The best way to kick off a race weekend is a party, and James Hinchcliffe’s family did just that.
On Thursday before the on-track action, they hosted the first annual Green Flag Gala at Hunter’s Landing in Toronto. Rebecca Hinchcliffe was responsible for putting the entire event together.
“It was my daughter – all my daughter on my behalf,” Arlene Hinchcliffe, James Hinchcliffe’s mom, told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “She’s just wonderful, amazing. She wanted to combine a pre-race weekend driver’s party supporting my foundation, and I’m hoping it is successful so we can do it again. We have so many friends and family that we see over the years that continually support James, so it’s nice to see most of them here tonight.”
The event featured a live auction, including items donated by various drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series and other celebrities. Fans had the chance to bid on a wide array of items, from the milk bottle Alexander Rossi drank from at the Indianapolis 500 to a James Hinchcliffe firesuit and more. Arlene stated it meant a lot to her to see drivers donate a variety of items for the auction.
“I know James has done the same for them, so I think it’s great,” she said. “The drivers – it’s a real community. On-track, their competitors and racing each other but off the track, they’re such close friends, help each other out and support each other’s causes. I know Ryan Hunter-Reay has a fundraiser for cancer, and James has done a lot to help him out, so it’s awesome that the drivers are here tonight, like Graham (Rahal) and the USF2000 drivers. We really do appreciate it so much.”
All proceeds from ticket sales and the auction were donated to the Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation of Canada, which was founded by Arlene in 2012. The WMFC supports research and those affected by this rare blood cancer. Arlene formed the foundation after her father died in 1998.
“Back then, there was so little information on it,” she said. “I just felt that I needed to do something because it’s hereditary, so I wanted to do whatever I could to be involved to find the cause and hopefully a cure. So it’s all volunteer board, and 100% of the money raised donated to the foundation goes to the research.”
The event was a success with Hunter’s Landing packed throughout the night, despite a brief rain shower. As a whole, the family got to celebrate as James had a great run in the Honda Indy Toronto, finishing third.
Though while he’s racing on track, don’t expect mamma to be nervous.
“My theory is that he’s safer in a racecar, besides his accident which was a flux, than he is on the Gardiner Expressway,” she said. “That’s how I rationalize it.”
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