As it continues to prepare for the coming 2011 Star Mazda Championship season, Team GDT added a big gun to its engineering arsenal when they hired Eric Purcell as their new Chief Engineer. Purcell has been involved in motorsports engineering for the past 30 years and was Johnathan Edwards’ engineer during their 2008 championship winning season in Star Mazda with AIM Autosport.
“Team GDT has really stepped up their game for 2011 and I’m excited to be a part of it,” says Purcell. “J.W. Roberts, who is both the owner of the team and one of the drivers, has provided the resources for us to really put forward a significant effort for the coming season, and that’s just what this team needed to take them to the next level. They won both the Expert and Master championships in 2010, as well as the overall victory at Trois-Rivieres with Alex Ardoin in the car, so they’re extremely competitive at every event, and I think the caliber of young drivers we’re talking to about expanding the team is indicative of that. It’s also a very well-rounded program with Chuck West, whom I’ve been friends with for twenty years, on board as both driver coach and nutritionist/lifestyle consultant. Team GDT aims to be competitive for both the Expert Series and the overall championship in 2011, and I think they have most of the pieces in place to achieve that goal.”
As of now, the team will be bringing back its Expert and Masters class champions from 2010, J.W. Roberts (Team GDT owner) and Carlos Conde, respectively. They’re currently seeking young drivers to compete in the championship class. Alex Ardoin will continue to serve as driver coach for the team in 2011, and will be a laison for the team in their search for young talent.
“This is a really unique and focused team with a specific philosophy, a clearly-defined goal and the resources to reach that goal,” says Mata. “This is not a write a check and show up with your helmet operation; we’ve talked to a number of young drivers who have tremendous skills but not the work ethic and willingness to learn that we’re looking for. Our 2011 program will provide a tremendous opportunity for two young drivers who are fast and fierce, but also ‘teachable.'”
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to hear a team thinking in this way. Especially in these recent dark economic times, too many teams have been willing to sell their rides to the highest bidder. Its fantastic to hear that Team GDT is looking for far more than just a check and a warm body. We certainly wish them the best of luck in 2011, and are anxious to hear whom they select for their two drivers.