Gidley in Search for 2024 Ride to Back Up Title
Memo Gidley and TKO Motorsport had never been on an SRO Motorsport America entry list of any kind, but after the opening weekend in GT America powered by AWS, it was no surprise that not only did Gidley deserve to be in SRO competition, but he also deserved to be fighting out front. Gidley and TKO Motorsport walked away champions in their rookie seasons.
Gidley had much to celebrate by the time he secured his championship. His win awarded the SRO3 Class Team Championship title to the TKO Motorsport team. But truly, his season was built on personal highs, like racing in his own backyard at Sonoma Raceway and wins on track, eight in total. The 2023 race season wasn’t perfect, far from it, as Gidley finished outside of points in two races and missed the podium altogether in a mid-season slump.
The out-of-character collection of three races gave rise to a points battle between Gidley and Jason Daskalos. The two duked it out on track, trading paint on track and racking up wins and near misses. However, with a win in Race One at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Gidley sewed up and solidified his championship status.
“What a relief and feeling of joy after winning Race One in the No. 101 TKO Mercedes-AMGG GT3,” Gidley said. “That weekend was high stress because of the limited practice and the damp conditions in qualifying. I really never knew or had a good feeling about the speed we had in our Mercedes or how competitive we would be. It wasn't until the second lap of race one on Saturday that I knew we had the pace to win.
“Then Race Two was a completely different mindset for me. I wasn’t thinking about points for the championship I was going for the win. It felt so good to drive the No. 101 TKO Mercedes-AMG around the outside of George Kurtz into Turn 1, just barely, I only had a few more inches to stay on the track with that late move.”
A late move around Kurtz on Lap 1 handed Gidley the lead to end his season with back-to-back wins. While he had eight wins and seven podium appearances of the 18 rounds of racing, each finish came after a fight. The adversity is part of what Gidley enjoys when on track.
“I do love to compete. That has been the case for me as a small kid in Big Wheels and then everything else after that from BMX, tennis, motocross, to cars and go-karts, sailing, jet skis, everything,” Gidley said. “For sure as a racer, the challenges make the victory a lot more satisfying. Winning at my home track was my favorite moment because family and friends surrounded me.
“Then, the NOLA race weekend was another of my favorite moments. After practice, I thought we were lost that weekend in the No. 101 TKO Motorsport Mercedes-AMG. But a few changes made all the difference in being able to qualify on the pole and then dominate both races. It felt like I was in a strange trance in those races, I could do no wrong.”
However, the first win in Indianapolis meant more to the former open-wheel driver than any other moment of the season.
“Without a doubt, crossing the finish line at Indy Race One was my absolute favorite moment,” Gidley said. “I was feeling so much joy for myself and my TKO Motorsports Team for overcoming the challenging 18 races with all of their up and downs and bringing home a championship. The satisfying feeling was incredible.”
The high moment was well celebrated, but the streak will not continue for TKO Motorsport. Gidley on the other hand, is more than open to the challenge of a repeat.
“I have won a lot of races over the years, but it has been a long time since I won a championship, and I have definitely missed that feeling,” Gidley said. “I had a great year with TKO Motorsports, but it is unfortunate that they are going to take next year off to concentrate on a new business division.
“So next year, the "champ" is without a ride. To have been able to race 18 races in the SRO GT America series on such a variety of tracks has really put me into an awesome groove. I have raced for a lot of teams and so many great people over the years. People who know me and the teams I have worked with know the preparation I put into to be my best. The great thing is that there seems to be a lot of interest and I am thinking something will come together for next year, fingers crossed.
“In racing now, I represent getting older and having a passion that continues to drive me. I have so many fans-men and women who are past their "prime" and respect me and use me for motivation to keep pushing for what you enjoy. I am just so thankful to be able to live this life and really appreciate all the friends I have in racing and look forward to what is next.”