Nick Galante will carry the iconic livery in the Sports Car Championship Canada
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Racing to End Alzheimer’s team will take on the upcoming Honda Indy Toronto, with Nick Galante contesting the Sports Car Championship Canada presented by Michelin behind the wheel of a very special Mercedes AMG GT4 prepared by Toronto-based VPX Motorsport.
“I appreciate that this opportunity came about,” said Galante. “I’ve known Chris Bye (President of St. Catharines-based FEL Motorsports, who owns the Canadian series) for a few years through the IMSA paddock. He’s been trying to help us find a way to come run with them and this came together with a local team — VPX Motorsport — that gives Phil and me a chance to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s in Canada.”
The No. 77 Mercedes gives families the chance to honor loved ones who have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. For a $250 CAN donation, the family member’s name and hometown is placed on the car, and their photo can be posted on the R2EndAlz website’s tribute page. All donations are matched by Legistics (Phil Frengs), VPX Motorsport (Vince Partap, M.D.) and FEL Motorsport (in the name of Barbara Glover), which means that a $250 donation becomes $1000 – with 100% going to the Alzheimer Society of Toronto.
Racing to End Alzheimer’s partner in Toronto will be VPX Motorsport, led by Interventional Radiologist Dr. Vince Partap. He notes the similarities between the levels of precision and teamwork involved in both medicine and racing.
“The level of excellence we have to practice in medicine is what I am trying to replicate in racing, where every millisecond counts,” said Dr. Partap. “I accomplish this by giving people in my organization the guidance and opportunity to do just that. When I select partners, I select them not just for their name on the car, but their willingness to support people. Because ultimately, supporting people is why racing succeeds, why medicine succeeds and why charity succeeds. I believe that Phil and I share similar principles and why we have so easily collaborated to bring that organization to Canada and can work together to drive its future success here.”
“We as an organization are honored to work with Phil and R2EA in making this a success.”
Galante has only been racing since 2007, and the story of how his racing career began – and how he connected with Racing to End Alzheimer’s founder Phil Frengs – has taken on almost legendary status in the sport: the broken back as a result of a skiing accident that made him decide to take control of his life – and find his passion.
“You only live once, right?” said Galante. “I loved racing, and I loved golf. I had decided to become a race car driver and a friend of mine told me that WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Pebble Beach were very near each other. I thought – those are two of the top venues in their industries! I decided to move to California, that I would put on a tie and walk into Pebble Beach and get a job, and I’m going to go to Laguna Seca and learn how to race cars.
“And that’s what I did.”
Galante went to work as a caddy at the renowned California golf course and began taking classes at the Jim Russell school, discovering a natural talent for racing. He earned a scholarship for the Jim Russell F3 Championship Series and won two Masters F3 titles. But later that year, his life would take another dramatic turn when he caddied for Phil Frengs at Pebble Beach, and a friendship began. Frengs’ company Legistics began to support Galante, who would go on to win 2016 and 2018 championship titles in what is now the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
But Frengs’ wife Mimi was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, and in 2017, he formed Racing to End Alzheimer’s as a way to help other families honor their loved ones, and to raise money and awareness about the terrible disease. Galante was happy to race in the new livery, as the fight is also a very personal one for him.
“Alzheimer’s affected my family as well – I lost my grandmother to the disease 10 years ago, and recently lost my aunt as well. There isn’t much you can do to help, but Phil wanted to do something in Mimi’s honor, so he created this charity to make a difference.”
The Sports Car Championship Canada joins the NTT INDYCAR SERIES at the Honda Indy Toronto, contesting a tripleheader of races: Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and 4:35 p.m., and Sunday at Noon. The races will be live streamed on the FEL Motorsports YouTube channel.
About Racing to End Alzheimer’s
In 2013, Phil Frengs’ wife Mimi was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Their experience with the disease led Frengs to a seminal moment: his company, Legistics, had long sponsored a team in IMSA sports car racing and he realized an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the fight against the disease. In 2017, he formed Racing to End Alzheimer’s, giving fans the opportunity to honor loved ones by putting their names on the race car via donation – with Legistics matching each donation. 100% of those donations go to the two organizations the team supports:
The Nantz National Alzheimer’s Center at Houston Methodist Hospital is exploring cutting edge strategies in therapy, care and research to find a cure for these dementias. NNAC was founded by longtime CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz and his family in honor of his father, Jim, Jr., who passed away after a 13-year battle with Alzheimer’s.
The UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program is a nationally-recognized grant-funded program designed to help patients and their families with the complex medical, behavioral and social needs associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.