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IMSA News Roundup: Gidley to Make IMSA Comeback in Continental Tire Challenge Race at Mazda Raceway
Posted by: ASkyler on Sep 07, 2017 - 06:38 PM
Feature Articles
IMSA News Roundup: Gidley to Make IMSA Comeback in Continental Tire Challenge Race at Mazda Raceway


Staff Report, IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Everybody loves a good comeback story.

Here’s a GREAT one.

Popular driver Memo Gidley, who was injured in a crash during the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona and who attended this year’s Rolex 24 as a guest of IMSA Chairman Jim France, is returning to the cockpit in IMSA competition.

Gidley is slated to co-drive the No. 14 Newmark Knight Frank Maserati GT4 from Motorsport USA with Cavan O’Keefe and Michael McAleenan in the four-hour IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, Sept. 23. It’s a fitting location for the California resident’s return.

“I’m super excited,” Gidley said. “It’s going to be great. One of my first goals was to get back out to an IMSA race, and I did that this year at Daytona. That was a huge, huge stepping stone to make that happen.

 

“The next thing was to get out and do a race. I would have loved to have done a race four or five months ago, but you have to wait for the opportunities. This opportunity came up, and I just jumped at it, for sure.”

Gidley recently joined his new teammates for a shakedown test at The Ridge circuit in Shelton, Washington before two days of testing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last week.

The opportunity came via the Washington-based Motorsport USA team operated by Jerold Lowe, with business support from O’Keefe. Lowe’s interest in Gidley predated the Daytona incident.

“A couple of years after (the accident), (Lowe) checked in with me just to see how things were going,” Gidley said. “He’d sort of been following what I was doing since Day 1, which was getting into go-karts with no money and then working my way up the ladder. He’s been following me for a long time.”

O’Keefe – who has made a handful of starts in the Continental Tire Challenge over the past few years, including one at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park earlier this season – was at Daytona when Gidley’s accident occurred.

“I was literally standing right there,” O’Keefe said. “I was down there with a couple of friends of mine who were running with TRG, so I happened to be there. I didn’t know him before we started testing, but it’s kind of a cool thing to bring him back to the series. He’s worked his butt off to make his way back, which is an understatement.”

Delayed Diagnosis Forces Mosing Out of Continental Tire Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup USA for Remainder of 2017
Driver Jeff Mosing announced this week that he will be unable to compete in the remaining two events of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama this year.

Mosing had been dealing with tremendous back pain since an incident in a GT3 Cup race at Watkins Glen in early July, but initial x-rays did not yield any results. Follow-up tests revealed that the resident of Austin, Texas has an L2 compression fracture in his lower back.

The announcement is a devastating blow for Mosing and co-driver Eric Foss, who currently sit atop the Continental Tire Challenge Street Tuner (ST) championship standings with a 22-point lead in their No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman. Mosing’s withdrawal will remove him from championship contention, but the team’s results over the next two races could keep Foss in first place as a stand-alone champion.

Unfortunately, Mosing is no stranger to losing a championship due to injury. In 2014, he was forced to withdraw from the third Continental Tire Challenge race of the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca due to back pain. However, he rejoined Foss the following race and the duo drove to one win and three additional podiums before the season’s end, which crowned Foss as the ST champion.

“Upon hearing the news from my doctor, I was devastated,” said Mosing. “This certainly cannot be happening to me again. Another back injury will prevent me from winning another championship in the IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge. I reflected on it for a couple of days and decided the best thing to do is to focus on the positives.

“Our Murillo Racing team has gotten better at everything they do year after year, and that’s the true reason that I have even had chances at winning a championship. My co-driver, Eric Foss, has a lot to do with it too, as through the years driving with him and having him for a coach has taken years off my learning curve. Yeah, I won’t go down in the record books, again, if the team stays in the lead, but in my heart I battle hard like a champion, and my passion for doing the best that I personally can will continue to shine through my performance on track.”

“Jeff not being able to drive at this point in the season is heartbreaking,” said Foss. “He has done a phenomenal job all season, especially these last couple races while trying to endure a great deal of pain. I’m hoping we can win a team championship for him and that he will return even stronger for next season.”

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosts the Continental Tire Challenge on Sept. 23, the second of two four-hour endurance races on the schedule. The series concludes its season at Road Atlanta on Oct. 6.

While Mosing was no longer in championship contention for the GT3 Cup USA championship after missing both races at Watkins Glen and VIR, the series continues at Sonoma this weekend and Road Atlanta for the season finale.

D3+Transformers Racing Set for 2018 WeatherTech Championship Debut
If you’ve been a fan of Prototype racing in the WeatherTech Championship, there’s even more than meets the eye for 2018.

That’s because D3+Transformers Racing has announced plans to field a new LM P2 race car in the WeatherTech Championship Prototype class beginning next season. The team is targeting a three-year program.

And yes, that’s Transformers as in Hasbro’s popular toy, television and movie franchise featuring the likes of “Optimus Prime,” “Megatron,” “Bumblebee” and more vehicles that transform into robots.

Led by the father and son duo of Ian and Simon Dawson, the third “D” represents the third generation of Dawsons, Simon’s son who was born in June 2008.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with D3 and the Dawson family to be part of this exciting racing program,” said Tom Warner, senior vice president of the Transformers franchise. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to be more than meets the eye and connect Transformers with families and fans of all ages.”

Look for the D3+Transformers Racing Prototype to carry a substantial, Transformers-themed livery.

“From the minute we met the Hasbro people, we knew this was the partner we were looking for to introduce D3 to the world through their immensely popular Transformers line,” said D3 CEO Ian Dawson. “I have been working on giving new opportunities to young drivers and engineers who are looking for a way to progress their talents in motorsport and with Simon’s commercial awareness and interest in the business we developed a vision.”

More specifics on the D3+Transformers Racing program will be announced during the Motul Petit Le Mans event weekend at Road Atlanta on Oct. 4-7.

WeatherTech Championship Plans Announced for van Overbeek, Tandy, Bamber
It’s been a busy week for some drivers to lock in plans – both long-term and somewhat more immediate – as the final two races of the 2017 WeatherTech Championship season approaches.

On Tuesday, Tequila Patrón ESM announced that Johannes van Overbeek would return to the cockpit of the team’s No. 22 Nissan DPi for the full 2018 season alongside Brazilian hotshot Pipo Derani, who inked his own full-season deal with the team last month. Van Overbeek and Derani were the most recent winners in WeatherTech Championship Prototype competition, taking Nissan’s first DPi victory in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America on Aug. 7.

“It’s hard to believe that next year will mark the ninth year that I’ve been with Tequila Patrón ESM,” van Overbeek said. “Every year has had its challenges and its success. I’m sure next year will be no different. The team is as strong as it has ever been and I look forward to continuing my working relationship with the team and Pipo to deliver the results that are due Tequila Patrón ESM and its partners.”

Additionally, Porsche announced Thursday that factory drivers Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy are returning to WeatherTech Championship. The winners of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will join the Porsche GT Team driver lineup in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) for the 2017 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 7.

Bamber will share the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR with Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor, while Tandy joins Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner in the No. 911 RSR. Tandy and Pilet also were part of the driver lineup that took the overall and GTLM class victory in the rain-shortened 2015 Petit Le Mans.

“Clinching the first overall victory for Porsche at Petit Le Mans in 2015 and the first-ever win for a GT car at this classic will always be one of the milestones of my career,” Tandy said. “By returning with the new 911 RSR, I’ve now fulfilled one of my greatest wishes.”

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