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Stars come out for Wheldon

NEWS STORY
06/12/2011

Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Dario Franchitti were among the racing stars taking time out to remember Dan Wheldon yesterday.

2011 world championship runner-up Button and newly crowned IndyCar champion Franchitti were among a host of top drivers competing in a special two-hour endurance kart race at Daytona Milton Keynes on Monday night to commemorate the life and many achievements of their friend Dan Wheldon.

The Milton Keynes kart track was the perfect venue to honor the much loved and admired Wheldon, the double Indianapolis 500 winner and former IndyCar Champion who tragically lost his life in the final round of this year's IZOD IndyCar Series at Las Vegas in October.

Friend and event organiser Johnny Mowlem chose the Daytona Milton Keynes venue, located just 10 minutes away from Dan's hometown of Emberton, as the perfect place to accommodate the high number of friends and fund-raisers all wanting to give Wheldon the best possible 'send-off'.

Due to the unprecedented support for the Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race, the grid at Daytona Milton Keynes was stretched to its maximum with 36 teams of four drivers taking part. Each team was headed up by a professional driver representing every echelon of worldwide motorsport: F1, F2, F3, Le Mans, ALMS, BTCC, GP2, GT, World Touring Cars, Sportscar and IndyCar - all paying tribute to their friend and raising more than 17,000 for the Wheldon family's chosen charity, the Alzheimer's Society. The total surpassed expectations and is testament to the heart-felt support for the family of one of Britain's best loved racing drivers.

After a heart-warming welcome from Mowlem, the drivers took to the track for the two-hour endurance race.

"The overwhelming response for Dan's Memorial Kart Race was truly moving," said Mowlem, "it has been a fantastic evening. The event sold out within just a few hours and the management and staff at Daytona Milton Keynes have done a brilliant job to accommodate such a huge gathering - I can't thank them enough for their support."

"We're obviously delighted to be chosen to host such an important and memorable event," added Jim Graham, Daytona Motorsport's Marketing Director. "It's great to see so many of motorsport's elite here enjoying themselves while raising money for an extremely worthwhile cause and remembering a friend and colleague."

The evening brought together an unprecedented gathering of the world's finest racing talent as well as members of the Wheldon family. The event concluded with Dan's father Clive Wheldon thanking all the teams and drivers for taking part in this poignant event. "Dan would have been very proud," he said. Clive then hinted at plans to make the Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race a permanent annual fixture in future motor sport calendars.

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