TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 26, 2004) – The United States Air Force Reserve Command announced its 2004 racing program, moving to the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship with Memo Gidley piloting its Techsport Racing Technology-prepared Ford Focus. It also announced, with SCCA Pro Racing Ltd., the 2004 Air Force Reserve Pole Position Award for SPEED Touring Car.
“We are very excited about joining the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Series for 2004 both as a participant and a series sponsor,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Herbel, chief, Advertising and Information Systems for Air Force Reserve Command. “The venues and television package are fantastic. Demographically, racing fans are just the kind of people we are trying to attract and we think this is an excellent opportunity to educate the public on the opportunities available to them in the Air Force Reserve."
Gidley, a motocross and karting champion, went from witnessing his first automobile race to racing in the ChampCar World Series in just seven years, scoring major success in the Russell Championship Series, U.S. Formula Ford 2000 National Championship and Toyota Atlantic along the way.
"I am really excited to get back out there and race with a team that is totally dedicated to winning,” said Gidley, a veteran of 36 Champ Car races who is best known for his run with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2001 ChampCar season where he recorded three podium finishes. “Watching SPEED World Challenge on television, it is clear that there are a lot of competitive cars out there and it’s good, hard racing."
The Air Force Reserve looked no further than to Andy Brown’s Techsport shop to prepare the new Ford Focus. Techsport built the Air Force Reserve Ford Focus SCCA ProRally car in 2003.
"With Andy Brown, Memo Gidley and everyone at Techsport Racing Technology, we know that we are associated with the highest quality people in the sport and we are looking forward to battling it out with the other great teams in the Touring class,” added Lt. Col. Herbel.
Techsport Manager Brown has built rally cars for some of the best drivers in the world and also worked on Prodrive’s British Touring Cars.
"This is a great opportunity for Techsport Racing Technology to expand into touring car racing,” Brown said. “We are excited about this opportunity given to us by the Air Force Reserve and to be able to work with a driver of Memo's caliber is a huge bonus for the team."
In addition to the team’s entry, the Air Force Reserve will sponsor the 2004 Pole Position Award for SPEED Touring Car. Each pole position winner will receive a $1,000 bonus, with the driver recording the most pole positions winning an additional $5,000 a year’s end.
“We’re thrilled to have Air Force Reserve involved in our 2004 SPEED Touring Car program, bringing not only a great team with a high-profile driver, but the added incentive for all of our teams with the Air Force Reserve Pole Position Award,” said Mitch Wright, SCCA Pro Racing Vice President and General Manager.
The SPEED World Challenge season will make its first standing start of 2004 at Sebring International Raceway for the fourth-consecutive year as part of the 52nd Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring week March 17-20. In 2004, the series will visit Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Infineon Raceway, Portland International Raceway, Mosport International Raceway, Road America, Road Atlanta Motorsports Center and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
For more information about the Air Force Reserve, please visit www.afreserve.com. For more information about the SCCA SPEED World Challenge, visit www.world-challenge.com.