IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Gold Cup class champion Roman De Angelis has signed on to drive with Kelly-Moss Road and Race (KMR) in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series for the 2018 season.
The 16-year-old driver is moving up to a Platinum Cup car for the 2018 season, sponsored by Medical Properties Trust (MPT) to benefit Racing for Children’s, a unique national charity that supports children with cancer when they are most vulnerable – sick and hospitalized at Children’s of Alabama. Drawing on the popularity of motorsports, Racing for Children’s uses its distinctive position within the racing world to bring attention and funding to the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, which is based at Children’s.
“I’m looking forward to a new car and a new team,” said De Angelis. “Racing for Children’s is obviously a huge opportunity for me and I really appreciate MPT and Children’s of Alabama helping me. I’m really motivated because now I’m not only racing for a Championship, I’m racing for these kids.”
“We’re excited to welcome Roman as our driver for 2018,” said Edward K. Aldag, Jr., Chairman, President & CEO of Medical Properties Trust, which has sponsored the distinctive Racing for Children’s car – covered with handprints of young cancer patients – since the fundraising effort began eight years ago. “Roman will be carrying the banner for children battling cancer in Alabama and around the nation on every lap he drives,” Aldag noted. “It’s a cause that’s very dear to our hearts.”
Born in the minds of racing enthusiasts at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham who wanted to give something back to the community, Racing for Children’s initially put a car on the track only one weekend per year. But, with expanded sponsorship support from MPT and the wholehearted support of Jeff Stone and the Kelly-Moss Road and Race Team, the Racing for Children’s Porsche was able to compete in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series for the full 2017 season, bringing home the championship trophy in the Platinum class.
Racing for Children is a year-round program that not only raises funds for childhood cancer research, but also creates interactive experiences designed to give kids with cancer a different focus than their treatment regimen and a driver to cheer for within the racing community.
“We bring the young cancer patients out to the track, give them a tour of the Barber Motorsports Museum and take them on hot laps around the track at about a hundred miles an hour,” said Doug Neil of Redmont Consulting Group, who has been part of the Racing for Children’s team since its early days. “This lets them experience what it truly feels like to be a racecar driver, helps them focus on something beyond their adversities and lets them know that there’s hope,” he said.
To date, Racing for Children has raised nearly $1.5 million and funded an additional full-time cancer researcher at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer at Children’s of Alabama, ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017-18 as one of the nation’s best hospitals for children with cancer.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint, but our goal is to win the race against childhood cancer,” Neil added. “This year, we are excited for Roman De Angelis to carry our torch for us and we’re looking forward to an exciting 2018 and picking up where we left off in 2017. In cancer, winning is everything and, for us, the ability to put a car on the track that is competing every week symbolically gives these kids the hope that they too can be successful. Our goal is to knock out childhood cancer and win this race.”
De Angelis has already started the season off with a bang after winning the season-opening race for the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 6 with a nearly five-second lead.
For years, KMR has been recognized for developing young champions throughout the paddock in Porsche and other series competition.
“I first met the folks at Medical Properties Trust and Children’s of Alabama in 2017,” said KMR team owner Jeff Stone. “It was clear the mission to help children with cancer and other illnesses and to eventually help find cures is a very worthwhile cause.
“Everyone involved is so passionate and laser-focused on this mission. It’s amazing. Every time we visit Children’s of Alabama, we get to meet children, their parents, the fantastic staff and all the people involved from MPT and Racing for Children’s and hear their stories and how their lives have changed for the better because of all the work this group does – I’m humbled and proud to be involved every time I see this.”
KMR embarked on the mission with Racing for Children’s in 2017, with a resounding response for the effort.
“After such a great Championship season with KMR and Jake Eidson carrying the Racing for Children’s charge in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, we are very proud to continue and expand the reach of this program for 2018,” said Stone. “This year KMR, MPT and Children’s of Alabama will continue the fight for this cause with another run for the Platinum Cup championship with Roman De Angelis. He proved last year that he’s a very good driver, but there’s more, he’s an outstanding young man. We are very excited to join forces with MPT and Roman to support the Racing for Children’s cause once again.”
De Angelis, a Belle River, Ontario, Canada native, started driving karts at the age of 9 and quickly moved on to national races by age 11. In his 2017 season, De Angelis won pole position at every single race and won all but one race in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series. He also won pole position at every single race he started in the USA series, where De Angelis may have won another championship had he not missed two rounds of competition because of his academic studies. And here’s the other kicker – almost all of those tracks were new to the young driver.
“Winning a Championship in Canada, I mean that’s a result that everyone wants,” said De Angelis.
For most 16-year-old high school kids, juggling school, friends and a part-time job is hard enough. Try adding a full-time race career in two different series and countries on top of that.
“The hardest part for me is balancing everything,” Roman said. “My dad wants me to get all A’s so it’s a lot of late nights. When I’m at the track, I’m there from seven in the morning until six at night. Then on top of that, I’m studying late at night, plus working at my part-time job.”
That’s right – this driver even juggles a part-time job three nights a week making pizzas at a local Italian restaurant, when he is not driving nearly 170 miles per hour in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and serving as inspiration to the Racing for Children’s program.
“Being 16, I am able to relate to some of those kids there,” said De Angelis. “I grew up with a pretty good life and I’ve never had health issues, but to be able to make them happy through racing and doing what I love, is so beneficial. Even if I make them happy for a short period of time, that motivates me. I’m not just racing to win championships and get exposure, but I’m racing for these kids now, too.”
De Angelis is also driving for Mark Motors Racing in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series in 2018 – once again vying for two IMSA championships. If he wins, he will be the first driver to win dual Canadian and USA championships in the same season.
About Racing for Children’s: Racing to Cure Childhood Cancer
Now in its eighth year, Racing for Children’s has raised nearly $1.5 million to support the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, based at Children’s of Alabama, one of the nation’s leading hospitals for children. The distinctive Racing for Children’s racecar, which is covered with the colorful handprints of young cancer patients from Children’s, is also helping to increase awareness about pediatric cancer and the hope for cures.
Please consider supporting this worthy cause by sponsoring a child’s handprint for $100 or donating any other amount – so these kids can leave cancer and other debilitating diseases in the dust. Every dollar raised goes directly to the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, and other initiatives at Children’s of Alabama.
Encourage your family and friends to consider contributing as well by sending them this link: http://www.racingforchildrens.org.
About Children’s of Alabama and the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. One of the nation’s leading pediatric medical centers, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 46 other states and seven foreign countries last year, representing more than 677,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,500 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the fourth largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. For more information, visit: childrensal.org or Facebook.com/childrenshospitalofalabama
The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama is the state’s only comprehensive center for pediatric cancer and other blood disorders, treating 90 percent of all such patients diagnosed in Alabama. Specialized pediatric services exist for all forms of childhood cancer, leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, hemophilia and other bleeding disorders and sickle cell diseases in the state. The center is a partnership between Children’s and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. The ACCCBD is home to the only pediatric programs in blood and marrow transplantation, childhood cancer survivorship, developmental cancer therapeutics, pediatric neuro-oncology, pediatric hemophilia and sickle cell disease in the state of Alabama. U.S. News & World Report ranks the cancer program among the best in the nation.
Source. LST Marketing