The New Arc Audi Racing Program Gives People with Disabilities a Hands-On Look at the Racing World

Washington, DC – The Arc is excited to announce The Arc Audi Racing Program, a new partnership between The Arc and Istook’s Motorsports.  The goal is to provide a unique opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (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.

A partnership with Istook’s Motorsports, Volkswagen Group of America and the Pirelli World Challenge series, The Arc Audi Racing Program will invite 20 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.  This year, The Arc Audi Racing Program expects to compete in Utah, Michigan, Ohio, in three races in California, and one in Canada.  The first race will be Sunday, April 15 in Long Beach, California, with The Arc of Los Angeles and Orange Counties participating.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to be a part of a professional race crew team for a day. Through this partnership, we hope to show the public that people with I/DD are capable of achieving their dreams in the professional field of their choice, including the motor sport industry,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

Professional race team owner Don Istook and his wife Laurie have a personal connection to the I/DD community. Two of Laurie’s brothers, Mark and Tyson, have Fragile X, but this does not stop them from being an active part of Don’s professional race pit crew. Inspired by their success, Don and Laurie contacted the national office of The Arc to propose a program to give select chapters of The Arc across the country the opportunity to be an integral part of seven races this year. Participants will be able to see The Arc Audi Race Team cars, talk to the crew and play a hands-on role in preparing the cars for the race.

“Mark and Tyson have really taken to the motorsports industry, and they have opened my eyes to the fact that people with disabilities can be a part of any profession with the right support.  This partnership with The Arc was really just an idea Laurie and I had that we hoped would allow more people with disabilities to experience what we experience at the race track, and it has blossomed into a great opportunity for us and for The Arc’s network,” said Don Istook.