There is one thing that automotive enthusiasts inherently know when they enter into this all-consuming gasoline fueled world. The car is the center of our universe.
It levels the playing field amongst the rich and poor, novice or expert. The car is a language that breaks barriers and pushes the limits of the human spirit.
None contributes to that spirit more than the new The Arc Audi Racing Program in cooperation with the RS Werkes racing team (formerly Istook's Motorsports) owned and operated by Don and Laurie Istook of Forth Worth, TX. The RS Werkes team competes in the Pirelli World Challenge Racing Series in an Audi TT-RS. Their commitment to not only the racing arena but to those with intellectual disabilities goes beyond seminars and pit pass access to something more intimate.
Pit crew team member, Mark Heitt (Laurie Istook's brother), is a crucial part of the RS Werkes team. He is charged with maintaining the car's exterior and tire changes on and off the racetrack.
Last year, The Arc launched The Arc Audi Racing Program, a partnership between The Arc and RS Werkes. The goal was to provide a unique opportunity for people with I/DD to get a taste of what it is like to be part of a fast-paced professional race crew at select races in the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge race series. We are gearing up for the 2013 racing season, and The Arc Audi Racing Program expects to compete in nine races in Florida, California, Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, and Ohio, and Don has two Audis to race.
A partnership with RS Werkes and the Pirelli World Challenge series, and funded in part by Volkswagen Group of America, The Arc Audi Racing Program invited groups of 20 people, including individuals with I/DD, their support staff and staff from select chapters of The Arc to be honorary crew members at seven races, giving them a unique race day experience and helping to raise awareness of The Arc and I/DD among racing fans everywhere.
The program captured the attention of Heidi Reinberg, an award-winning film producer and director. She immediately saw the potential to capture this exciting experience on film to show the world that people with disabilities can be a part of the racing experience. Reinberg traveled to Sonoma to follow The Arc of San Francisco at the race at the Sonoma Speedway.
For more information about The Arc program visit thearc.org