Fast Facts: Lynx Racing Drivers In The Rolex 24 at Daytona, Feb. 5-6 - Lynx Racing driver Mike Conte and Lynx Racing graduate Memo Gidley, a rising star in the CART Fed Ex series, will be driving at Daytona this weekend - Gidley will drive for...
Fast Facts: Lynx Racing Drivers In The Rolex 24 at Daytona, Feb. 5-6
- Lynx Racing driver Mike Conte and Lynx Racing graduate Memo Gidley, a rising star in the CART Fed Ex series, will be driving at Daytona this weekend
- Gidley will drive for Johanssen/Matthews Racing and will be going for the overall win with the only car of its type in the race, the #36 Reynard Sports Racer powered by a Judd V-10 engine. Co-drivers will include retired CART driver Stefan Johanssen, Indy Lights standout Guy Smith and sports car veteran Jim Matthews.
- Conte, a former MicroSoft computer wizard who helped create Windows 95 and Microsoft Explorer, will be driving with Randy Pobst and Bruno Lambert in the #23 Porsche in the GT class, a car fielded by Alex Job Racing. The trio will be part of the Team Seattle effort, racing to raise money for the Seattle Children's Hospital.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is not just a legendary auto race... it's 24 hours on a tightrope, the most astounding balancing act you can imagine. Men and machines, speed and endurance, time and distance, day and night, youth and age, preparation and luck. And the team that balances it all the best gets to stand, dirty and exhausted, shining and heroic, in that special place reserved for winners. And for a young driver on the way up, it's the opportunity of a lifetime -- a total-immersion learning experience combined with a high-profile way to display your skills before a star-studded gathering of the world's racing elite. Lynx Racing graduate Memo Gidley is no stranger to this high-speed, high-pressure world. Since graduating from Lynx Racing's Toyota Atlantic program in 1998, he has:
- Won the Reno Grand Prix in a GT America stock car
- Started third and finished fifth in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta co-driving a factory Panoz roadster with Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell
- Made 11 starts in the 1999 CART FedEx series (four for Walker Racing and seven for Payton-Coyne)
- Won the 1999 Shifter Kart USA North American Karting Championship's 125cc S1 Pro class
- Tested for a seat with the Huffaker/DeTomaso Trans-Am team
"Daytona is one of the great races of the world, and the opportunity to compete here for Johanssen/Matthews Racing, a team with a good chance of winning, is a real step forward for me," says Gidley. "Racing high-powered prototype sports cars is a natural compliment to my goal of being a full-time champ car driver in the CART FedEx series, and I'd welcome the chance to do it regularly. The team's desire to field a car in the Indy 500 is also something that got my attention. This is a well-run operation full of highly-qualified people with big plans, and I'm pleased to be a part of it." Mike Conte drives for Lynx Racing in the CART Toyota Atlantic series, the triple-A league for the CART FedEx champ car series. Daytona is familiar territory to him, however, with the 2000 race marking his third visit to the historic track. In addition to his open-wheel racing activities with Lynx Racing, Conte has been notably successful in sports cars, scoring a podium finish in the 1999 Superflow 12 Hours of Sebring and following it up with yet another visit to the podium in the final race of the American Le Mans Series at Las Vegas. His co-drivers at this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona are Randy Pobst and Bruno Lambert, the same duo with whom he teamed to such success last season. Conte will be testing his open-wheel Toyota Atlantic Swift 008.a with the Lynx team at Sebring early this week, and will go from there to Daytona to race a Porsche 911 GT3R fielded by Alex Job Racing, the team that won last year's GT class at Daytona. For the past three years, Job Racing has been fielding the cars for Team Seattle, which races to raise money for the Seattle Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center. Over the past three years, more than $540,000 has been donated by 'lap sponsors,' and this year the team hopes to raise another $300,000. All funds donated go directly to the Children's Hospital. "I love racing at Daytona, and being able to do it for such a good cause is doubly satisfying," says Conte. "Going from an open-wheel, single-seater where the races are less than an hour long to a full-bodied sports car in a race that lasts 24 hours is something of a challenge as a driver, but both cars are prepared by teams who are the very best in their particular areas, so I'm confident we'll be competitive." The 38th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona is the inaugural race for the newest sanctioning body in motorsports, the Grand American Road Racing Association (co-founded by NASCAR owner Bill France). A 90-car entry list that features five classes of Grand-Am race cars, topped by the exotic, mid-engine SportsRacer division will be pared down to 80 entries in qualifying for the 24-hour classic. The race will be televised on ESPN2. The start of the race on Saturday, Febuary 5 will air from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EST). The finish, on Sunday, February 6, will be air from 7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lynx Racing is owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty and in 2000 celebrates its 10th anniversary as both a uniquely successful driver development program and the only championship-winning racing team in motorsports today owned by women. The team's mission is to seek out young drivers with championship potential and provide them with the training, resources and opportunity to realize that potential and make the jump to auto racing's 'major leagues.' Lynx alumni include CART FedEx drivers Memo Gidley, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron. Current Lynx drivers include David Rutledge and Mike Conte (competing in the CART Toyota Atlantic series) and Sara Senske (competing in the Barber Dodge Pro Series).