The Hardpoint Paddock Foundation has launched the ‘Real Racing Heroes’ campaign to raise funds to provide emergency assistance for “fly in” and contract sports car racing crew members that have been left without work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization has been founded by IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge team owner/driver Rob Ferriol, with motorsports marketing/PR veteran Toni Calderon and longtime sports car racing official Randy Hembrey also on-board as directors.
“As a fan, driver, and a relatively new team owner, I’d certainly like to have a healthy sport to come back to when this is all over – and that means having this key cog in the race economy still intact when the tracks go green again,” Ferriol said.
“I’ve put measures in place to make sure the men and women of Team Hardpoint are taken care of during this period of uncertainty, but that’s only one team out of hundreds.
“So, in response to the CV-19 crisis, I’ve decided to form The Hardpoint Paddock Foundation.
“The Foundation’s mission is to provide emergency financial assistance to contract crew members hardest hit by the CV-19 shutdown. Its outreach will focus initially on professional sports car racing teams but may expand to include other series and support elements based on the success of our fundraising efforts.”
The foundation has launched two initiatives, the “Flatten the Curve” merchandise line, as well as a GoFundMe page that encourages fans, sponsors and anyone involved in the motorports industry to donate funds that will assist some of the hardest-hit crew members that currently without work.
“These jobs are not glamorous, nor do they pay glamorous wages – so the men and women behind those helmets often book crew spots on multiple teams, in multiple series, to piece together enough paying race weekends to provide a sustainable living for themselves and their families,” a statement from the foundation read.
“This is not a hobby for them, it is their livelihood – and without races to support, there is no livelihood.”
Ferriol added: “Our race family needs us, and we can’t sit idly by while we wait for the track to go hot.”