Open Wheel Ace Memo Gidley Signed as Petersen/White Lightning Sebring Reserve Driver PAHRUMP, Nev., February 6, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing announced today open wheel racing standout Memo Gidley (Novato, Calif.) as...
Open Wheel Ace Memo Gidley Signed as Petersen/White Lightning Sebring Reserve Driver
PAHRUMP, Nev., February 6, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing announced today open wheel racing standout Memo Gidley (Novato, Calif.) as reserve driver in the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT at this year's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Gidley, who has two American Le Mans Series starts, will act in support of fulltime team drivers Tim Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic who now calls Monaco home) at the American Le Mans Series season-opener. In the reserve driver role Gidley will test and practice the Michael Petersen-owned team's new Ferrari F430 GT but is not scheduled to race in the 12 Hour itself unless needed. It will be Gidley's first appearance with the Nevada-based organization and his debut in the American Le Mans Series at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. It is the Dale White-managed team's sixth 12 Hours of Sebring. They are the 2005 GT2 class winners of the historic event.
Gidley comes to the 2005 and 2006 GT2 Driver and IMSA Cup Championship-winning team with an impressive background in the Champ Car Series. He has 40 Champ Car starts since 1999 with a career high second-place as his best result. A dedicated kart racer with three national karting championships, Gidley has authored four books on proper karting technique. The most recent, Karting, Everything You Need to Know, was published in 2006 and was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress. Gidley is also the 1992 USAC Formula Russell Champion, a feat accomplished in his first season of motorsports.
Sports car racing is not foreign either to the driver who was born in La Paz, Mexico. Gidley raced once in the American Le Mans Series last year earning third overall in Highcroft Racing's LMP1 entry at the Petit Le Mans. His first American Le Mans Series start came in the Panoz Motorsports LMP1 roadster in 1999 where he finished fifth overall in the Petit Le Mans. He has spent the last two years racing in the Grand American Rolex Series' Daytona Prototype class. In that time, he earned two overall victories, two second-place finishes and 18 top-10s. He finished within the top-six in the points both seasons.
Gidley's first taste of the GT2 class will come on Saturday, March 10th at Sebring when the Petersen/White Lightning Ferrari will have its North American debut. The preparation for the March 17th endurance classic will be the second test of the new Ferrari F430 GT by the two-time Le Mans class winners. The first comes this week at Fiorano, the official Ferrari test track outside of the Maranello factory in Italy. The team will take delivery of the No. 31 on Saturday, February 10th from builder Michelotto at Fiorano where Bergmeister and Enge will turn the first laps in the mid-engine V8.
Michael Petersen, Owner: "We're looking forward to Memo coming on board. We think we have a strong driver lineup and we're looking forward to stacking it, and the new Ferrari, up against the other GT2 competitors. Dale and I have been saying all along that this is the most competitive field that there has ever been in GT2. We're really excited about getting out there and fighting for wins starting at Sebring."
Dale White, Entrant/Team Manager: "Adding Memo to the team is a major plus for us. Memo has a terrific reputation in and out of the car and we knew he was the right guy from the first phone conversation. Both Tim and Tomas feel confident and comfortable running the race on their own. However, it is important to have a reserve driver in case there are any problems. Finding that driver is difficult because you have to have someone that can step in at the last minute and start turning quick laps but who can also put their ego to the side. Memo can do that. He understands what we are asking him to do and his role within the team. We think this will be the start of a long-term relationship with Memo and we are all excited about that."
Memo Gidley, Driver: "Honestly, in my career, I've never been hired as a reserve driver for a race. When I got the call to do this from Dale, it was a different conversation than I'm used to. He said he knew it might be unusual for me and if I didn't mind being at the race track that they could really use me as a backup. My immediate thought was; be at the racetrack, great. Drive a Ferrari F430 GT, nice. Have the chance to work with the championship-winning Petersen/White Lightning team, awesome! Unusual for me to potentially not race but, hey, if it wasn't for unusual experiences my bio would read a lot different than it does. So, I'm excited. I think the car is super nice, the team has had a lot of success and I can respect what the team's drivers; Tim and Tomas, are trying to do by driving the entire race with just two drivers. Heck, if it wasn't for mandatory drivers changes in sports car racing in general, I would elect to do the entire race by myself! But ultimately, the goal is to win. I know how to win races and I look forward to doing whatever is needed to help the Petersen/White Lightning team win the 12Hours of Sebring."