Tsunami appeal auction at Melbourne

AUCTION OF BMW CELEBRITY CHALLENGE DRIVE AT FORMULA 1 FOSTER'S AUSTRALIANG GRAND PRIX TO AID TSUNAMI RELIEF APPEAL A drive in the BMW Celebrity Challenge at the upcoming Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix is for sale -- to aid the tsunami...

AUCTION OF BMW CELEBRITY CHALLENGE DRIVE AT FORMULA 1 FOSTER'S AUSTRALIANG GRAND PRIX TO AID TSUNAMI RELIEF APPEAL

A drive in the BMW Celebrity Challenge at the upcoming Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix is for sale -- to aid the tsunami relief appeal.

The chance-of-a-lifetime drive is being auctioned and the winning bidder will join 27 celebrities in the field for the BMW Celebrity Challenge at the Grand Prix in Melbourne's Albert Park on March 3-6.

Additional bonuses for the buyer will be 10 corporate hospitality tickets for all four days of the Grand Prix and two tickets to the glittering Grand Prix Ball, the annual highlight of Melbourne's social calendar.

The Celebrity Challenge drive is an opportunity that money could rarely buy and kicks off with four days of intensive driver training with the celebrities ahead of the Grand Prix.

The theme for this year's Celebrity Challenge is "Best of the Best", drawing mainly on stars who have excelled in the event in the past -- including reigning winner, Olympic rowing icon James Tomkins.

Other past winners fronting again this year are actor/dancer Paul Mercurio and AFL great Dermott Brereton, while the field includes a host of other sports and entertainment stars of both genders. They will race the newly-released BMW 1 Series car.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation and BMW Group Australia decided to offer the spot in the BMW Celebrity Challenge as the latest contribution to relief efforts following the tragic Boxing Day tsunami in Asia.

Network Ten, the host broadcaster of Formula One in Australia and the "Home of Motorsport", will support the auction -- on eBay (www.ebay.com.au) and starting today, January 23, and running until Friday, January 28 - with promotions in its news bulletins and its Sports Tonight program throughout the week.

As a benchmark, Melbourne businessman Danny Wallis paid A$60,000 at a charity event organised by Australia's Formula One driver -- and new BMW-Williams star -- Mark Webber for a drive in the 2004 BMW Celebrity Challenge.

The corporate hospitality component of the auction prize is valued at A$17,550, while the Grand Prix Ball tickets would otherwise cost A$1,470. Proceeds from the auction will to go to Oxfam, one of the agencies co-ordinating tsunami relief aid.

-agp-

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber
Teams Williams