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IMSA News Digest: Dawson’s Back! Memo Gidley Too, & Bamber & Tandy!

2018 Plans for Dawson Racing, 2017 plans for Lowe Group, PLM return for Porsche duo

Dawson Racing Look To LMP2 in 2018

Father and son duo Ian Dawson and Simon Dawson have revealed their new team, Dawson Racing, a division of their D3 brand.

The team is planning for a full IMSA season in 2018 into the Prototype class with an as yet unannounced LMP2 chassis choice with backing from entertainment industry giants Hasbro for the creation of the D3+Transformers Racing Team.

The team has announced a three-year programme with the Transformers toy line providing the visual backing.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with D3 and the Dawson family to be part of this exciting racing program,” said Tom Warner, senior vice president, Transformers franchise. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to be more than meets the eye and connect Transformers with families and fans of all ages. We are excited to team up with a first-class racing team and series with a brand that has a natural fit for cars and fans of all ages.”

“From the minute we met the Hasbro people, we knew this was the partner we were looking for to introduce D3 to the world through their immensely popular Transformers line,” Ian Dawson, CEO of D3. “I have been working on giving new opportunities to young drivers and engineers who are looking for a way to progress their talents in motorsport and with Simon’s commercial awareness and interest in the business we developed a vision.”

“We are delighted to have the new D3+Transformer Racing team coming to IMSA in 2018 and beyond,” said Scott Atherton, President of IMSA. “This team introduces a new sponsor to our sport that has a natural fit and growing demographic, kids asking parents to bring them to races, which we are seeing more and more. We welcome Hasbro and D3 to the Prototype field of the WeatherTech Championship. Not only will this team be popular with the kids but the adults as well, especially for the Transformers promotional activities they plan to activate surrounding our races.”

The D3+Transformers Racing team’s show car will be making their first official appearance at HASCON in Providence, R.I. September 8th/10th. The D3+Transformers show car (the Radical RXC shown above) will be part of the wildly popular Transformers exhibit, complete with actual Transformers, providing a great introduction into the combined world of racing and toys.

Memo Gidley Returns, CTSC with Maserati

Motorsport USA, the official team of The Ridge Motorsports Park and Lowe Group Racing will join forces for the GS class in the Continental Tire Sportscar Championship with a Maserati GT4.

The new team’s first race will be the September 23rd Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round, with a three-driver lineup for the 4 hour race. Cavan O’Keefe and Mike McAleenan will be joined by the very welcome presence on the entry list of the returning Memo Gidley, back in the saddle in the IMSA paddock for the first time since his huge accident at the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

“I am thrilled to be racing with Motorsport USA in the Maserati GT4 for the Continental Tire series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca,” says Mike McAleenan, “the Monterey Peninsula is a special place. The track is one of my favorites and we have had many successful races there in the past, although the Continental series will certainly be a new challenge.”

Team owner of Lowe Group Racing and Principal of MUSA, Jerold Lowe had this to say, “It was a dream come true. Memo was one of my biggest inspirations in becoming a driver, his story of being a grass roots driver and transitioning into a full time successful racer echoes my story. Both of us got into motorsports racing later in the game, have had our health struggles and pushed thru, he’s an inspiration.”

For Memo, it offers the opportunity to come back to a place where it all started, “Laguna is where I went to my first Indy car race as a spectator and got hooked, my first race was in one of Jim Russell’s cars. Laguna is very special to me and holds a lot of great memories.”

The team successfully completed an initial shake down of the Maserati GranTurismo at the Ridge Motorsports Park, and recently did a two day test at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“It was my first time in the Maserati, and the team expected there to be some challenges with any new car shakedown, but being that Maserati has such a huge history in producing fast efficient cars, it was not surprising how turnkey the car was right out of the box, it was very easy to get comfortable with and fast,” Memo Gidley said.

As for future races, the team is using Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as a test ground for potential entry in 2018. For team Principal Cavan O’Keefe, the race is a year in the making.

“We have been working to get this program off the ground in the right way for at least a year,” Cavan says. “Having been a part time participant in the ST category I loved what IMSA and Continental Tire had to offer from the quality of the racing, to the overall experience. I wanted to get a Seattle team involved. We look forward to showing them what we have, hopefully it rains because we have guys who are used to it!”

Tandy and Bamber Return for PLM

As predicted by Marshall Pruett on the Porsche GT Team has confirmed that Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber will tackle the season finale of the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Road Atlanta in the factory entered two car team of Porsche 911 RSRs.

Tandy will support Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner in the team’s #911 Porsche 911 RSR. Earl Bamber joins forces with Gianmaria Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor in the #912.

“We’re delighted to welcome two good old acquaintances to the Porsche GT Team for this classic,” says Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars. “They won Le Mans outright and are very excited to be racing the new 911 RSR for the first time, particularly after playing a key role in its development. We couldn’t wish for better support in the fight for the prestigious North American Endurance Cup, which will be decided at Petit Le Mans.”

“I can hardly wait to drive the 911 RSR again, especially at a great race like the Petit Le Mans. I’m also looking forward to working with the team. In the past, we’ve enjoyed a great and successful time together,” says Earl Bamber, who won Le Mans in 2015 and 2017 with the Porsche 919 Hybrid. Nick Tandy, his teammate at Le Mans in 2015 and two-time winner of Petit Le Mans (2013 and 2015), adds: “Clinching the first overall victory for Porsche at Petit Le Mans in 2015 and the first ever win for a GT car at this classic will always be one of the milestones in my career. By returning with the new 911 RSR, I’ve now fulfilled one of my greatest wishes.”