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DATE News (chronologically)
02/04/09
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Bid to race against celebrities  Here's a opportunity you can't pass up.

Fans can bid for a spot on the starting grid of a star-studded field in the 33rd Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, part of the 35th Anniversary Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend April 16-19.

Bidding at www.gplb.com/auction begins at $25,000 and runs through 5 p.m. (PT) Feb. 11. All proceeds from the winning bid will go to the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach, which has contributed more than $2 million to a multiple charitable organizations throughout the greater Long Beach area.

The winning bidder will join the rest of the celebrity and professional field for four days of professional driver's training at Fast Lane Racing School at California's Willow Springs Raceway March 19-22. The high bidder will receive a custom-made professional driver's suit, and a $5,000 donation from Toyota will be made in the winning bidder's name to Racing for Kids, a national program benefiting two children's hospitals in Southern California.

A day of driver training and media exposure on Grand Prix Press Day and practice and qualifying April 17 will lead up to taking the green flag in a new,  race-ready Scion tC on April 18 in the 10-lap sprint race on the 1.97-mile street course.

"It was a dream come true," said Thom Naito, a business analyst who was the winning bidder in 2006. "The whole weekend holds great memories for me, even though, actually, the race itself was just a blur."

The package also includes first-class air fare and hotel accommodations, meals and ground transportation to training, press/practice day and race weekend, tickets and hospitality for race weekend, as well as a post-race reception and dinner.

For full details and rules, log on to www.gplb.com/auction.

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