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Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Reaches End of the Line

Unable to continue supporting the contest due to its impending move to Texas, automaker pulls the plug after 40 years.

Mar 14, 2016

For as long as we can remember the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has been a part of the Long Beach of Grand Prix weekend, but after this year that no longer will be the case. The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach and Toyota revealed last week that this year’s 40th edition of the longest-running corporate-sponsored charity race in the USA would be its last. The reason, it seems, is that with Toyota corporate moving to Texas it will no longer be able to provide support to the event.

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The news was part of a larger bulletin that revealed this year’s driver lineup, which will consist of past winners to commemorate this final running of the 10-lap sprint. Hot shoes include:

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Al Unser, Jr.
Rick Schroder
Stephen Baldwin
Eddie Lawson
Alfonso Ribeiro
Rod Millen
Dara Torres
Max Papis
Chris McDonald
Frankie Muniz
Mike Skinner
Doug Fregin
Brian Austin Green
Jimmy Vasser
Ken Gushi
William Fichtner
Adam Carolla
Rutledge Wood
Brett Davern
Dave Pasant
Bob Carter

Not really part of the TMZ set, our interest in the race was always to watch Hollywood types have their hands full with relatively mildly tuned sport compacts, and of course for the carnage that inevitably transpired. From its start until 2005 drivers piloted Celicas, switching to Scion tCs from 2006 to 2012 and then FR-S in 2013.

Sstp 0308 01 z+toyota celica gt s+side view Photo 4/4   |   Sstp 0308 01 Z+Toyota Celica Gt S+Side View

Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than $2.3 million to the “Racing for Kids” organization on behalf of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and its participants. This year’s contest takes place April 16 on the 1.97-mile street course in downtown Long Beach, Calif., as part of the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.

Bob Hernandez
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