ALMS announces its official charity The American Le Mans Series officially kicks off its affiliation with the Austin Hatcher Foundation on Tuesday as four of the world's top sports car drivers visit pediatric wards at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. Clint and Jon Field of Intersport Racing in Dublin, Ohio along with Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham and Drayson-Barwell's Paul Drayson will visit with young people and their families from 1 to 2 p.m. to kick off the Series' partnership with the foundation as its official charity.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation, a federally registered 501-c3, was formed by Dr. Jim Osborn and wife Amy Jo after the loss of their two-month-old son "Hatch," the namesake of the Foundation, to a rare form of cancer. The Osborns have been champions of children with pediatric cancer and their families for almost a decade. The Foundation's mission is to serve the needs of children and families dealing with the effects of pediatric cancer.
"We are at a major turning point in the treatment of pediatric cancer," said Dr. Osborn. "With the success rate of current treatment reaching 80 percent, much of the worldwide focus in pediatric cancer treatment is now on the long-term recovery from the negative effects the toxic treatments have on the children and their families. We are excited to partner with the American Le Mans Series in the establishment of landmark programs that will affect pediatric cancer care worldwide."
"Just as the American Le Mans Series plays a role in the advancements of today's road-going automobiles, the Austin Hatcher Foundation makes a difference in the lives of pediatric cancer patients and their families each year," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "Other than those who have been directly impacted, I don't think anyone can truly grasp the impact of pediatric cancer on families, and helping them cope with such a devastating disease is a very worthy goal. That is why the American Le Mans Series is proud to stand alongside the Austin Hatcher Foundation in helping to provide much needed financial and emotional support to those families coping with pediatric cancer."
One of the Foundation's major efforts is building "Hatch's House of Hope." The home will be a safe harbor for entire families to receive counseling and assistance for the financial and emotional stresses brought on by cancer that have been proven to disrupt the normal family dynamics leading to increased divorce and teen pregnancy rates, among other issues. The Foundation will also pre-screen kids just entering cancer treatments and then teach them how to adapt to the post-treatment effects of radiation and other treatments.
Over the next five years, the American Le Mans Series will raise monies and awareness for the Austin Hatcher Foundation through direct donations, Web and trackside merchandise sales, fan Vitesse pace car lap rides, online race memorabilia, auctions, sales of limited production American Le Mans Series-Austin Hatcher Foundation co-branded gear, and through trackside diversionary therapy events centered around selected races.
The American Le Mans Series will join with Road Atlanta to host the 5th Annual Post Petit Le Mans Motorcycle Charity ride and Suzuki motorcycle raffle to benefit the Austin Hatcher Foundation during the 11th Annual Petit Le Mans race weekend.
Invited children and families dealing with pediatric cancer will enjoy pace car lap rides, trackside hospitality and world-class racing. Over the week fans can purchase a ticket with the chance of winning a 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 750. The weekend of events concludes with the annual Motorcycle Charity ride. The ride begins with a lap around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course then heads off into the hills of north Georgia.
Intersport Racing is one of the top independent prototype teams in American Le Mans Series history. Clint Field won the Series LMP2 season championship in 2005. He was also the youngest to ever win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2004 when he took top honors in LMP2 class. Intersport continues to finish on the podium in 2008.
David Brabham is considered one of the top sports car drivers of all-time. On July 12, he added to his already impressive resume; by winning the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park with co-pilot Scott Sharp. The duo captured the first overall victory for Acura. Brabham is the only driver in American Le Mans Series history to have won a race in all four classes.
Paul Drayson in late 2007 relinquished his position in Great Britain's House of Lords where he was Minister of Defense Procurement in order to run in the American Le Mans Series. He and his teammate Jonny Cocker compete in GT2 class in an Aston Martin Vantage appropriately running the number 007. It is fueled by cellulosic E85, as are Intersport Racing's two AER-powered Lolas.
The American Le Mans Series races this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH. Friday's qualifying will begin at 5:40 p.m. ET and Saturday's race start is 2:10 p.m. ET