A stout lineup of international stars from motorsports and entertainment were among the participants in the second Autosport International Karting Challenge to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society last weekend.
The event, presented by Johnny Herbert in conjunction with the opening of the Autosport International show at NEC Birmingham, celebrated the life and achievements of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 2005 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, who died in a racing incident in October 2011.
David Brabham, McLaren’s Sam Michael and former Firestone Indy Lights drivers Dillon Battistini and James Winslow were some of the stars who helped to drive funds and raise awareness for the Wheldon family’s nominated charity.
“I’m so proud of everyone for all their hard work, and I know Dan would have been proud too," said Clive Wheldon, Dan's father. "When he knew his mum had Alzheimer’s, he didn’t hesitate to help raise awareness in America. When he won the Indy 500 in 2011, he broke down on the podium and dedicated the race victory to his mum.
“For everyone to do this to remember him is very special. It means a lot to the family, they’re all here, but it’s been hard for everyone. I know it’s been over a year but it brings back memories because he loved his karting, from five years of age and even in America, where in between races he’d still be karting. If there’s a race on for him next year, I’ll be first here.”
The winning team of karters Bradley Philpott, Mathias Grooten, Greg Laporte, Ruben Boutens and Robin Borremans were presented the 2011 Autosport Gregor Grant Award by Clive Wheldon.
“Of course, karting is where Dan built his craft," Herbert said. "He came through the ranks with Jenson (Button), with Jenson going to Formula One and Dan going to America, where of course he won the Indy 500 twice and the IndyCar title.
“It was great to have those memories of Dan firmly in mind as we raced for Alzheimer’s Society. And it’s been great to have a lot of special people here racing together and have fun in Dan’s honor for a great cause.”
Vote for LA moments
The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series' season finale, the MAVTV 500 in which Ryan Hunter-Reay captured the series championship in the exciting 250-lap race, is among the nominees for L.A. Sports Awards.
Visit www.lasports.org through the end of the month to vote for the race in the "Individual Sports" category.
Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay and Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Will Power participated in a Chevrolet manufacturer's test at Sebring International Raceway on Jan. 14. The next scheduled test date is Jan. 23 for Sebastien Bourdais and Dragon Racing at Sebring. He will be competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona starting the next day. ... Pocono Raceway announced the formation of a 20-member Fan Council to assist the staff in developing and improving the overall fan experience. The IZOD IndyCar Series competes at Pocono on July 7.