McKenna Signs With Team GDT for 2011 Star Mazda Texas-based Team GDT announced today it has signed Irish racer Patrick McKenna to compete in the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. McKenna, 23, runner-up in the 2010 USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda and voted Dunlop Motorsport Ireland 'Young Racing Driver of the Year' for the second consecutive year by the Irish Motorsports Council and Motorsport Ireland, will join drivers J.W. Roberts and Carlos Conde as the team aims to repeat – and expand on – its championship-winning effort in 2010. 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. McKenna will race with support from Team GDT, Willsborough Transport, Motorsport Ireland and Irish Sports Council.
McKenna, a native of Dublin, Ireland who now lives in Indianapolis, drove the #2 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing car to a 2nd-place finish in the 2010 USF2000 championship, scoring two wins (O'Reilly Raceway Park, where he won from the pole, and New Jersey Motorsports Park) and six podium finishes. His resume also includes the 2008 All-Ireland/Northern Irish Formula Ford Champion and the prestigious Martin Donnelly Trophy. He is also a college graduate, having studied manufacturing engineering at the Dublin Institute of Technology.
"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"
In 2010, Team GDT drivers captured two championships within the Star Mazda Championship; the Expert Series for drivers aged 30-44 and Master Series for drivers 45 and older. Team owner/driver J.W. Roberts won the Expert title, driving his #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda to a total of nine in-class victories. Roberts (left) also won the BBS 'Hard Charger Award" which is presented to the driver who gains the most places in total from the beginning to end of all the races during the season. Carlos Conde (right), a former semi-pro polo player and investment banker who splits his time between New York and his home country of Puerto Rico, won the Master Series with six in-class wins racing the #31 Team GDT / Pronto-GMT / Olympus Securities Mazda.
In addition, the team served notice of their increasing competitiveness in the GP3R at Trois-Rivieres when they put Team GDT driver coach Alex Ardoin (center) – also the 2009 GP3R winner -- in the team's spare car for the race. Starting from the outside of the second row, he won the race, completing a unique 'tri-fecta' for the team, which also included in-class wins for Roberts in the Expert Series and Conde in the Master Series. Both Roberts and Conde will return to compete in the 2011 Star Mazda Championship, racing in the new Expert Series for all drivers 30 and older.
“As a team owner I am very pleased to have a driver of Patrick’s talent on board," says Roberts. "He has shown last year what he can do by finishing second in the points in the USF2000. I expect big things this year. I am very excited to start the 2011 and go for an overall championship! I expect to see him on the podium many times standing next to myself this year."