Special Motorsports Event - Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race Draws Enormous Professional Field
Milton Keyes, Dec 6, 2011: F1 star Jenson Button and newly crowned IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti were among a host of top racing drivers all competing in a very special two-hour endurance kart race staged at Daytona Milton Keynes last night (5 December) to commemorate the life and many achievements of their friend Dan Wheldon.
Daytona Milton Keynes kart track was the perfect venue to honor the much loved and admired Wheldon, the double Indianapolis 500 winner and former IndyCar Champion who tragically lost his life in the final round of this year’s IZOD IndyCar Series at Las Vegas in October.
Friend and event organiser Johnny Mowlem chose the Daytona Milton Keynes venue, located just 10 minutes away from Dan’s hometown of Emberton, as this first class outdoor kart facility was the perfect place to accommodate the high number of friends and fund-raisers all wanting to give Dan the best possible ‘send-off’.
Due to the unprecedented support for the Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race, the grid at Daytona Milton Keynes was stretched to its maximum with 36 teams of four drivers taking part. Each team was headed up by a professional driver representing every echelon of worldwide motorsport: F1, F2, F3, Le Mans, ALMS, BTCC, GP2, GT, World Touring Cars, Sportscar and IndyCar – all paying tribute to their friend and raising more than £17,000 for the Wheldon family’s chosen charity, the Alzheimer’s Society. The total surpassed expectations and is testament to the heart-felt support for the family of one of Britain’s best loved racing drivers.
After a heart-warming welcome from Mowlem, the drivers took to the track for the two-hour endurance race in Daytona Motorsport’s fleet of superb Vodafone DMAX karts – the fastest hire karts currently available in the UK. The super-quick 125cc, twin-engine race karts were the perfect machines for the highly competitive professional drivers. Most of the pro racers taking part started their careers racing karts and many are still regulars at Daytona venues across the UK in their spare time.
Mowlem said: “The overwhelming response for Dan’s Memorial Kart Race was truly moving; it has been a fantastic evening. The event sold out within just a few hours and the management and staff at Daytona Milton Keynes have done a brilliant job to accommodate such a huge gathering – I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
Jim Graham, Daytona Motorsport’s Marketing Director, said: “We’re obviously delighted to be chosen to host such an important and memorable event. It’s great to see so many of motorsport’s elite here enjoying themselves while raising money for an extremely worthwhile cause and remembering a friend and colleague.”
The evening brought together an unprecedented gathering of the world’s finest racing talent (see full line-up below) as well as members of the Wheldon family. The event concluded with Dan’s father Clive Wheldon thanking all the teams and drivers for taking part in this poignant event. “Dan would have been very proud,” he said. Clive then hinted at plans to make the Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race a permanent annual fixture in future motor sport calendars.
Pro Drivers taking part: Jenson Button Dario Franchitti Anthony Davidson David Coulthard Guy Smith Jonny Kane Rob Huff James Hinchcliffe Johnny Herbert Marino Franchitti Martin Brundle Alex Brundle Mike Conway Derek Hayes Adam Carroll Chris Buncombe Richard Dean Steven Kane Sam Hancock Luke Hines Marc Hynes Nic Minassian James Rossiter Peter Dumbreck Richard Lyons Sam Bird Duncan Tappy James Thompson Tom Sisley Ollie Hancock Danny Watts Johnny Mowlem