Gidley suffered fractures in his back, knee, heels in the “freak" accident while driving the No. 99 Red Dragon early in the 24 hour event in January of 2014. He spent several months in the hospital, endured eight surgeries and an intense three year rehabilitation, but his focus never wavered, Gidley said 100% he will return to the race car in this 2014 Autoweek article and today, he took his first green flag, returning to the Red Dragon, with several of his GAINSCO teammates from that fateful day by his side, smiling ear to ear.
“It felt awesome. It felt so natural, it’s just such a comfortable environment for me." Said Gidley. “I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and this was my goal. There were a lot of days where it wasn’t going well, but I just kept imagining getting back out on the track, getting back behind the wheel. I just wanted to be a driver looking for a ride, and now I am…I am back!"
Gidley’s test run today in the No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 R was close to the distance of a Pirelli World Challenge sprint race. Although Gidley was new to the Porsche and several of its features including anti-lock braking system and the IndyCar track configuration at Sonoma Raceway, he wasted no time familiarizing himself with the new Red Dragon. Veteran engineer John Ward commented, “It was great to see Memo back in the Red Dragon and it brought back a lot of great memories for me and the rest of the GAINSCO guys. After all he has been though, Memo is back. He jumped right in and went out on a pretty green track and within just a couple of laps he was turning competitive lap times and giving great technical feedback, just as he always has."