Memo Gidley will be the lead driver for Team Sahlen’s 2011 Campaign in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. Memo will be paired with long term Team Sahlen driver Wayne Nonnamaker in the #43 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8.
At the conclusion of the 2010 Season, Memo co-drove with Wayne in the Watkins Glen II and season finale at Miller Motorsports Park events. In those events, Memo was able to mix it up in the Top 5 with the best in the GT class. Plus at the finale, Gidley was able to lead several of the closing laps of the race.
“We are very excited to have Memo with us for the entire 2011 season. He is very dedicated to working with everyone on the team to get the maximum from the Mazda RX-8. And his dedication behind the wheel has been evident in the past two races. Everyone at Team Sahlen is very dedicated to competing at the sharp edge of the ROLEX GT field in 2011. All the pieces are in place for a great season next year, and Memo is the key catalyst to making this a reality” – states Joe Sahlen
“I have been very impressed with the changes that team Sahlen has made and continues to make for an assault on the Rolex Series GT championship 2011. Joe Sahlen is a true racing sportsman that has shown his dedication to the Grand Am Series over the last number of years and even more importantly, his passion for racing in general. This is the kind of team owner that I want to work for. I feel the combination of this and working with the entire Nonnamaker family who I have come to respect, and being paired up with Wayne Nonnamaker as my team mate who is fast and experienced, this is going to be fantastic! I am committed 100% to do everything I can to make 2011 as successful as possible for 2011. I’m very excited!” – shared Memo Gidley
“In 2010, Mazda was able to secure the ROLEX GT Manufactuerer’s Crown. For 2011, the goal of all MAZDASPEED teams competing in the ROLEX series is to repeat that feat. For Team Sahlen, this is our #1 goal By placing Memo Gidley as our lead finishing driver with Wayne in the #43, we feel that Team Sahlen will be in a great position to be of assistance in this goal.” – states Joe Nonnamaker
Memo has raced everything from BMX Bikes to Go-Karts to Daytona Prototypes to Open Wheel Indy Cars to Front Wheel Drive Sedans, and achieved success in every discipline. Memo’s unbelievably quick seven year rise to the top of auto racing began in go-karts as a factory driver for US built TrackMagic Karts. Memo is one of only three drivers ever to win the ultra competitive go-kart SuperNationals in Las Vegas, in the 125cc Super-Pro class and the key driver with results that helped turn TrackMagic into a kart superpower in the late 90’s and 2000snds. During his tenure as an Indy Car driver, Memo amassed an impressive record of 38 races with teams such as Walker Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Players-Forsythe Racing, Della Penna Motorsports, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and Rocketsports Racing. In this span in the CART ranks, Gidley had three podiums (two seconds & a third), four top five finishes and numerous top tens, all without the benefit of a full season ride or season testing. Gidley also had a total of 230 laps led in the CART series against some of the best drivers in the world. Because of this, Memo earned the respect of his competition by being fast and for his never gives up attitude.
More recently, A proven winner in Grand American Prototype competition, Memo has been known as a driver that is not only extremely quick, but also known as one of the hardest working drivers in any paddock with 100% commitment to win races. Gidley’s versatility is not just limited to land, as his first form of racing was in small sailboats and he continues to crew and race on the San Francisco bay. And recently Memo has taken up the sport of stand up Jet Ski racing and is currently sitting second in point in the DJSA Series Outlaw 850 cc Expert class.
Memo’s co-driver Wayne Nonnamaker is a long-time veteran of Grand American competition. Wayne cut his teeth racing in the Continental Tire Challenge Series, where he won his very 1st Championship driving a Mazda in the ST class. Wayne proceeded to win the 2002 ST class crown. Then he stepped up to the GS class the following season and won that championship as well. Wayne also has the distinction of having been the last driver in ROLEX history to have solo wins, having won 2 GT events in 2005.