Austin Hatcher Foundation Schedules Hospital Visit, At-Track Fundraising Auctions During IMSA Race Week at VIRginia International Raceway

  • Corvette Racing Drivers Gavin, Magnussen to Join in Visit to Brenner Children’s Hospital
  • Four Auctions Scheduled, Featuring Noted Painter Bill Patterson


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Aug. 22, 2017) – During a tradition-rich return to VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) by the International Motors Sports Association (IMSA) this week, the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer will be showcased via its IMSA “Proud Charity” status.


The foundation has activities that have become traditions in their own right – its unique Diversionary Therapy visits to children’s hospital across the United States, plus at-track fundraising auctions amid the excitement of IMSA events.


As a lead-in to Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, the Michelin GT Challenge at the storied Alton, Virginia road racing circuit, foundation staff will be joined by two of IMSA’s major stars – Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen of the Corvette Racing team – for a Diversionary Therapy visit to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Thursday morning. Brenner Children’s Hospital is part of the award-winning Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.


Gavin and Magnussen are award winners, too. Gavin is reigning champion in the WeatherTech Championship’s GT Le Mans class; Magnussen won the American Le Mans Series’ GT title in 2013. Magnussen leads the current GT Le Mans standings.


The Austin Hatcher Foundation partners with hospitals to provide Diversionary Therapy, offering children and families a much-needed respite from the everyday realities of a fight against pediatric cancer. The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s services are provided at no cost; all services are paid for by donations received by the foundation. As part of the experience, children and their family members build and race the foundation’s signature Pinewood Derby cars, a staple of the Diversionary Therapy visits.


The over-arching goal of the foundation’s Diversionary Therapy Division is to provide families that are facing pediatric cancer with specialized activities involving leisure and recreation while reducing barriers to enjoyment. The aim is to promote self-esteem, personal fulfillment and psychological, social, intellectual and spiritual/cultural well-being.


“There are no barriers to enjoyment at our hospital visits when we are joined by IMSA drivers,” Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn said. “When we bring in big-time race drivers, children’s eyes light up and the fun begins. The involvement and assistance we get from IMSA is a great fit for our Pinewood Derby activities.”


Both Corvette Racing drivers look forward to Thursday’s trip to Brenner Children’s.


“We are proud to support the Austin Hatcher Foundation,” Gavin said. “Spending time with the foundation as part of the Diversionary Therapy is one of the most rewarding things we do during the season. Working with the kids and seeing their positivity continually inspires us.”


AHF/VIRginia International Raceway


Added Magnussen: “As a parent, it’s great to see the support that the Austin Hatcher Foundation gives to children in need. I’ve been fortunate to do multiple visits with pediatric patients and I’m inspired every time.


“A lot of people tell us that race car drivers are heroes. But in my mind, these kids are the real heroes.”


As for this week’s at-track fundraising activities, famed racing artist Bill Patterson will continue his season-long assistance to the foundation. He will produce paintings to be auctioned off at four fundraising auctions. In addition to Patterson’s work, the auctions will feature items such as racing photography, sports car parts and other memorabilia.


Patterson is the official artist for another Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. He is acclaimed for his unique “live art” style of motorsports painting – termed “motionsports” – which underscores his mantra “the art of speed, the speed of art.”


The auction schedule:


  • Saturday, 11 a.m. – BMW Corral
  • Sunday, 10:55 a.m. – Porsche Corral
  • Sunday, 11.30am – Corvette Racing Transporter
  • Sunday, 12:30 – Corvette Corral


Diversionary Therapy remains at the core of the ever-expanding foundation programs and services. That expansion has been bolstered by a new facility in downtown Chattanooga – the Austin Hatcher Foundation automotive-themed Educational Advancement Center (EAC). The EAC focuses on diagnosing and treating educational and functional deficits associated with pediatric cancer and its life-saving treatments. The center’s programs include industrial arts and school tutorial programs, neuro-cognitive testing and remediation and other specialty programs designed to optimize recovery from cancer by both patients and their families.


Throughout 2017, the Austin Hatcher Foundation is commemorating its recently-completed first decade of operation. The foundation began in 2006 and prior to its IMSA Proud Charity status, it was the Official Charity of the American Le Mans Series. As part of the commemoration, the foundation is amid its “Five for Ten” major gift campaign. The “Five for Ten” campaign focuses on “Building a Foundation For The Future” which includes the acquisition and furnishing of a permanent home for the foundation, and helping to continue and expand programs to benefit those dealing with pediatric cancer and the effects it leaves behind.