12 September 2015
Rahal sets $1m goal for Wilson benefit auction
Graham Rahal has targeted a minimum of a million dollars as the aim for an auction of racing memorabilia set up in the wake of Justin Wilson's untimely passing.
Graham Rahal has a lofty goal for the online auction he is planning to raise money for Justin Wilson's family: bringing in $1m for the Wilson Children's Fund.
While the eBay auction doesn't launch until 14 September, there's reason to believe the goal can be met as the crash helmet donated by Wilson's Andretti Autosport team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay pre-sold at a charity event during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma for nearly $25,000 and, while that sum won't count toward Rahal's million-dollar goal, the hope is that the sale of other race-used helmets from Verizon IndyCar Series drivers could bring as much, if not more, money to the cause.
Wilson died from a head injury sustained in a race at Pocono last month and, as he did following the death of fellow Verizon IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon in 2011, Rahal has partnered with eBay and online auction facilitator Auction Cause to conduct the online auction of all memorabilia, with proceeds going directly to the Wilson Children's Fund.
Items signed by legends such as Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt have already been donated and teams and drivers throughout the racing world have pledged additional articles. Rahal reported on social media that F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is donating the racesuit he wore while driving to victory in the Italian Grand Prix last weekend, while Jenson Button is donating his race-worn helmet from the same event. A one-of-a-kind original painting of Wilson's car by noted artist Bill Patterson will also be made available.
"There will be items up for auction you simply cannot buy or get access to anywhere else," Rahal confirmed.
Through eBay's direct involvement, all transaction fees will be waived and all proceeds will be deposited into the Wilson Children's Fund, which benefits Wilson's wife, Julia, and daughters Jane and Jessica.
Friends and family remembered Wilson at his funeral earlier this week, with a Union Jack-draped coffin being carried into St James the Great Church surrounded by hundreds of attendees that included reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, retired champion Dario Franchitti and F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart.
A poem by Wilson's wife, Julia, entitled "Today I Washed You Away," was read aloud during the service, in which she wrote, "It's not fair you had such a short life." Former F1 driver turned racing entrepreneur Jonathan Palmer, who was once a manager of Wilson's, delivered the eulogy, telling mourners that "Justin died doing something he loved and wasn't in denial about the risks." A memorial service in Indianapolis will be held later this month.
For auction updates or to contribute directly to the Wilson Children's Fund, visit WilsonChildrensFund.com, while tribute T-shirts and stickers which pay into the fund, are available via the official IndyCar online shop.
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