For the ninth consecutive season, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) paddock will serve as host to the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Racing4Research program, with at least four WeatherTech teams supporting families, donors and fundraisers during the twice-round-the-clock battle.
The charity, which has been supported by teams in each running of the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona since 2008, launches their new initiative with the debut season of IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
For the past eight years, the names of NF Heroes – children and adults living with neurofibromatosis (known simply as NF) – have been carried on a single car during the historic 24-hour race. For 2016, CTF will begin a new tradition by spreading the NF Hero names across multiple IMSA teams. Coining the phrase “Embedded Fans,” NF-affected kids and their families will be assigned to specific teams, expanding support of the Foundation across multiple cars throughout the paddock. Confirmed teams include Turner Motorsport, Magnus Racing and Park Place Motorsports with additional teams expected to be announced prior to the race weekend.
The Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), through their Racing4Research program, has been a long-time fixture of the motor sports scene. Campaigning to raise both awareness and fund research into neurofibromatosis, a common yet under-recognized genetic disorder that can cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body, Racing4Research has raised nearly $4 million for NF research since its inception.
“For the past eight years, our signature moment at the Rolex 24 has been the signing of the car by our NF Heroes,” explained Jill Beck, Children’s Tumor Foundation Racing4Research Director. “This year, we are thrilled to share that powerful moment with multiple teams in the IMSA paddock. NF Heroes joining the teams in Daytona will see their name on a car that is about to compete in the most challenging endurance race in North America.”
“You can’t imagine the children’s excitement at actually signing their name on the car – it’s always an emotional experience for everyone involved. The cars become a symbol to all NF Heroes who on a daily basis battle a disease that affects one in every 3,000 people for which there is currently neither a treatment nor cure. They are so much more than race cars to our Children’s Tumor Foundation families – they symbolize hope and never giving up,” he added.
As “embedded fans” NF Hero families will show support for their teams through social media, engaging and partnering with the drivers and team, and through displays of support at Daytona International Speedway. Hashtags for the weekend include #embeddedfans along with the hashtag #CTF plus the corresponding car number.
The Foundation’s Rolex 24 weekend will begin with Saturday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race featuring the three-car effort of Compass360 Racing (C360R) who continues their support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation for the fifth consecutive year. In addition to the squad’s two ST-class Audi S3s that carry the CTF logo and the ubiquitous “END NF” on the roof, the C360R team will debut their all-new GS-class Ford Mustang GT350R-C “Art Car” featuring the artwork of NF Hero, philanthropic artist and 2015 winner of The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, Jeff Hanson.