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Speed racer stars show up in Long Beach
Speed Racer stars pose with drivers
Gail Miller/AutoRacing1
Go Speed Racer! Go Yokohama Tire Corporation! That will be the rallying cry as Yokohama Tire announces plans to  promote its relationship with Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming live-action family film Speed Racer at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 19) and Grand Prix of Utah (May 18).  Yokohama’s ADVAN® tires were named the official tire of the movie and Mach 5 race car earlier this year.  The latest film by the Wachowski brothers and producer Joel Silver, creators of The Matrix trilogy, Speed Racer will open across North America in theatres and IMAX on May 9.

The Yokohama- and BP- sponsored Mazda LMP2 race car will feature Speed Racer movie logos as well as the famous letter “M” on the front. Drivers Ben Devlin and Gerardo Bonilla will each look the part, wearing specially-designed suits inspired by the movie.  The suits will have blue tops and white bottoms and feature Speed Racer logos.  The crew will also be in Speed Racer-designed shirts.

“This is a special opportunity to link Yokohama’s motorsports efforts with the promotion of a major motion picture like Speed Racer,” said Fred Koplin, YTC director of marketing communications. “Away from the racetrack, there is presence with a national television campaign (April 7 - May 10) and in-store promotions with Advantage Yokohama Associate Dealers.”

On Saturday, April 19 in Long Beach, Emile Hirsch and Matthew Fox will be on hand as co-Grand Marshalls of the American Le Mans Series race. As part of their duties, they will give the start command to the field. The race can be seen tape-delayed on ABC, Sunday, April 20 at 12:30 pm ET (check local listings).

“Playing Speed Racer has given me a special appreciation for all things racing, so I am thrilled to serve with Matthew Fox as a Grand Marshall of the American Le Mans race in Long Beach,” said Emile Hirsch.  “Every racing fan dreams of saying those immortal words to get the race underway, and I can’t wait to tell the drivers to ‘Start your engines!’”

In addition on Saturday, there will be a photo and video shoot featuring stars of the film –  Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon and Matthew Fox– as well as the drivers and race car.  Following the race activities, the stars will sign the driving suits, which will then be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) later in the year.  Details will be posted to www.yokohamatire.com, www.mazdausa.com, and www.jdrf.org.

“I think it’s safe to say that most race fans watched Speed Racer growing up and it’s pretty cool to tie in the cartoon for both parents and the next generation of race fans and drivers,” said Jim Jordan, alternative marketing manager, Mazda North American Operations.  “I’m sure that Ben and Gerardo will both be claiming to be the real Speed Racer.  This is the type of fun that Mazda set out to enjoy with the Yokohama tire people and we hope that the Speed Racer fans cheer on the B-K Motorsports team.  I know the Mazda enthusiasts will be waiting for the Speed Racer movie to arrive at their local theater in May.”

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global producer and distributor of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation offers a complete line of tires, including high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, as well as off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama’s extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com. For details on Yokohama’s environmental efforts, go to www.ecotreadsetters.com.

Yokohama is a strong supporter of the tire care and safety guidelines established by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration. Details can be found at the “Taking Care of Your Tires” section at www.yokohamatire.com.

The high-octane, live-action family adventure Speed Racer follows the adventures of the young race car driver Speed (Emile Hirsch) in his quest for glory in his thunderous Mach 5.  The Wachowski brothers directed Speed Racer from their own screenplay.  Joel Silver, Grant Hill, Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski are the producers, with David Lane Seltzer, Michael Lambert and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.  The film stars Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Benno Fürmann, Hiroyuki Sanada, Asian pop superstar Rain, and Richard Roundtree.  Speed Racer is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, of a Silver Pictures Production, in association with Anarchos Productions. This film is rated PG for “sequences of action, some violence and language.”  www.speedracerthemovie.com.

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