If you've ever wanted to hang out with some movie, TV and sports stars for a weekend – and turn some hot laps in a race car against them while you're at it! - now's your chance.
Starting January 16, 2006 a spot on the starting grid for the 30th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race – part of the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 7-9, – will be up for bid on eBay, with bidding scheduled to run through January 26. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach, which, since its inception in 1991, has donated more than $1.8 million to Southern California charities.
High bidder will be behind the wheel of a new, race-ready Toyota Scion tC, hitting more than 100 mph in the 10-lap sprint over the legendary 1.97-mile, 11-turn Long Beach street circuit, running fender-to-fender with a group of to-be-announced celebrities from movies, TV and sports, as well as professional drivers.
Past celebrities in the race have included George Lucas, Cameron Diaz, Gene Hackman, Jay Leno, John Elway, Clint Eastwood and James Brolin, along with professionals Danica Patrick, Scott Pruett and Parnelli Jones.
The high bidder also receives, courtesy of Toyota:
· Four days of professional driver's training at Fast Lane Driving School
· Pre-event Press Day prior to race weekend and other media activities,
· Custom-made driving gear, including suit, shoes, gloves and helmet,
· First-class air fare and hotel accommodations for training, press day and race weekend, with ground transportation for race related events only,
· A $5,000 donation from Toyota in the high bidder's name to "Racing for Kids," a national non-profit program benefiting two children's hospitals in Southern California, and
· A VIP pass for two for a private celebrity event immediately following the Saturday, April 8.
"There are millions of people in this country who have always wanted to drive a race car," said Rick DuRee, president of the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach. "Thanks to Toyota, they now have an opportunity to do just that with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
"And, perhaps most importantly, all proceeds from the winning bid will go to the Grand Prix Foundation which, since its inception, has contributed nearly $2 million to charitable organizations in the greater Long Beach area."
"This is the first time we've provided this charity auction opportunity in an on-line format for one lucky bidder to compete in the 30th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race," said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. "The winning bidder will have the experience of a lifetime, with all proceeds benefiting the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach."
High bidder must attend four days of driver training in March, either on two consecutive weekends (March 4-5 and March 11-12) or for four consecutive days, March 9-12.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will take the green flag on Saturday, April 8, part of a weekend of racing that also includes the Champ Car World Series, "Drifting," Champ Car Atlantics and the debut of the fast Daytona Prototypes of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
Beginning January 9, those interested can become pre-qualified to bid on the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race package by going to www.ebay.com/toyotagrandprix.
About the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach:
The Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach was incorporated in January of 1991 as a 501 (c)(3) publicly supported organization whose purpose is to raise funds, through a series of charitable events held in conjunction with the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Foundation builds on the excitement of the race which annually draws crowds in excess of 200,000. Proceeds from the "Grand Prix Charity Days" events are donated to charitable and civic organizations in the Greater Long Beach area.
The Grand Prix Foundation, since its inception in 1991, has donated more than $1,800,000 to Southern California charities. In addition, the Foundation donates tickets and hospitality packages to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and tickets to the Foundation's "Grand Prix Charity Days" events to charitable and civic organizations to assist them in their fund raising efforts or, in some cases, to bring the physically or mentally challenged to a "day at the races."
For more information on the Grand Prix Foundation, please call the Foundation office at (562) 490-4509.
About the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race:
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2006, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race has evolved into one of the longest-running, corporate sponsored events of its kind, pitting celebrities from music, sports and film against professional drivers. The event benefits "Racing for Kids," a non-profit, national fund-raising program that supports children's hospitals throughout the United States.
Toyota will donate monies, on behalf of each Pro/Celebrity driver, to "Racing for Kids," including additional funds to the race winner's charity of choice. All funding will benefit two hospitals in Southern California, Miller Children's Hospital of Long Beach and Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). In conjunction with the ninth annual "People Pole Award" sponsored by People magazine, an additional donation will be made to the pole winner's preferred charity. Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than $1.3 million to children's charity organizations. For more information, please call Kym Strong at (310) 468-5017.
Kompolt was retained to manage the auction. Kompolt is the highly regarded "go-to" on-line auction agency for creating successful, high value, and high profile promotional and charity auctions for top brand companies and nonprofits. For more information, go to www.kompolt.com