CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Oct. 10, 2018) – Annually, the Motul Petit Le Mans sports car endurance classic serves as a premier setting to showcase the good works of the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, with a host of at-track activities that benefit the Foundation. It’s a byproduct of the foundation’s status as an “Official Proud Charity” of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), which sanctions the race.
But it’s also something else worth noting.
“It’s an honor,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn.
“To be involved in one of North America’s top motorsports events is invaluable to our efforts to grow awareness of our organization but more importantly, our organization’s mission to erase the effects of pediatric cancer.”
The Motul Petit Le Mans, a 10-hour-race set for Saturday at the famed Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Georgia, is the finale for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The race is tradition-rich, dating to the storied days of the American Le Mans Series.
But through the years another tradition has developed – and flourished. IMSA’s season finale is also a season finale of sorts for the Austin Hatcher Foundation; each year the organization has a presence at a number of races on the WeatherTech Championship schedule, thanks to strong partnerships throughout the IMSA eco-system involving race tracks, race teams and manufacturers in the sport.
“Those partnerships enable us to remind thousands of people across the country about what we do and why we’re doing it,” Osborn said. “We’re also able to sometimes bring young cancer patients and their family members to a race track and experience all the inherent excitement and pageantry of a major sports car event. That’s a special kind of therapy and one that seems to work every time, when it comes to lifting spirits and making kids forget about their medical challenges at least for a while.”
Following is the schedule of Foundation-related activities this weekend. Fund-raising auctions at-track typically feature items such as racing photography, paintings and other memorabilia, including sports car parts.
Friday and Saturday – Silent auction in the Vendor Village at Road Atlanta from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday – From 12-3 p.m., acclaimed motorsports artist Roger Warrick will produce a “live’ painting at the Corvette Corral enthusiast area for auction.
Friday – From 2:30-3 p.m., a fan auction will take place at the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Transporter, with proceeds to benefit the Foundation.
Saturday – With the competition of the Petit Le Mans as an exciting backdrop, the following auctions are in the works:
Warrick will produce a live painting for auction at the Cadillac Hospitality area from 4-6 p.m.
Another renowned artist, Bill Patterson, will produce one of his works at the Porsche Platz from 8-9:40 a.m. with Warrick painting during the same time at the BMW Corral.
Patterson will paint from 5-7 p.m. at Audi Hospitality while Warrick will be at Cadillac Hospitality.
In addition, this momentous week for the Austin Hatcher Foundation begins with a Tuesday visit to Scottish Rite hospital in Atlanta, with Foundation staff members taking their unique Diversionary Therapy program to young cancer patients and their family members. They will be joined by drivers from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, one of IMSA’s top organizations.
Each year, the foundation assembles a Diversionary Therapy “road show” that visits children’s medical facilities throughout the United States, often in markets where IMSA races are held. IMSA drivers are involved in many of those visits, with the foundation partnering with hospitals to provide specialized activities for children and families – supplying a much-needed respite from the everyday realities of a fight against pediatric cancer. One of those activities is the building and racing of miniature Pinewood Derby cars, which results in meaningful, memorable interactions between professional race car drivers and young patients.