Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Hagerty Employee

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race: Forty years of glorious mayhem

The invitation to compete in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race materialized in Perry King's mailbox out of the blue. Thirty-six year later, he still remembers its tantalizing proposition. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Mario Andretti? "I had wondered about it many times!"
New Driver

I remember Paul Newman going through, around and over Scheckter chicane at Watkins Glen. I later ran into him in the garage and mentioned the line he took. He just looked at me, smiled and then laughed.

Great article! Typical Hollywood too - I had no idea how much back ground effort went into the "race" - it always looked like pure fun on the tv. I also had no idea that Danica Patrick actually won a race...
Advanced Driver

It was always funny to watch a bunch of non car people try to "race" around. Some probably had not driven in years and it showed. Others were decent drivers. Good clean fun, aw the good old days.

I only wanted to be famous for one thing. I wanted to be invited to this race!


Slots we’re wasted on so many lame celebrities. 

Advanced Driver

I remember watching some of these. They usually had one or two drivers that knew what they were doing while the rest of the field looked like teenagers having fun at the fair's bumper cars ride...

I only saw a few of those early races and it was during my exit years from racing in SCCA and must admit it made me wish I could have raced in the series myself. Sadly short on the pro credentials and completely deficit of any celebrity it was not mean to be. Some kind of fun to watch though and imagine the rest.

Can we please forego the down-home celebrity fawning and stick to cars; their design, development, qualities and deficits?

Hagerty, don't listen to Inline8OD or anyone else who doesn't like this coverage. I found the story very interesting illuminating many of the details of what it took, who was there and the Eddie Van part was very much of 'car' stuff is the people behind them. Full marks to Toyota for the series and you guys for sharing about it. I love the rivalry between Kendal and Brabham as well as Parnelli and Gurney. So cool.

I just glazed over the article but what drew me in was the picture of the seventh generation Toyota Celica. I happen to own a totally stock '03 Celica GT with manual tranny. I love the car! It's not fast, potent or powerful but it sure is a nimble joy to drive. I love the low ground clearance and the missile-like shape of the vehicle. I'm low to the ground and feel every bump, pot hole and crevice I encounter but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's like riding a go-cart with a 140 hp engine! Anyway, it's obvious I love my little Celica!
New Driver

As a side note to the pro/celebrity race, the "Honorary" crew chiefs to the racecars were Toyota Master Technicians that took regional tests and the best score in the region were invited to do a hands on test to compete for the chance to make the trip to the pro/celebrity race, I believe there were 18 technicians from around the country that took part. In 1994 & 1998 I was fortunate enough to accomplish just that and represented the Boston Northeast region. My wife and I had a chance to rub elbows with many great drivers as well as some Hollywood celebrities as well as just having lunch at the same tables and being able to have great conversation. While the technicians were busy with the cars and other testing Toyota took the spouses to Beverly Hills for a day of beauty, shopping & fun. It was a great time.
Advanced Driver

I put this one in the 'who cares' category.
Pit Crew

For the 2012 race, while on a project in Long Beach, I lived in one of the buildings that was impacted by the street closures for the course. You had to have special ID and a pass for your vehicle to get home. Due to the schedule there was only certain times you could access out parking garage, because you had to drive backwards on part of the course. One evening when I returned from work, practice was finished for the night and the officials verified my ID and let me in but there was equipment blocking the portion of the straight that I had to drive on. Well the official instructed me to follow the course around to get to the other side of the equipment. I lucked out, I was driving my wife's RX8, so it was a bit spirited, within reason. So, I got to drive the course with a sort of "official" invite.
Community Manager

Now THAT is impressive! 

Intermediate Driver

That was hilarious!
I especially enjoyed the part about Bill Goldberg and his broken wrist.
Anything in racing that is worth doing, is worth over-doing!
Did he go on to finish the race?!

I always thought it was an amusing race. The idea of pro racers just slicing through everyone made it fun to watch.
Pit Crew

Only referring to a trans person by their dead name is pretty gross. You should update the article and your style guide.