Pirelli World Challenge: Duncan Ende highlights dangers of distracted driving

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Living in Los Angeles, Pirelli World Challenge driver Duncan Ende is constantly reminded of the dangers of distracted driving.

“It’s bad when I’m driving in my car and sometimes really scary when I’m on my road bicycle, and drivers on the road are speaking on the phone, looking at the map on their phone, or paying attention to the kids in the backseat of their Prius,” said Ende, who drives the No. 24 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS in the GT class.

“Racing with Andy Pilgrim while we come through the GTS field like we did in Austin [Texas] is very exciting, but it’s much less stressful than seeing a driver on their cell phone in my mirror while I drive down the 405 freeway.”

For the last three seasons, Ende has done his best to educate the public about why it’s important to drive focused. Since 2011, he has aligned himself with an organization called STANDD – Stop Texting and Driving Distracted – which sets up a booth at every race next to GMG Racing’s piece of the World Challenge paddock. There, STANDD asks spectators to sign a pledge form (pictured; Photo Credit: SCCA Pro Racing) and make a personal commitment to safe driving.

The organization was created by Divetta Thompson, who lost her 18-year-old son, Rodney, in an October 2008 car accident. According to the STANDD website, “speed, music, and texting” all played factors in the fatal crash.

She believes that being a part of the World Challenge family has been important in helping spread her group’s message.

“We have really enjoyed being a part of Duncan’s racing program, and being a part of World Challenge this year has been incredible for STANDD,” said Thompson. “We’ve felt really welcomed and embraced by World Challenge and GMG Racing, and we’ve been really successful in spreading our message this year.

“At Long Beach, we had the highest amount of sign-ups for an event that we’ve ever had. We are incredibly happy and proud to see the STANDD logo on the front of the beautiful Audi R8 that Duncan is racing this year.”

In addition to their efforts in World Challenge, STANDD has released an Android app that can reduce the risk of distracted driving by automatically sending a text message response if the phone is in a moving car. An iPhone version of the app will be available at the end of this month.

The Pirelli World Challenge’s next race weekend is July 4-6 at Lime Rock Park. NBC Sports Network will televise the race on Saturday, July 20, at 4 pm ET.

Have a decent tax refund coming? Buy Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco-winning car

Photos courtesy Bonhams
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Are you expecting a better than normal tax refund? Did you get a very nice bonus from your company due to the new tax cut?

Well, if you have a good chunk of change hanging around and potentially can be in Monaco on May 11, you can have a chance to bid on the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that the late Ayrton Senna drove in — and won — that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

We’re not just talking about any race winner. It’s also the same car Senna won his sixth Monaco Grand Prix, and the chassis bears the number six.

It’s also the same car Senna piloted to that season’s F1 championship (his third and final title before sadly being killed the next year) and is the first McLaren driven by Senna that’s ever been sold or put up for auction.

The famed Bonhams auction house is overseeing the sale of the car.

“Any Grand Prix-winning car is important, but to have the golden combination of both Senna and Monaco is a seriously rare privilege indeed,” Bonhams global head of motorsport, Mark Osborne, told The Robb Report.

“Senna and Monaco are historically intertwined, and this car represents the culmination of his achievements at the Monegasque track. This is one of the most significant Grand Prix cars ever to appear at auction, and is certainly the most significant Grand Prix car to be offered since the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196R, which sold for a world record at auction.”

How much might you need? You might want to get a couple of friends to throw in a few bucks as well.

“We expect the car to achieve a considerable seven-figure sum,” Osborne said.

The London newspaper “The Telegraph” predicts the car will sell in the $6.1 million range.”

“This car will set the world record for a Senna car at auction,” Osborne said. “We are as certain as you can be in the auction world.”

While you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive before the auction, it’ll be ready to roar once you pay the price.

“In theory, the buyer could be racing immediately upon receipt of the cleared funds after the auction,” Osborne said. “All systems are primed and ready.”