On Tuesday, TKO Motorsports announced that Memo Gidley will make his Pirelli World Challenge GT debut with a new team, TKO Motorsports, at Sonoma Raceway in September. It will be his first major race since suffering multiple injuries in this terrible crash in the 2014 Rolex 24 Daytona.
In the crash, Gidley suffered a broken left leg, a compression fracture of the back, a broken left heel and broken left elbow. Since then, he has had nine separate surgeries.
Gidley is very happy to be racing once again.
“I have been waiting a long time for this announcement,” Gidley stated in a press release. “It was a long rehab process but I always wanted to get back into the race car and my friends at TKO Motorsports have given me this opportunity. And I am extremely grateful for this chance in the Pirelli World Challenge.”
Gidley has done some testing this season. Back in May, he was surprised with some testing time in GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing’s No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Last week, Gidley tested the No. 101 Porsche 911 GT3 R that he will be racing at Utah Motorsports Campus as part of Pirelli World Challenge’s Promoter Test Day.
Just being back around everyone else put a smile on Memo’s face.
“It just felt great to be back in the racing paddock with a team,” Gidley continued. “I saw so many old friends and racers and they were so nice to me and the team. Actually, we didn’t get as many laps in testing as we would have liked. But we talked to the PWC officials and other teams to get an idea of the Sonoma races. TKO Motorsports is a growing company, but it has not raced in sports cars previously. So, Dave and the crew were gathering a lot of information for the future.”
The 46-year old Gidley is likely best known to race fans for his time racing in CART for Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Della Penna Motorsports. Outside of CART, Gidley raced for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the IRL (now Verizon IndyCar Series), Grand-AM’s Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series. He does have Pirelli World Challenge experience, but none of it was in the GT class. In the past, Gidley has raced in the Touring Car class (back when Pirelli World Challenge was known as SPEED World Challenge and had two classes instead of seven). Gidley raced a Ford Focus with Air Force Reserve sponsorship and also raced an Audi A4 back in 2005.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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