistler Media on the side producing digital media of all kinds.

About Phoenix Performance
Phoenix Performance, Inc., owned by Joe Aquilante, is based in a 32,000 sq. ft. race shop in Phoenixville, PA, 40 miles west of downtown Philadelphia. Phoenix Performance-prepared cars have won 18 SCCA National Club Racing Championships since 1999, two professional series Driver and Manufacturer Championships, and the GM Motorsports Winner’s Circle Award.

For more information, call 610-482-0141 or visit and

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