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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Long Beach Toyota Celebrity Race

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 April 7-9, 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - 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, Patrick Dempsey, Jay Leno, John Elway and Ashley Judd, along with professionals Danica Patrick, Scott Pruett and Parnelli Jones.

The high bidder also receives, courtesy of Toyota Motorsports USA:
  • Four days of professional driver's training at Fast Lane Driving School, Rosamond, CA,
  • 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 program benefiting two children's hospitals in Southern California, and
  • A VIP pass for 2 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 Motorsports, USA, 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."

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, a Drifting challenge, 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.

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