In 2014, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) debuted the Indy Legends Pro-Am race, pairing amateur drivers with Indy Car stars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As the event’s popularity grew, pro drivers from NASCAR sports car and endurance racing joined the ranks, and, in September 2018, a second event — this one at Virginia International Raceway — was added to the SVRA’s schedule. For 2019, the organization has added a third charity pro-am race, at Road Atlanta, with the trio forming the new Vintage Race of Champions series.
Each of the three events will benefit a different nonprofit organization. The Road Atlanta race, taking place on March 28-31, will be in support of Hope For The Warriors, which aids combat-wounded veterans and their families, along with the families of those killed in action. Hope For The Warriors specifically focuses on veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The dates of the Road Atlanta event occur during the organization’s Month of the Military Child.
This year’s Brickyard Invitational Charity Pro-Am will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 1-4, supporting the Morgan Adams Foundation, which works to advance research on pediatric cancers of the brain, spine, and central nervous system.
The final event in the Vintage Race of Champions series will take place at Virginia International Raceway on September 19-22, aiding IGNITE–the Autism Society of North Carolina’s community center for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. IGNITE was founded by The Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation. Paired with professional racer Boris Said, Ray Evernham helped deliver a win at this year’s American Racing Legends Charity Pro-Am at VIR.
The list of pro drivers who competed in 2018 SVRA charity pro-am events includes Max Papis, Bill Elliott, Jacques Lazier, Sarah Fisher, Paul Tracy, Willy T. Ribbs, Lyn St. James, Al Unser Jr., Geoff Brabham, Ron Fellows, Todd Bodine, Greg Biffle, Ward Burton, Dorsey Schroeder, Bobby Labonte, and Ron Hornaday. Eligible cars come from SVRA’s Group 6A- and B-Production, and include 1963-’72 Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros, Ford Mustangs and Falcons, Shelby Cobras and G.T. 350s, and Jaguar E-types. In 2019, trophies will be awarded to the season champion in both amateur and professional classes.
Tony Parella, SVRA CEO, said of these events,
The pro-am races have not only been a great benefit to charity, but they have proven to be a hit with fans. They get unprecedented access to their heroes from IndyCar, NASCAR, Trans Am, IMSA, and short-track racing, many of whom have become frequent competitors in our races beyond the pro-am events.”
The SVRA would love to attract a title sponsor for the Vintage Race of Champions and is also seeking a television package to bring the series to viewers at home. The goal for 2020 is to expand the charity pro-am series to five events, a modest ambition given the 14 races from coast-to-coast already on the SVRA’s calendar.
For more information on the SVRA or its Vintage Race of Champions, visit SVRA.com.