Austin Hatcher Foundation Set for Central Florida Showcase: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Variety of At-Track Fundraising Auctions During Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Race Week
Foundation’s 10th Year as IMSA ‘Proud Charity’ Yielding Fundraising, Awareness Benefits
Week Starts With Visit to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 11, 2019) – It’s one of the biggest weeks of the year for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, because it’s also one of the biggest weeks of the sports car racing season, culminated by Saturday’s 67th Annual Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at famed Sebring International Raceway.
The synergy results from the 10th year of Austin Hatcher Foundation’s status as an official “Proud Charity” of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), North America’s premier sports car competition sanctioning body; Sebring is the second event on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, following January’s highly successful Rolex 24 At DAYTONA.
Through the race season, the Austin Hatcher Foundation partners with race teams and manufacturers involved in IMSA to co-host fundraising at-track auctions. An important byproduct of those auctions is the increased awareness about the Chattanooga-based foundation and its mission to erase the effects of pediatric cancer on young cancer patients and their families. “We are so honored and grateful that IMSA and its partners have embraced the Austin Hatcher Foundation over the last 9 years,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn. “The support we receive as a “Proud Charity” impacts the lives of children with cancer and their family on a daily basis.”
Three auctions are scheduled for Friday at the raceway. The schedule follows:
At 9 a.m. at the Corvette Corral enthusiast area in the raceway paddock, noted artist Roger Warrick will begin a “live” painting, which will be auctioned at 11:50.
From 1:15-1:45 p.m., Wayne Taylor Racing will host a fan auction with items such as sports car parts, photographs and other racing-related memorabilia available for bidding. Wayne Taylor Racing is one of IMSA’s top teams; it comes into Sebring riding momentum from a season-opening victory in the Rolex 24.
At 3 p.m. in the Porscheplatz enthusiast area, Warrick will begin another painting that will be auctioned at 6:30. Also to be auctioned is a painting of legendary sports car driver Derek Bell, which has been donated by Michelin. Bell will appear at the auction.
Warrick is a longtime producer of artwork used by Sebring International Raceway for posters and program covers.
In addition, the foundation’s award-winning Healthy Lifestyle Ford Explorer Sport will be on display in the Michelin Fan Activation Booth throughout the weekend. The Healthy Lifestyle Explorer was built in the foundation’s Education Advancement Center as part of an innovative industrial arts therapy program. This program allows children with cancer and their families to participate in fun recovery activities with real-world applications.
The high-performance vehicle, with an innovative “healthy lifestyle” design concept, received Ford’s Outstanding Achievement in Design award at last November’s SEMA show in Las Vegas. Competition for that award entailed competitors submitting build concepts to Ford for consideration. A total of 21 designs were chosen. The Explorer was then “sold’ by Ford to the foundation for $1 so it could be modified by young cancer patients and their family members. The modifications took place through the foundation’s Industrial Arts Therapy division, with the goal of enhancing therapeutic services with fun and exciting real-world activities.
The Healthy Lifestyle Ford Explorer concept and design was created as part of the foundation’s Healthy Lifestyle Education program, which utilizes automotive-based metaphors as education tools to teach key lifestyle habits which can lower the lifetime risk of cancer. As with other automotive builds involving the foundation, the Healthy Lifestyle Ford Explorer will eventually be auctioned to raise additional funds and awareness for the foundation and its partners.
In conjunction with the at-track activities this week, the foundation took its renowned diversionary therapy program to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando on Monday. Foundation and hospital staff were joined by IMSA drivers Jordan Taylor of Wayne Taylor Racing and Tyler Cooke of eEuroparts.com Racing. Drivers regularly participate in the foundation’s hospital visits that occur in IMSA race markets. The visits entail specialized activities for children and families, supplying a much-needed respite from the everyday realities of a fight against pediatric cancer. One of those especially popular activities is the building and racing of miniature pinewood derby cars, with IMSA drivers interacting with young patients.
“We always look forward to Sebring week,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn. “It’s a huge event and we always get an incredible amount of assistance from IMSA, its teams and manufacturers. And while much of the attention we’ll receive this week will be from the at-track visibility, you can’t overlook the importance of our visit to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital’s and the impact of having race car drivers involved. The children love it, and so do we.”