End of an era: 40th and final running of Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach
One of the longest running and more popular events in motorsports will take the checkered flag for the final time next month.
The 40th anniversary of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, which is one of the key support races for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will take place for the final time on April 16.
“At Toyota, we wanted to do something unique for this final race,” Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., said in a release. “By hosting a field comprised mostly of past Toyota Pro/Celebrity winners, we anticipate this to be the most competitive race in the event’s history with a diverse field of celebrity and professional drivers.”
This year’s race on a 1.97-mile street course will include more than 20 past Pro, Overall or Celebrity winners of the event driving identically prepared 210-horsepower Scion FR-S cars.
Competitors will be racing to benefit “Racing For Kids,” a charitable organization supporting children’s hospitals throughout the United States. Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than $2.3 million to the organization on behalf of this race and its participants.
Here’s the field for the final Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race:
Former racers: Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser, Eddie Lawson, Rod Millen, Max Papis, Mike Skinner and Ken Gushi.
Actors: Stephen Baldwin, Ricky Schroder, Alfonso Ribeiro, Chris McDonald, Frankie Muniz, Brian Austin Green, William Fichtner, Adam Carolla and Brett Davern.
Also: NBC Sports personality Rutledge Wood, swimmer Dara Torres, Toyota Senior Vice President Bob Carter and business executives Dave Passant and Doug Fregin, who together have donated nearly $750,000 to Racing For Kids charity.
“This should be a thrilling race with so many of the participants past winners here at Long Beach,” Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach said. “It will be interesting to see who best recalls the racing technique that will enable them to once again stand on top of the podium.”