Two years ago, Racing to End Alzheimer’s unveiled its first tribute race car at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with a livery featuring 77 names of people affected by Alzheimer’s. This weekend, two cars in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series will be carrying names, paying tribute to more than 120 people.
The names are more than just a way to honor loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is also the primary way Racing to End Alzheimer’s raises money to fund the cure and fund the care for the disease. Each year, 100% of proceeds goes to organizations working toward those goals. Back in 2017, with the help of matching corporate sponsors, Racing to End Alzheimer’s donated $43,500 to UCLA’s Cognitive Health Clinic and the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Hospital. In 2018, the number of names grew to 101 and the donations topped $100,000.
This weekend, the #23 FastMD/Legistics/FEL Audi RS3 of Nick Galante and James Vance will be competing in the GS class of the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series. Names have been added to the car all season long. In addition, BimmerWorld team owner James Clay has decided to join forces with Racing to End Alzheimer’s, too. The special livery for the #82 BMW M4 GT4 of Clay and Devin Jones will be unveiled this weekend, adding additional names to the tally.
When the 2-hour race gets the green flag on Saturday, September 14 at 3:05pm PDT, Racing to End Alzheimer’s will have two moving tributes on track. Founder Phil Frengs started Racing to End Alzheimer’s in 2017 after his wife Mimi was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. To see two cars on track together and so many tribute names is especially meaningful to him.
“This is really beyond my initial vision,” says Frengs. “This year our former team and friends at BimmerWorld are putting names on their car, too. So we’ll have over 120 names on cars, raising more than $100,000. The camaraderie among our racing friends is extraordinary.”
WeatherTech Raceway is the home track for Galante, who is a caddy at Pebble Beach. “Being a part of this great cause connects with me in many ways,” says Galante, whose family has experienced Alzheimer’s firsthand. “It’s something that directly touches not only my family but millions around the world.”
For Vance, this weekend is a chance to educate a big audience about Alzheimer’s. “I am expecting a big turnout in support of the incredible initiative that Phil Frengs has put together,” he says. “In regard to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, I love it—I love the track, the fans, and the vibe around the event all week long. I think with our current form we will be coming out the gate swinging and ready to get the job done in the penultimate round of this year’s IMSA championship.”
Fans can watch the race live at IMSA.com and add the name of their own loved one to the car at r2endalz.org.