Solid Start for McKenna in Star Mazda

Patrick McKenna professed himself satisfied with an impressive fourth place finish on his debut in the Star Mazda Series at St Petersburg, Florida on Saturday (March 26th).

McKenna started fourth in his Team GDT-Motorsport Ireland entry and enjoyed a busy afternoon on his way to finishing first of the Star Mazda debutants at the end of 29 laps of the demanding street track.

McKenna made a good getaway from the standing start and avoided the inevitable first corner incidents as he maintained his qualifying position in the early stages.

A number of full course yellow caution periods punctuated the action but McKenna, who finished runner up in last year’s USF2000 series, showed impressive maturity as he settled into a rhythm behind the leading trio.

After slipping behind last year’s USF2000 title rival Sage Karam, McKenna battled his way back into fourth as his fellow rookie retired triggering another full course yellow.

In bringing his car home fourth, McKenna fulfilled his pre-race goals and justified the faith placed in him by GDT Motorsport.

“That was a tough weekend and it’s great to be able to reward the team with a strong result right from the start,” says the reigning Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Racing Driver of the Year. ”

“The build up to the weekend was pretty hectic as we tried to pack as much as we could into a short private test and the official test at Barber the week before.

“We had a bit of an off there which set us back a bit and I’d like to pay tribute to the team for the effort they made to get the car prepped and find the right set up for the weekend.

“We weren’t quite on the pace in the Friday practice sessions but we worked hard at it and our pace was pretty good in qualifying and strong on race day.

“We set the car up to come on strong late in the race and the multiple yellow flag periods didn’t do us any favours there. We’ll look to find a bit of time on the green flag laps as getting the car working the tyres properly right from the get go is absolutely critical.

“All in all it’s a solid start and it sets us up nicely for Barber on Sunday week.”

McKenna’s next outing is the second round of the series at Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama on Sunday April 7th.

Star Mazda Series Round One
St Petersburg, Florida, 27th March
1 Connor De Phillippi, 29 1:11.967;
2 Martin Scuncio +2.261;
3 Tristan Vautier +3.032;
4 Patrick McKenna +6.441;
5 Chris Miller +10.366;
6 Carlos Linares +13.347;
7 Nick Mancuso + 15.709;
8 Gustavo Menezes +17.368.

2011 Star Mazda Championship Presented By Goodyear Points Standings
1, Connor de Phillippi 45 points;
2, Martin Scuncio 41;
3, Tristan Vautier 37;
4, Patrick McKenna 34;
5, Chris Mille 32;
6, Carlos Linares 30;
7, Nick Mancuso 29;
8, Gustavo Menezes 28.

2011 Star Mazda Championship Presented By Goodyear Schedule
Rd 1 St Petersburg, Florida 26th March
Rd 2 Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama 7th April
Rd 3 Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis 28th May
Rd 4 Miwaulkee Mile, Wisconsin 18th June
Rd 5 Iowa Speedway, Iowa 25th June
Rd 6 Mosport, Canada 23rd July
Rd 7 Trois Rivieres, Canada 6th August
Rd 8 Trois Rivieres, Canada 7th August
Rd 9 Infineon Raceway, California 28th August
Rd 10 Baltimore, Maryland 4th September
Rd 11 Mazda Raceway, California 18th September

Patrick McKenna

Indianapolis-based McKenna drove a Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing car to second 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.
He won the 2008 All-Ireland/Northern Irish Formula Ford Championship and the prestigious Martin Donnelly Trophy.

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