Toyota Racing and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach have announced the field for this year’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race – while also revealing that it will be the last year the long-running charity event takes place.
No reason was given for why the Pro/Celebrity Race is ending, but to create a grand finale Toyota and GPLB have constructed the 2016 field entirely out of personalities who have won the event over the course of its 40-race history, including three-time overall champ Alfonso Ribeiro (pictured above), who took the checkered flag in 2015.
Other actors getting back behind the wheel next month include Wedding Band and Anger Management star Brian Austin Green (Celebrity division winner in 2010), Prison Break‘s William Fichtner (overall winner in 2011), Ricky Schroder (overall winner in 1989), Stephen Baldwin (Celebrity winner in 1990), Christopher McDonald (Celebrity winner in 2005), Frankie Muniz (Celebrity winner in 2005) and Awkward‘s Brett Davern (overall winner in 2014).
They’ll join comedian and TV personality Adam Carolla (overall winner in 2012, Pro division winner in 2013), Top Gear host and fan favorite Rutledge Wood (overall winner in 2013), and several professional athletes including 12-time Olympic medalist Dara Torres (overall winner in 2002) and Motorcycle Hall of Famer Eddie Lawson (overall winner in 1993).
If you’re unfamiliar with the event, you can watch last year’s race below:
The drivers in the field are led by legend Al Unser Jr. (overall winner in 1985 and 2009, and Pro winner in 2014). There are two professional truck racers, three-time Grand National Sport titleholder Rod Millen (Pro winner in 1995) and 1993 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Skinner (Pro winner in 2007 and 2008), as well as drift racer Ken Gushi (Pro winner in 2011).
Two participants are active in the Verizon IndyCar Series: KVSH Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser (overall winner in 2010) and recently named IndyCar steward Max Papis (overall winner in 2004).
Lastly but certainly not least, the TPCR is welcoming back two of its charity auction winners, Dave Pasant (last year’s Celebrity winner) and Doug Fregin, and rounding out the field with Toyota executive Bob Carter.
While longtime contenders like Ribeiro and Unser have to be the favorites going into the event, since the entire field is constituted of past victors, the 2016 edition of the Pro/Celebrity Race should be one to watch. Perhaps the biggest question mark is why this great charity event is coming to an end. If you haven’t experienced the excitement of the TPCR, don’t miss your last opportunity to enjoy a unique event in American motorsports.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race takes place Apr. 16 as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Tickets and more information on the entire race weekend can be found at gplb.com.