Atlanta (September 25, 2000) - At the Petit Le Mans race this year, some teams hope to stay in contention for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) driver's or manufacturer's championships. Other teams hope to take advantage of a unique exemption...
Atlanta (September 25, 2000) - At the Petit Le Mans race this year, some teams hope to stay in contention for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) driver's or manufacturer's championships. Other teams hope to take advantage of a unique exemption accorded the winners: Victory in their class will gain them automatic invitation to one of the greatest motor races in the world, next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, France.
For their part however, Olive Garden Team Rafanelli hopes that they will feed 10,000 needy families. If that does not seem like an obvious result of racing around the 2.54 mile Road Atlanta road circuit for 10 grueling hours at average speeds approaching 130 mph, you have to look at a special program which has become a signature of the Olive Garden team in ALMS competition. That program is known as the Olive Garden Drive Against Hunger.
It simply works like this. For every race lap completed by the Olive Garden Rafanelli V-10 racing sportscar, one needy family is invited to a hearty meal at a nearby Olive Garden. In six events last year, and five this year, the Olive Garden Drive Against Hunger program has provided a total of 8696 meals for 2175 needy families in ALMS cities such as Atlanta; Charlotte, N. Carolina; Dallas-Fort Worth; San Francisco; Las Vegas; Portland, Oregon and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
Over the last two years, Olive Garden has also provided a quarter million pounds of food in addition to the meals and donated refrig- erated trucks filled with food to the community food banks in ALMS race cities. In each of the ALMS communities, the community food bank administers the program, working with its regional partners to identify the needy families and bring them to the Olive Garden res- taurants for hearty Italian meals.
326 Laps Will Do The Trick In order to reach a total of 10,000 meals, Olive Garden Team Rafanelli drivers Didier de Radigués, Mimmo Schiattarella and Norman Simon must complete 326 laps of Road Atlanta. Last year's winning team completed 354 laps and naturally, the Olive Garden trio would like to exceed that mark.
It won't be easy. Petit Le Mans is known for its unpredictable na- ture. Last year's Olive Garden team did only 187 laps before retiring with a mechanical problem. Still, de Radigués expressed optimism that they can go the distance. "Our goal at Petit Le Mans is 10,000 meals for the needy. We know that if we are reliable, we will be fast and can be fighting not only for a podium but also to make our goal of feeding 10,000 meals for the needy."
The Olive Garden Local Relationship With Community Food Banks
"Our Italian restaurants have a long history of local involvement in the communities where we live and serve our guests," said Olive Garden's President, Brad Blum. "We welcome the many families who will dine with us at local Olive Garden restaurants as a result of our Drive Against Hunger campaign and I want to thank the community food banks that work with us year around. Of course, we also wish the team success in our goal of reaching 10,000 Olive Garden meals for the needy."
Olive Garden sponsors Team Rafanelli of San Gimignano, Italy. Team Rafanelli's distinguished resume includes a victory in the April, 1999 ALMS race at Road Atlanta; a total of six victories in inter- national 24-hour endurance races; pole positions at the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998 and at Silverstone, England's ALMS race this year and the race's fastest lap records in last year's Sebring ALMS round as well as this year's Silverstone event.
The Petit Le Mans from Road Atlanta will be broadcast over Speed- vision on Saturday, September 30 starting at 12:30 PM Eastern Time.
In 2 years to date Drive Against Hunger has fed 2175 needy families.
Some 8700 meals have been served to the needy in the same period.
Over a quarter million pounds of food have been donated to food banks in ALMS cities.