Blackberry executive to race in Long Beach
Doug Fregin is going racing!
The 49-year-old Fregin, co-founder and retired Vice President of Operations for Research in Motion, makers of the popular Blackberry communication devices, had the top bid of $55,250 in a week-long online auction to race against a field of stars from TV, movies and the sports world in the 33rd Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is one of six races, including the debut of the IndyCar Series, to be part of the 35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend April 16-19.
All proceeds from Fregin's winning bid will go to the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach which, since its inception, has contributed more than $2 million to a wide cross-section of charitable organizations throughout the greater Long Beach area.
"I was ecstatic when I found out I won," Fregin said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of actually competing on the track at Long Beach and meeting some very interesting people."
Fregin is no stranger to Long Beach or to racing. He's attended the last five Toyota Grands Prix here and has spent time running hot laps in his Porsche 996 at various tracks around his Waterloo, Ontario home.
Fregin is on his way to Africa, where his is closely involved in an AIDS Relief Program in Uganda. He'll return to 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.
He will also receive a custom-made professional driver's suit, including shoes, gloves and helmet, and a $5,000 donation from Toyota will be made in Fregin's name to "Racing for Kids," a national program benefiting two children's hospitals in Southern California.
One day of pre-event driver training, media exposure on Grand Prix Press Day April 7 and practice and qualifying will lead up to Fregin taking the green flag in a new, race-ready Scion tC on Sat., April 18 in the 10-lap sprint race on the 1.97-mile seaside Long Beach street course.
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 race-week dinners and related press and social activities, including a post-race "Victory Dinner."
The starting field for the 33rd Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has yet to be announced, but past celebrity entrants have included George Lucas, Ashley Judd, Clint Eastwood, Cameron Diaz, Gene Hackman, Jay Leno and John Elway. Professional drivers have included Parnelli Jones, Patrick Dempsey and Danica Patrick, who will be making her Long Beach IndyCar debut this year.
"The Grand Prix Foundation expresses its deep appreciation both to Mr. Fregin, for his generous bid, and to Toyota, for making it possible for us to continue to help those less fortunate through events such as the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race," said Grand Prix Foundation President Rick Duree.