Muscle Milk MEGA athlete Memo Gidley has had quite a week to remember.
Gidley’s first vehicle of sampling was at Daytona for the “Roar Before the 24” where Gidley drove with fellow Californians Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, as the trio and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team did final preparations for the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona set for January 28-29. The team ranked somewhere in the top six in all on track sessions and Gidley is excited for the race. “I can’t say enough how much I have enjoyed being around Bob Stallings and the entire GAINSCO team,” said Gidley. “Having said that, winning is the goal and I am confident we can make this happen with the Red Dragon!”
Two days later, Gidley was testing the Muscle Milk ALMS LMPC prototype with teammate Mike Guasch. Signed to drive for the full season, Gidley is thrilled to be part of a fantastic local team and teamed up with his friend. “This opportunity to drive for Greg Pickett and the Muscle Milk team with Mike has gotten me so excited that I now wake up each morning at the crack of dawn just completely amped up!” said Gidley. “Testing so far has been fantastic, the car absolutely rips, and I just can’t get enough of being local and seeing my team on a regular basis… it’s just perfect.”
As a matter fact, on the way home Gidley was given the reigns of the MG4 racing test transporter. “My co-driver Mike owns a 1989 Peterbilt Truck that we have been using for testing the LMPC car,” said Gidley. “I said, ‘Mike, let me drive White Lightening home.’ In typical Mike form, he replied, ‘It’s all yours, big boy – here are the keys!’ It was awesome driving that big rig, and with 13 gears, I had to really concentrate. It sure wasn’t paddle shift and automatic blip downshift like the Muscle Milk LMPC car I had just gotten done testing!”
The next day, Gidley was down to Laguna Seca driving for vintage racer and car owner Todd Smathers, setting up both his Lola T-282 and Ferrari 312 B Grand Prix racer. Gidley spent the better part of the day helping the Intrepid Team to sort through numerous changes on the Lola T-282 Sports racer. This particular Lola has an extensive European race history, along with being in the 1973 Daytona 24 Hour race with drivers Reine Wisell, Jean-Louis Lafosse, and Hughes de Fierlant.
It’s an interesting comparison that Gidley was literally able to step out of the current generation 3 Daytona Corvette Prototype and into the nearly 40-year-old Lola Daytona racer. “Honestly, I was really surprised at how fast this Lola 70’s monster sports racer would go and how good the car handled by the end of the test,” said Gidley. “The Lola has a very short wheelbase. It seems like it is four feet shorter than the Gen 3 Rolex car, and it has a big monster v-8 strapped on its back, so it was a challenge to get it under control. The Intrepid team worked extremely hard as we went through numerous changes and improvements to tame this beast.”
Next up, the Ferrari 312 B Grand Prix Car originally driven by drivers Clay Rigazzoni, Mario Andretti, Jacky Ickx, to name a few. This is one of only four known original 312B cars to be still in existence. This particular car has only been owned by three people and has spent the last 40 years in museums. What is even more impressive, other than a limited shakedown the week before, this was the first time in 40 years that the beautiful Ferrari had been driven at speed on a racetrack, and Gidley was in it!
“WOW,” said Gidley. “What more can be said about driving such a beautiful and historic race car. As a driver, doing set up work on a car like this, you have to really hear what the car is saying to you. When I first took the car to the track at speed, it was fighting and protesting me in every corner. And as I told Todd, the car’s owner, something extraordinary and unexplainable happened the next session – it was as if the car finally remembered what to do. After that point, the car drove beautifully with that big V-12 sounding fantastic!”
Gidley is slated to continue to test drive the fast Ferrari as the car owner prepares to race it this season. “This was the extreme when you talk about blowing out the cobwebs of a car,” said Gidley. “And I enjoyed every second of it!”