Greetings!
  • Operation Motorsport finds a new welcoming home in the SRO Motorsports America paddock at VIRginia International Raceway.

  • 2nd Lieutenant (Ret.) Theo Bruulsema Royal Canadian Air Force makes the transition from Excite to Engage Program with Alegra Motorsports.

  • Mini John Cooper Works Racing Team welcomes back Staff Sergeant Katrina Williams.

  • KohR Motorsports embraces a Ford Racing fan, Veteran Soldier Cpl Dale Newbury, to the Mustang GT4 team. 

VIRginia International Raceway, 30 April 2019; 

 Operation Motorsport has made it’s return to Blancpain World Challenge America for the first time in 2019 under a newly penned collaborative Cooperation with SRO Motorsports America , at VIRginia International Raceway, with a host of returning beneficiaries and some new teams. What started out one year ago at VIR as a tester into the sportscar racing series, quickly became a regular stop for ill, injured and wounded beneficiaries in 2018.

As we witness a genuine desire by racing teams to participate in the programs and the willingness to welcome and immerse beneficiaries to the limits of their abilities, the main restrictive factors to the programs growth and delivery were exposure and access. Fast forward one year and we are seeing opportunities outpace the screening and intake of new applicants.

And there could be no better venue for this new collaboration than VIRginia International Raceway , one of Car and Driver Magazine’s top six road courses in the nation. America’s first true “motorsport resort”, salutes Active Duty Military Service Members year round by offering free of charge admittance.

Connie Nyholm, VIR Owner & CEO says, "We are honored to welcome Operation Motorsport to participate in events at VIR, most recently the Blancpain World Challenge GT Americas. Through their Excite, Engage, Empower programs, Operation Motorsport works with the beneficiaries' unique physical and emotional needs and challenges to create a clear and individualized recovery path. Operation Motorsports has partnered with other veterans focused groups to leverage positive outcomes and it is truly rewarding to meet the participants and experience firsthand their enthusiasm and engagement.." http://virnow.com/
This is what recovery can look like......
"At the end of the weekend, you realize that it was successful when all you hear around you is, "that was great!" With returning veterans and injured soldiers in the mix with new and existing teams, as with any race, you can't predict the outcome. Some of our teams struggled, but it just showed our beneficiaries how their teams overcome adversity together." shared Tiffany Lodder, Executive Director.
Watch Alegra Motorsport Team Manager Tony Ditto's interview video:

Mini John Cooper Works Racing
Army Staff Sergeant Katrina Williams was grinning from ear to ear when she arrived at VIR. Returning to the scene of the crime from nearly one year earlier, where she participated in her first Excite program event with Mini John Cooper Works racing team in a different series. It was clear from the start this was the place for her, unfortunately a number of medical set backs prevented any further motorsports immersions.......... until this spring. Katrina says look out this is just the beginning.

"Katrina was welcomed back in the Mini fold like she had never left and she has been asked to return for the remainder of the season", reflected Tiffany.
Cpl Dale Newbury,
Veteran and Ford Racing fan
Dale........ a soft spoken Army veteran, until it comes to family, his dog "Buddy" and his Ford Focus RS............... found his place with the Dean Martin lead team at KohR Motorsports. The smiles could be seen soon after Dale joined the crew and found he was matched by the antics of "Big Joe". Rumor has it that Dale will rejoin the crew north of the border in May. The teams weekend ended early on Saturday after a racing incident that lead to driver Rich Golinello to be airlifted to a nearby trauma center. He is expected to make a full recovery.
One soldiers story ..............
Ever wanted to do something that you believed 100% it would help you in one way or a hundred ways? Recovery from my last surgery has been slow, and I was looking forward to getting away to VIR with Operation Motorsport as a new beneficiary.

Plans were in place and we had been counting down for over a month. As luck would have it, my wife had to make an emergency room visit for pain. Instead of packing for a trip, I packed clothes for a post-surgery hospital stay. As the weekend went on I was seeing tweets and photos coming through, I dreaded it every time I heard the alert go off on my phone. I know it was someone posting about the activity at the race track.

While I am thankful my wife is OK, I was seriously bummed about not being able to go and have a weekend with my fellow Vets and around a sport I fully enjoy. Every date that Tiffany and I are trying to set up it seems either work or my transition to retire are in the way… Just have to find a way over that obstacle.
 
SFC David Meyer
"It’s not everyday an opportunity to work with a sportscar team becomes available, and all of us at OpMo are so very thankful for the time and comradery that Alegra, KohR, LAP Motorsports, VIR and the SRO have extended to us this year."
#oneatatime
Meet the new OpMo supporters
We welcome National Carts to the team -

One of the biggest challenge at road racing motorsports venues / circuits during any event is how to move people and things across distances that sometimes span miles. With Operation Motorsports Beneficiaries those obstacles can sometimes be too much to over come, or at a minimum make motorsports immersion activities a challenge. We are thrilled to share that National Carts has stepped forward and will make sure that mobility is not going to stand in the way of participation, thank you!
"Proud to be helping the mission of Operation Motorsport"  says Tom Cannon, CEO National Carts.
"I'm thrilled that Mel was able to make a connection to Dinah Weisberg , driver of the REDCOM Laboratories, Inc.   Copeland Motorsports  MX-5 and the discussions they had of future events and working together", said Tiffany. "Mel kept asking to go back to talk more to Dinah, because she made car talk relevant."

Mel Gallagher reflects...........
As I reflect back on our week at VIR the same facial expression on each of our beneficiaries faces keeps popping into my head.

Smiles.

From the giant smile on Katrina’s face as she pulled wrenches and assisted on hauling out an engine with her team, to the grins on Theo and Dale as they worked and joked along side their teammates.

Of course, I was all smiles too. Not only because I got to get into the Copeland/BERG / REDCOM Mazda but because I got to witness what a great team I was a part of. Team OpMo. Our team within the teams.

Our days start and everyone scattered to where they will be working but throughout the day the crisscrossing of our paths and checking up on each other is actually one of the coolest parts.

The beneficiaries popping in to check on each other in the pits, garages or in the paddock. Me checking in on all of them, Tiff and Diezel checking in on all of us. Each of us keeping track of and watching out for the others and of course all of us cheering on all of our supportive race teams.

The racing teams are cool and when they do well it is SUPER COOL but I think our OpMo team is number one!
UNITED RENTALS to the rescue
A shout out goes to United Rentals of Greensboro and Raleigh with a big Operation Motorsport thank you for going above and beyond when the team ran out of generator options to supply the power to the teams trailer RV. The bonus United Rentals ball caps came in handy in keeping the sun off of team members. Forever grateful for your generosity!
The logo files for stickers available to download here:

Non-ambulant disabled drivers are encouraged to display this symbol:
New universal logo for disabled drivers
At the  FIA  Conference in South Africa, the new universal logo for disabled drivers competing in motorsports was launched. Non-ambulant drivers will display this on their competition vehicles to signal to marshals and race officials that they need assistance if they stop on a live track or stage. In future we will be displaying this on any team car that has one our disabled beneficiaries in the drivers seat.

Everyone is encouraged to display the Disability and Accessibility Commission logo to show your support:

About Staff Sergeant Katrina Williams  - Supply Specialist (92Y) current serving with 14 years of service. Combat tour in Iraq Afghanistan and Kuwait support LNO whole team was Afghanistan. Ensured the unit was supplied with whatever they needed to be ready for combat. Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2017 in recovery phase. 
About 2nd Lieutentant Theo Bruulsema - 2Lt Bruulsema enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces ROTP program in 2011 and attended Ryerson University, where he developed an interest in motorsports on the university Formula SAE team. After graduating, he was posted to 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario and completed some of the training to be an Aerospace Control Officer until medical issues prevented further progression. While awaiting a release decision, he has been attached to 8 Wing Operations and the Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) . Theo was medically released in August 2018.
About Alegra Motorsports - Alegra Motorsports is a championship-winning team, competing in race series across North America. With a 20-year motorsport history, Alegra Motorsports is not just committed to winning races, but also to preserving the history of vintage Motorsports. Visit: www.alegramotorsports.com
About VIRginia International Raceway - Stadium, Arena & Sports Venue · Alton, Virginia. VIR is America's Motorsport Resort. Located between Danville and South Boston, Virginia, the track opened in 1957 and closed in 1974. Reopened in 2000, it is one of America's finest and most beautiful natural terrain road courses. www.virnow.com
SRO Motorsports Group, the architect of modern GT racing
Over the past 25 years SRO has specialized in the promotion and organization of motorsport series around the world. Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival in the early 1990s, currently SRO predominantly promotes series that adhere to the successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – have helped to establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.
Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. Its flagship continues to be the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which features both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Its annual highlight remains the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and has offices in London, Paris, Liège, Austin, and Hong Kong. Its dedicated team of full-time and freelance staff work with the support of numerous national sporting authorities and sanctioning bodies to offer teams, drivers and manufacturers the world’s best professional, Pro/Am and amateur GT racing platforms.

About Operation Motorsport - Operation Motorsport is a veteran-operated not-for-profit based in Brighton, Ontario and was founded on the basis of three simple words – Excite, Engage and Empower. Its mission is to engage, through motorsport activities, ill and injured service members and disabled veterans, affected by military service, leading to aiding in their recovery and rehabilitation. Visit: http://operationmotorsport.org/