Ever wonder how it feels to own a GRAND-AM racing team — or better yet, to feel the camaraderie and excitement as a member of a Rolex GT Sports Car team? Now you can get a “behind-the-scenes” look at GRAND-AM racing at the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with the Whelen/Marsh GT (“Grand Touring”) and SunTrust DP (“Daytona Prototype”) teams – and at the same time, support Parkinson’s research and patient care.

Veteran racer and team owner Sonny Whelen is offering an online charity auction package to “join” his GRAND-AM Team for an experience of a lifetime (July 24th – August 3rd on eBay) that will provide the highest bidder with a full weekend of GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series racing team involvement.

This rare package will be a complete two-day experience with elements ranging from a private dinner with the team principle and drivers (Boris Said/Eric Curran), private meetings with drivers and technical advisors to pit qualifying and racing – all with complete VIP access. If either team wins you will be in the Winner’s Circle for photos with the car and drivers! And, 100% of the proceeds from the auction will support Parkinson’s Research and Patient Care.

Whelen has been competing on the racing circuit for more than a dozen years (including the Pirelli World Challenge and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series), but it’s only the last five years that he has faced a more personal challenge – Parkinson’s disease. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and TEAMFOX, Whelen has been winning in driving awareness and funds for Parkinson’s and he’s aiming to pass the finish line. He is also executive vice president of CT-based Whelen Engineering Co, Inc., a co-sponsor of his racing team.

“Through our exposure in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, we have an opportunity to share our passion with an important cause,” said Whelen. “Both Parkinson’s and racing have become a significant part of my life, and by getting our fans throughout America involved in both, we can make an impact.”

The auction is a partnership fundraising outreach teaming the Danville d’Elegance Foundation (DDE), Whelen /Marsh Racing (GT), Wayne Taylor’s SunTrust Racing (DP) with Toshiba Motorsports, all collectively raising funds for the globally renowned Michael J. Fox Foundation. The two-day race package will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and be held the weekend of September 8-9, 2012.

In addition to the “Join the GRAND-AM VIP Experience” auction winners’ participation with Whelen Racing, Toshiba Motorsports will be contributing access to the Wayne Taylor SunTrust Racing (DP) team, including driver “meet and greet” with Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli; technical tour of vehicle transporter with Warren Scheckter; as well as a private meeting with GRAND-AM officials.

For a complete listing of the “Join the GRAND-AM VIP Experience” charity package or to place your bid, click here.

Immediately following the GRAND-AM weekend at Laguna Seca, Whelen and his team will continue to highlight their involvement with Parkinson’s Research. On Sunday, September 16, 2012, the Whelen/Marsh Corvette, and its transporter, will have a display at the 8th Annual Danville Concours d’Elegance on the historic streets of Danville, Calif., and its co-drivers Eric Curran and Boris Said will also be on site and available for both interviews and autographs. Additional autographed team clothing and accessories will be donated for auction items at DDE’s dinner /auction at the Blackhawk Automobile Museum on the evening of September 15th.

The annual Danville program includes a weekend of automotive charitable events raising both funds and awareness for Parkinson’s with proceeds split between the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Parkinson’s Institute and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Since the Foundations’ inception in 2004, and together with its more than 200 volunteers, DDE has contributed more than $1.3 million to support Parkinson’s research and patient care.

For more info, click here.

Source: MarketWatch.com

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