Gidley Displays His Racecraft on F3 Debut

Written by Team USA. Posted in Team USA News

Published on October 22, 1995 with No Comments

Oct 22, 1995
Donington, England – Valvoline Team USA Formula 3 Scholarship winner Memo Gidley made light of his lack of experience as he battled his way through a high-quality field to an 11th-place finish in today’s International Formula 3 Challenge, run over 20 laps at Donington Park.
From 16th grid position, Gidley made up three places in the first two laps, and passed fellow F3 debutant Marc Cramer on Lap 10. Memo also enjoyed a dice lasting several laps with a front-runner recovering from an early spin, and fought off a last-lap challenge from another F3 rookie, Germany’s Thomas Schwister.

“The opening laps were intense. With everyone running together, it was impossible to get into the kind of smooth rhythm these cars like, and we were all sliding around because the tires weren’t up to temperature yet,” Gidley said. “I passed Cramer after he got up on the curb exiting the Old Hairpin, which gave me a good run up the hill. He tried to squeeze me out but I had the momentum.”

The race was dominated by drivers with prior F3 experience, and the £10,000 winner’s prize was claimed by 1994 Formula Vauxhall Champion Owen McAuley’s Dallara-Mitsubishi. F3 veterans Jason Elliott and Scott Lakin followed McAuley home, while this year’s French F3 titlist Laurent Redon finished sixth.

Highest-placed class debutants in seventh and ninth were 1995 Formula Vauxhall Champion Jonny Kane and 1994 Barber-Saab Pro Series star Juan Pablo Montoya. Both were entered by triple British Formula 3 champion team Paul Stewart Racing.

Gidley’s West Surrey Racing – and Valvoline – teammate Brian Cunningham continued his impressive form by qualifying sixth, but retired on Lap Two after an incident with Spain’s Marc Gene.

“I notched up a few firsts today,” said Gidley. “This was my first standing start and I’m glad it went well because, unlike our rolling starts at home, your start here can make or break your whole race. I’ve never had a visor full of grass before either – the low wings and chassis make these cars pretty good lawn mowers!”

Summing up his Scholarship experience, Gidley said: “I’ve learned so much, but at the same time I realize I’ve barely scratched the surface. It’s been an incredible eye-opener and good preparation for the future, whatever I race. I just want to thank Valvoline and all the supporting sponsors who made it possible.”

Gidley’s Team USA Formula 3 Scholarship Dallara F395 also boasted allegiance from Miller Genuine Draft, Honda, TrueChoice, LCI International, Firestone, the North American Touring Car Championship, Flamecrusher, RACER and Automundo.

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