Biggest Rolex 24 Fundraising Campaign Ever for CTF/R4R at Daytona
Seven Teams and More Than Two Dozen Drivers to Support Fight Against neurofibromatosis
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 20, 2014) – The biggest Rolex 24 fundraising campaign in the seven-year history of the Children’s Tumor Foundation Racing4Research program will be held at Daytona International Speedway this weekend, January 23 - 26, where seven racing teams and 25 drivers in two different IMSA racing series will compete to build awareness and research fundraising for the fight against neurofibromatosis.
The unprecedented Children’s Tumor Foundation Racing4Research effort at the season-opening event is anchored by five competing race cars and 21 drivers in the featured Rolex 24 At Daytona. Additionally, two teams and four drivers will provide the weekend’s opening fundraising effort in Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge three-hour race.
The Children's Tumor Foundation (CTF) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with neurofibromatosis – known simply as NF – that is a common yet under-recognized genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF affects one in every 3,000 people, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined. The CTF funds critical research into neurofibromatosis. In addition to benefiting those who live with NF, this research is shedding new light on several forms of cancer, brain tumors, bone abnormalities, and learning disabilities, ultimately benefiting the broader community.
The CTF’s unique Racing4Research (R4R) program raises funds and awareness for NF research through a diverse racing program that is annually highlighted by a Rolex 24 At Daytona effort. Donations to CTF Racing4Research can be made directly at www.Racing4Research.org.
The CTF/R4R effort raised $690,000 in 2013 and the goal for this racing season is $750,000.
The full-color flagships of this year’s campaign are the No. 73 Children’s Tumor Foundation/Racing4Reseach Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America team and popular actor and professional race car driver Patrick Dempsey and his Dempsey Racing Porsche team. Both the No. 73 Porsche and Dempsey himself will literally be wearing bright and vibrant colors inspired by a signature piece of work from highly-acclaimed 20-year-old artist and “NF Hero” Jeffrey Owen Hanson.
Hanson’s original painting – appropriately titled “A Day at Daytona” – has been amazingly transformed into the No. 73 Porsche’s eye-catching livery. Dempsey in turn will proudly carry the same vivid hues throughout the Rolex 24 weekend on a helmet that features Hanson’s artwork interlaid within the familiar “ram’s horn” design Dempsey has worn the last few seasons. This one-of-a-kind edition has been donated by Bell Racing Helmets and painted by Troy Lee Designs.
Even better, and in cooperation with Porsche Cars North America (PCNA), both Hanson’s original painting and Dempsey’s helmet will be auctioned to benefit this year’s CTF/R4R campaign at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, March 7 – 9. The No. 73 Park Place Porsche will be on display at the event and further CTF plans with Porsche include the production of a limited-edition 1/43-scale diecast collectible of the “art car,” an official Porsche item in brand packaging that will be available in mid-March. Follow the CTF/R4R Facebook page at www.facebook.com/racing4research for additional auction details and scheduling and the exact launch date of the diecast Porsche.
The Rolex 24 driver lineup for the No. 73 includes returning CTF/R4R driver Patrick Lindsey and his season-long teammate Kévin Estre. American factory junior Porsche driver Connor De Phillippi is also slated for the “art car” as are Jason Hart and Mike Vess, two more drivers who also raced in support of CTF/R4R last year.
Dempsey will share his No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America with his longtime motorsports business partner Joe Foster, full-season co-driver Andrew Davis and factory Porsche LMP1 star driver Marc Lieb. In addition to Dempsey’s art-inspired helmet, the No. 27 will also carry the CTF/R4R on each front fender.
The drivers of Park Place’s No. 71 entry and the Porsche itself are also joining together to support the CTF/R4R cause. Full-season teammates Dr. Jim Norman and Craig Stanton will be joined by Norbert Siedler and yet another factory Porsche stalwart, Timo Bernhard, who is a teammate of Lieb’s on the Porsche LMP1 program.
Both Park Place Porsches and the Dempsey machine will race in the competitive GT Daytona (GTD) class where they will be joined by another premier CTF/R4R supporting team. James Sofronas and GMG Racing carried the CTF/R4R flag last year in a winning Pirelli World Challenge GT program and bring their Audi R8 LMS program to the Rolex 24 for the first time. Sofronas and returning CTF/R4R teammate Alex Welch will be joined by factory Audi Sport drivers Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler.
The final CTF/R4R representative in the Rolex 24 At Daytona is far from the least as perennial powerhouse team Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 01 Telcel/Target Riley Ford EcoBoost will carry the CTF/R4R logo for the second straight year. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Rolex 24 overall last year and will defend the team’s title with NASCAR star Jamie McMurray and emerging talent Sage Karam.
The Continental Tire Challenge effort is fielded by Compass360 Racing with a car in each of the series’ two classes. The No. 76 GS (Grand Sport) class Subaru WRX STi of Ryan Winchester and Ray Mason and the No. 75 ST (Street Tuner) Honda Civic Si of longtime CTF supporter Ryan Eversley and co-driver Kyle Gimple will race in full support of R4R. Both race cars will have CTF on the roof with the Subaru carrying the organization’s logo and the Honda showcasing the Text-To-Give logo for CTF.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona airs live beginning at 2 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST on FOX this Saturday, January 25, with two hours of race-opening action. At 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST coverage continues on sister station FOX Sports 2 until 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST. For the overnight hours live images, in-car cameras and announcers will stream on www.IMSA.com. On Sunday, January 26, beginning at 7 a.m. EST/4 a.m. PST, FOX Sports 1 takes over the coverage and continues through the end of the race and post-race festivities, concluding at 3 p.m./12 p.m. PST. Motor Racing Network (MRN) will also air flag-to-flag radio coverage, streaming live at www.MRN.com.
- A self-taught artist from age 12, Hanson has developed an unmistakable signature style despite being visually impaired from an optic nerve tumor related to his NF. The tumor caused severe vision loss in 2005, requiring chemotherapy and radiation, but he still amazingly sees well enough to continue creating brilliant artwork. Inspired by travel, Hanson’s heavily textured artwork hangs in the homes of art collectors across the globe, including Sir Elton John, Warren Buffett and Susan Sarandon. Jeff’s commissions include paintings for Fortune 500 corporations, hospitals and private collectors, but his rich spirit of philanthropy is what shines the brightest. The Kansas native has painted and donated more than $1 million dollars in acrylic canvases to over 100 charitable causes since 2006, and the generosity will continue in his Rolex 24 At Daytona partnership with CTF/R4R.
- Hanson plans on attending the Rolex 24 and will be in some good company with some of his fellow “NF Heroes.” A highlight of each CTF/R4R race event is the on-site presence and support of a large group of courageous children and their families who have been nicknamed “NF Heroes” for their generally tireless efforts in fighting the disorder.
- In addition to the No. 01 Ganassi entry’s overall win last year at the Rolex 24, CTF/R4R also came in first in the former GX class. Norman co-drove the No. 16 Napleton Porsche Cayman S to a dominating win with Shane Lewis, David Donohue and Nelson Canache.
Photos by: Sideline Sports Photography 2014