RACE FOR HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE RESEARCH BACKED BY AC/DC’S BRIAN JOHNSON AND CHAMPION DRIVERS AT SEBRING
SEBRING, Fla. (Oct. 11, 2013) - Seven champion race-car drivers and one rock star racer will compete in a Porsche 935 JLP HD1 on Dec. 8, 2013, in Sebring, Fla., to help raise funds and awareness for Huntington's Disease (HD). The 4-hour endurance event at the famed 3.7-mile Sebring International Speedway is sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing Ltd. (HSR), and will feature internationally-acclaimed drivers Rob Dyson, John Fergus, Hurley Haywood, Roger Mandeville, Jim Pace, Brian Redman and Dorsey Schroeder. They will be joined by Brian Johnson, lead singer for the rock band AC/DC who enjoys racing vintage cars in Europe and the U.S.
Fans and supporters around the world are encouraged to visit http://ucla.in/171Fd00 (go to "Please Direct My Fund to..." and scroll down to "John Paul Jr.") where donations will be accepted in the name of the event and former racing champion John Paul Jr., who suffers from the disease. Checks for donations may also be mailed. They should be written to the UCLA Foundation with a memo line reading "John Paul Jr. HD Fund," and mailed to: Ms. Luba Skoropad, UCLA Dept. of Neurology, Finance Office, 710 Westwood Plaza, 4-151 RNRC, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769.
John Paul Jr. is the youngest champion in IMSA GT Series history, and has won races at the 24 Hours of Daytona, in CART and the IRL. In 1982, at age 22, he became the youngest winner of the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring. Other former race drivers are known to suffer from Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer's - all related to Huntington's. Paul Jr. is expected to join the Saturday evening reception through a Skype hook-up, along with other West Coast-based race-car drivers lending their support.
"This is such a debilitating disease, which has taken its toll on so many of our friends and others throughout the world," said Redman, a three-time U.S. F5000 champion (1974-76), and the 1981 IMSA Camel GT champion, who is coordinating the fund-raising effort. "This is a great opportunity for many of us in the racing community to give back and help support a great cause."
The funds raised will benefit HD research by the Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Huntington's is an inherited and fatal degenerative disease that progressively robs patients of the ability to think, judge appropriately, control their emotions and perform coordinated tasks. The proceeds will also benefit the Huntington Disease Society of America's (http://www.hdsa.org/) mission to improve the lives of people affected by HD and their families by supporting the UCLA Center of Excellence.
According to UCLA, it is an exciting time in HD research, and UCLA Neurology is confident that many groundbreaking discoveries are within reach. The understanding of the brain processes that are affected by the mutant huntingtin protein has increased dramatically over the past decade, and UCLA specialists are now poised to begin treatments that may have a dramatic impact on delaying the onset and slowing the progression of this disease.
“We thank Historic Sportscar Racing, Brian Redman, and all of the participants in this event to raise awareness and support for HD research. We extend our deepest appreciation to John Paul Jr., for his tireless drive and passion to improve the lives of HD patients and move our research forward,” said Susan Perlman, M.D., Director, UCLA Huntington’s Disease Center and Clinical Professor, UCLA Department of Neurology.
Each driver will race for 30 minutes behind the wheel of the later-model Porsche 935 fitted with JLP replica bodywork and prepared gratis for this event by David Hinton's Heritage Motorsports, Clearwater, Fla. The JLP HD1 encompasses all the great 935s that John Paul Jr. raced in the '80s and beyond. The eight-driver team will compete against sports racers from the '50s, '60s and '70s, as well as GTP/Group C cars of the '80s and later, including Courage, Pescarolo and the Audi R8.
"I'm proud and honored to compete in this 4-hour enduro on behalf of the UCLA Huntington's Disease Center," said Haywood, a two-time Sebring 12-Hour and five-time Daytona 24-hour champion. "John Paul Jr. was a great competitor whom I had the privilege of racing against in the early IMSA days, and giving back to help in the research to eliminate this disease is an important goal."
Here are brief bios of the drivers of the Porsche 935 JLP HD1:
Rob Dyson (Millbrook, N.Y.) - America's most experienced and successful sports-car racing team owner. Dyson Racing has 19 championships, 70 wins, 68 poles and 212 podiums to its credit. The team is celebrating its 30th anniversary in pro sports car racing this year and Dyson himself has been racing for 39 years. The team has won championships and races in the ALMS, IMSA, SCCA, World Sports Car, USRRC, and Grand-Am. Dyson started racing a Datsun 510 in 1974 and his passion for the sport has never wavered for the past four decades.
John Fergus (Columbus, Ohio) - Current Vice President of Road Racing Drivers Club; 10-time SCCA National Champion; three-time Pro Sports 2000 Champion; the 1991 IMSA GTU Champion. Was teammate to JLP 935 co-driver Dorsey Schroeder at Roush Racing during the 1991 IMSA season.
Hurley Haywood (St. Augustine, Fla.) - Winner of more endurance classics than any other driver in racing history: five Daytona 24 wins, three LeMans 24 wins, and two Sebring 12 wins. Vice President of Brumos Porsche, serves as Chief Driving Instructor for the Porsche Sport Driving School and Brumos Driving Experience. In 2012 made his 40th and final Daytona 24 start, finishing third. Inducted in Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, Sebring Hall of Fame and Watkins Glen's Legends of the Glen. Was Grand Marshal for the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Brian Johnson (England) - English singer and lyricist who has been the lead singer of the rock band AC/DC since 1980. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, along with the other members of the band. A car and racing enthusiast, Brian Johnson currently enjoys racing his vintage race cars: a Royale RP-4 and a Pilbeam MP84, in vintage and historic races throughout the U.S. Competed in 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing 12th in the Daytona Prototype class along with Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Byron DeFoor, Jim Pace, and Carlos de Quesada.
Roger Mandeville (Spartanburg, S.C.) - Started racing in Canada with CASC and later competed in SCCA. Three-time IMSA Champion: Champion Spark Plug Challenge in 1979, Camel GTU 1983 and Camel GTO 1984. Multiple-time HSR event winner and champion driving IMSA GTP and GTPL cars.
Jim Pace (Ridgeland, Miss.) - Raced 25-plus years in formula cars, GT, and Prototype Sportscars. Overall winner at Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 in 1996; 1994 IMSA GTU champion; GTU winner at 1990 Daytona 24 and GTPL winner at 1991 Sebring 12. Currently competes in Vintage Sports Car racing, Grand-Am and IMSA.
Brian Redman (Vero Beach, Fla.) - Winner of four World Manufacturers Team Championships: 1968 John Wyer Gulf Ford, GT40; 1969 Dr.Ing.H.C.f.Porsche AG, Porsche 908; 1970 John Wyer Gulf Porsche, 917K; 1972 SEFAC Ferrari, 312 PB. Three-time 1974-76 U.S. Formula 5000 Champion, Haas/Hall Lola T332; 1981 IMSA Camel GT Champion, Lola T600; 1970/71 South African Springbok Champion, Chevron B16/S. Inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, Sebring Hall of Fame, Talladega Hall of Fame and Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame
Dorsey Schroeder (Little Torch Key, Fla.) - SCCA racer from 1971-86. Five divisional titles in SCCA Formula Atlantic; 1986 Lucas Challenge champion for Pro SportsRenault; 1987-88 pro driver for Dodge in Firestone Firehawk and GTU; 1989 Trans-Am rookie of the year and series champion; 1990 IMSA GTO rookie of the year and series champion; two years in IROC. Class winner in 1988 Sebring 12 and 1991 class winner at Daytona 24. Last car raced was Audi R8 at 2000 Sebring 12, finishing third in Audi 1-4 sweep. Currently is on-air talent for Fox Sports 1 network.
HSR, the leader in vintage endurance racing, brings a competitive environment to a racing season through Sprint Races, Special Series, and Endurance Series races. HSR events represent fast-paced, wheel-to-wheel racing. Cars are generally grouped according to age and engine size for racing. HSR features several separate series, ranging from the GTP/Group C Series to the Louis Chevrolet Endurance Challenge, which includes historic production and prototype sports cars. Major HSR events attract 400-plus entrants.
ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF NEUROLOGY AT UCLA:
The Department of Neurology was founded by Augustus S. Rose, M.D., in the 1950s at the UCLA School of Medicine (now David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA). The Department grew from a few faculty members to more than 140 M.D.s and Ph.D. s today. Led by John C. Mazziotta, M.D., Ph.D., it is also home to 125 trainees and is associated with six affiliated hospitals.
One of the primary cores of the Department is the Neuro-Genetics Program. Its HD research is highly focused and involves multiple areas on campus. Such dynamic interaction and cooperation move this work forward, promoting the direct translation of findings at the laboratory bench to treatments for patients with HD.