Something like the Pro/Celebrity race at Long Beach each year, this race has a twist. Rather than using celebrities plucked from the entertainment field, the Race of Legends will feature some of racing's greatest names. The drivers are former winners from Formula One, CART, the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Take a look at this roster: Bobby Unser, Al Unser Sr., Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Rahal, Parnelli Jones, Emerson Fittipaldi, Vic Elford, Derek Bell and Ove Andersson. While we know this is a charity event, most of these guys are still quite competitive and should make it interesting. A top prize of $25,000 for the winner's favorite charity is being put up by Toyota, which is celebrating 50 years of motorsports heritage this year. We'll try to get some photos to you as soon as the checkered flag falls.
Full press release with driver bios after the jump.
[Source: Monterey Historic]
Motorsports Legends Unite for Charity Race at
Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Presented by Toyota
$25,000 Prize Money for Winner's Favorite Charity
Torrance, Calif. – July 2, 2007 – Nine of the most dominant personalities in motorsports will race on the same track for the first time when they suit up to compete in the inaugural Race of Legends at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, presented by Toyota, August 17-19. Collectively, the legendary drivers hold championships from nearly every level of racing, including Formula One, CART, Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. is presenting the eight-lap charity race on Saturday, August 18 at the storied Laguna Seca Raceway as part of its sponsorship of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races.
"This is a fun competition where we will award $25,000 in prize money to the winner's selected charity," explains Keith Dahl, National Manager - Engagement for Toyota Motor Sales USA. "The drivers are approaching this race in a competitive, yet friendly spirit. However, with all of them being past champions you're sure to see an entertaining competition en route to the checkered flag."
The legends will take the green flag in race-equipped Scion tC sport coupes. These high-performance tCs feature a 2.4-liter, 215-horsepower supercharged engine and are ideally matched to the track's sweeping turns, long straightaway and demanding corkscrew.
This is the first time that such an illustrious group of champions have competed wheel-to-wheel against one another. The field consists of:
Bobby Unser – Three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, and one of two to win in three decades (1968, 1975 and 1981), Unser was the USAC Indy Car Champion in 1968 and 1974. He also was the 1975 IROC champion and 1994 inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Al Unser Sr. – Al, Bobby's younger brother, captured four Indianapolis 500 victories (1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987, four days prior to his 48th birthday) and three Champ Car Championships in 1979, 1983 and 1985. He was a 1991 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee.
Johnny Rutherford – A fellow three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 (1974, 1976 and 1980), the Texas-raised champ also won his first NASCAR start at Daytona International Speedway in 1963. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996.
Bobby Rahal – Three-time CART Series Champion (1986, 1987 and 1992), Rahal has won the Indianapolis 500 both as a driver (1986) and owner (2004). He served as interim CART president and CEO during the 2000 season and was a 2004 inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Parnelli Jones – A winner in many forms of racing, Jones drove the hard-charging Boss 302 Mustang to multiple wins in the SCCA Trans Am series. He was the 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1964 USAC stock car champion and inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992.
Emerson Fittipaldi – Until recently, "Emmo" held the distinction of being the youngest world champion ever - at age 25. He won 14 Formula One races and the world championship in 1972 and 1974. Fittipaldi followed that with Indianapolis 500 victories in 1989 and 1993 and was the IndyCar World Champion in 1989. He was a 2001 inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Vic Elford – Considered one of the fastest drivers of the '60s and '70s, and the most versatile all around driver, Elford competed worldwide in all types of racing – from Formula One to the 24 Hours of LeMans (class wins in 1967 and 1973) and held fastest lap records at 11 different tracks.
Derek Bell – Five-time winner of the 24 Hours of LeMans (1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987), Bell is a two-time World Sportscar Champion (1986 and 1987). He also had nine starts in Formula One for Ferrari, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno.
Ove Andersson – Winner of the grueling Monte Carlo Rally in 1971, Andersson went on to become the European Rally Champion the following year. As a team owner, he began working with Toyota, winning numerous rally championships and overseeing Toyota's sports car and Formula One efforts.
The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races are a tribute of motor racing history, historic automobiles and the people who made them. Each year, more than 375 of the finest historic race and sports cars are entered in 14 race groups that span nearly every era of motorsports history. This year's marque highlights Indy Roadsters, bringing to life the original open-wheelers and returning the spirit of Indy to the Central California Coast.
For more information, visit www.toyota.com , www.montereyhistoric.com or www.laguna-seca.com.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion in the United States, marketing products and services through a network of 1,427 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers in 49 states. Established in 1957, TMS and its subsidiaries also are involved in distribution logistics, motorsports, and research and development.