Texas-based Team GDT announced that it has signed Irish racer Patrick McKenna to compete in the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. McKenna, 23, runner-up in last year's USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda and winner of that series' oval race at O'Reilly Raceway Park and a road race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, will join drivers J.W. Roberts and Carlos Conde. Team owner/driver Roberts won the Star Mazda Expert Series championship for drivers aged 30-44 and Conde won the Master Series championship for drivers 45 and older.
"I am really looking forward to taking the next step on the Mazda Road to Indy with a championship-caliber organization like Team GDT," says McKenna. "The team proved what they were capable of in 2010 and they have a very accomplished group of people in place for 2011. Everyone is extremely motivated for the coming season and I can't wait to get working with the guys. 2010 was a strong year for me in USF2000 and I am confident I can build on from that in Star Mazda this season. I just want to thank everyone who's helped make it happen."
“I'm very excited to have Patrick on board for 2011 season," says team manager Paul Mata. "With Eric Purcell as our engineer, I expect Patrick to be a frontrunner from the get go. In my discussions with Patrick over the last month he displayed exactly the attitude we are looking for; he's confident, but with the willingness to learn more. Which was exactly what we are looking for at GDT.”
As a part of the 2011 Mazda Road to Indy, drivers in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear are competing for a prize fund valued in excess of $1.2 million – including a $500,000 scholarship to help the series champion move up to the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights series. The 2011 Star Mazda season opens with the St. Petersburg IndyCar weekend, March 25-27.