For the past 29 years, Hollywood stars from movies, television, music and sports have actually taken their spots on the starting line behind the wheel of a revved-up Toyota sports coupe. They race through the streets of Long Beach,
California as part of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.
Over 370 fan favorites such as Cameron Diaz, George Lucas, Ashley Judd, Lil’ Kim, Sean Astin, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood, Woody Harrelson, Karl Malone, Kelsey Grammer, Jay Leno, Matt LeBlanc, Queen Latifah,
Joe Montana, Patrick Dempsey, John Elway and lots of others have tested their skills racing through 10 laps of heart-pounding, action-packed turns at over 100 mph-all for the benefit of kids medical facilities.
A highlight of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the longest-running corporate-sponsored occasion of its kind.
All the Stars competing for the checkered flag appear race weekend with much more than a camera-ready smile. Participants dedicate 8 full days of charity participation. This includes vehicle preparation and actual racing, including an
intensive four-day training session that teaches stars how to appropriately manage the automobiles and how to handle the complexities of the track.
After finishing training, they hit the street course in Long Beach for a session, followed by the real race (April 8), which roars and rips to a cheering crowd of tens of thousands, along with being on national TV.
“The enjoyment and competition is fierce,” stated Les Unger, national motorsports supervisor at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Celebrities register thinking this race will be a friendly competition for an excellent cause. Come race day,
friendships and competitions have developed, setting the phase for a remarkable and interesting screen of adrenaline. It’s fun to enjoy the transformation from star to race automobile chauffeur.”
After contending in the 2005 race, Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” now dabbles in expert racing as a hobby and will be categorized in the “pro” category for the 2006 race. “Toyota puts on a
terrific event that’s pure fun, really competitive and most importantly for a fantastic charity cause. I had such a terrific experience in 2015 that I leapt at the chance to be involved once again,” stated Dempsey.
In addition to learning the tricks and trades of competitive racing, the star-studded group raises some serious money for “Racing for Kids,”
a nationwide company benefiting children’s hospitals. Since the year 1991, the race has actually raised more than $1.3 million for charity.
This is an incredible charity event for the kids. Having the large number of celebrities from so many venues really generates a lot of buzz. That buzz translates into sizable donations from this wonderful charity.
Having celebrities and stars from sports, movies and music really expands the reach of the event and brings in a lot more charitable contributions than just your standard event. The stars should be commended on giving up their time for
the benefit of the children.