On the heels of a decision to cancel the 2020 Race of Remembrance at Anglesey Circuit, UK due to COVID-19, Operation eMotorsport has decided this event must live on even during a pandemic, so we will be hosting an iRacing virtual 6 hr iRace of Remembrance 2020 edition from virtual Sebring, FL on Sunday November 8th.
The intent of the event is to bring together as many of the beneficiaries, veterans, military members, race car drivers/crew members, and other supporters/fans that have, or would have participated in Race of Remembrance, in a friendly virtual sports car racing environment on Remembrance Sunday. We will red flag the event at 11:00 am for a remembrance service and a minute of silence to honor service and those who have given everything.
The event will run in EST and therefore not interfere with Remembrance Sunday services in the UK, allowing anyone in the UK to participate.
This is a 6-hr multi-class / multi-driver virtual endurance sportscar event with max / min drive times using the Porsche Cayman GT4 & BMW M4 GT4 on the iRacing platform at the iconic Hendricks Field.
RECARO will continue to support approved Operation Motorsport beneficiaries in the Operation eMotorsport iRacing program by covering the initial 3-month iRacing subscription, track, and car cost.
Open Practice: 7:00 am
Mandatory Driver’s Meeting: 8:15 am
Open Qualifying: 8:30 am
Green Flag: 9:00 am
Red Flag: 10:55 am
iRoR Service: 11:00 am
Green Flag: 11:10 am
Checkered Flag: 3:15 pm
YouTube Live Stream
More details and entry forms coming soon
To register individually or as a team, volunteer or queries please contact;
Race Director - Jason Leach
Read the whole story
In 2019, Operation Motorsport began to focus on and educate supporters on the importance of the number "22" within the military community. On average, 22 service members and/or veterans from North America die from suicide each day.
Join Operation Motorsport for "A 30-day journey through suicide prevention month". Follow us each day this month on our social media channels as we journey from a veteran's perspective towards suicide, why we lose 22 a day and how we can prevent it so that we can break the stigma.
Congratulations to Chris Walsh for the overall win, Adam Poppenhaus for the Beneficiary Class win, and Dustin Burkhalter for the Open Class win at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
CrowdStrike is upping its commitment to military veterans with plans for long-term support of Operation Motorsport – a key program within racing that aids service members as they transition into the civilian workplace.
A pair of military veterans – Staff Sgt. Chad Failing (Ret.) and Staff Sgt. William Babineau (Ret.) – will be part of the CrowdStrike Racing crew on Kevin Boehm’s No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Honda Performance Development (HPD) Civic Si effort for the remaining 2020 rounds of the Touring Car America (TCA) class, a companion series to GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS in SRO Motorsports America.
CrowdStrike is the Official Internet and Cloud Security provider for GT World Challenge and has helped organize the placement of veterans in its racing programs during the last three years.
Operation Motorsport is one of many veteran programs that CrowdStrike supports corporately. It is active in many avenues of placing veterans in employment opportunities with the aim of helping service members integrate into private workplaces.
Read the whole story and see more pics here
It is not often these days that anyone is sharing milestones, firsts, or setting a new benchmark, but we at Operation Motorsport have three to share from the last week.
1. On Tuesday evening the vision of adding a virtual iRacing League to our Excite Diversionary Therapy Program became a reality and an instant hit. Supported by RECARO Automotive the idea is to provide an outlet to beneficiaries, a place to include volunteers and supporters, and provide an informative and entertaining platform that allows us to showcase our programs and opportunities to potential beneficiaries and supports.
19 competitors, in 3 classes, took the green flag at VIR, with Pit Stop TV providing the commentary for the 60 minute sprint race that saw Daniel Morad go wheel to wheel, trading paint with active Air Force Major Chris Walsh for much of the 60 minute sprint race. (results and more below)
2. From the very first partnership discussions in 2017 with Travis and Trevor Hill, team principles at TWOth Auto sport, the vision has always been to mentor, teach, coach, and develop those beneficiaries with the right skill sets, through the Engage Program, into an autonomous crew for a professional TWOth race entry.
This past weekend at Shannonville Motorsports Park in Ontario Canada, that vision finally took shape. OpMo beneficiaries filled all essential roles on the TWOth Autosport supported Tomlinson Racing Audi TCR entry into rounds 3 & 4 of the CTCC Championship, including Race Engineer, crew, hospitality, photo, and coordinator....... and the bonus was a podium finish for driver Ron Tomlinson.
3. In early 2020 Team Hardpoint Team Principle US Marine Corps veteran Rob Ferriol connected with OpMo. Team Hardpoint could be the right fit as a team partner for beneficiaries in the Motorsports Immersion Program and the plan was to use the 12 hours of Sebring as the entry point....... and then COVID-19 happened....... fast forward 6 months and that opportunity has come back around this weekend at VIR. Although there are new challenges, that long awaited next step is happening with OpMo Beneficiary Trustee CW3 (retd) DeWayne Crawford (Crawdaddy). Things are starting to look up in 2020, let's keep the good vibes going.
– Operation Motorsport partner and supporter RECARO Automotive is extending its relationship with the Foundation to it’s eMotorsports Diversionary Therapy Program by being named the entitlement sponsor of its officially sanctioned iRacing League, kicking off an 8 race series on Aug 18th.
In the past year RECARO Automotive has provided all of Operation Motorsport’s racing seat requirements, including the 2019 12 hr Race of Remembrance entry at Anglesey Circuit, Wales, UK and the TWOth Autosport Driver Development Mazda Miatas.
“It has been a great honor to support Operation Motorsport,” said Jim Koelzer, Vice President of North America at RECARO Automotive. “RECARO Automotive supports our brave men and women in service and we want to be a part of a partnership that helps to create that team environment that can lead to their recovery.”
RECARO Automotive is providing the League financial support to cover the participation costs to Operation Motorsport beneficiary iRacing memberships and associated League expenses. RECARO will also be donating various event prizes and a TBA championship prize to the Beneficiary Champion on Oct 27th.
“We are in the middle of a very challenging year that has made delivering in person recovery program opportunities for ill, injured & wounded service members and disabled veterans through motorsports nearly impossible, early on we felt that we would have to re-imagine the delivery of our programs,” founder and CEO Diezel Lodder said. “It’s exciting now, having this new virtual Diversionary Therapy tool that allows us to connect with beneficiaries in real time and not jeopardize their health and safety. RECARO Automotive has really stepped up in their commitment to continue to support our brave men and women.”
Live race broadcasts will return to the Operation Motorsport YouTube channel with the addition of Pit Stop TV to the broadcasting line up. Pit Stop TV will provide a turnkey broadcast solution that will add a professional live race feel, marketing options for partners and on-air interviews.
The eMotorsport League’s first series will see 8 races on select Tuesday evenings. The race locations / tracks will align with SRO and IMSA events happening the following weekend. This will allow participating promoters to give back to the veteran community and promote their race event through the active service and veteran channels. The first race will take place virtually from VIRginia International Raceway.
Our first 2020 Motorsports Immersion event in Canada is completed and our beneficiaries were glad to get back to the track with their team, returning to a little more "new normal" with their race family at TWOth Autosport, in the familiar surroundings of Canadian Tire Motorsports Park...........with a whole lot less people, but all in all it was a resounding success.
Thank you Travis, Trevor, Jenna Hill and the rest of the TWOth team for your efforts in bringing Theo and Dale back into the fold.
We are excited to welcome RECARO to our iRacing League which kicks off in a little over 2 weeks. Expanding our partnership with RECARO who will help us make this form of Diversionary Therapy available to any beneficiary who wants to participate in our 8 race virtual racing league.
After a successful initial foray into virtual racing with an exploratory 6 race iRacing series, we are pleased to share that we have added eMotorsport into our Diversionary Therapy Program and eMotorsport will become a gateway into a yet to be formally announced Driver Development Program.
This is a great way to introduce service members and veterans to our Foundation and involve our volunteers and supporting motorsports professionals. The Operation eMotorsport iRacing League will be kicking off on Aug 18 with a 60 minute sprint race from VIRginia International Raceway and we still have space available for interested drivers.
This will be a single make series (Mazda MX-5 Global Cup) with 3 classes of drivers, OpMo Beneficiary class, Open class, Pro class.
In the coming days and weeks we will be making exciting announcements about the League rules & regulations, point system, individual event prizes and championship end of season prizes awarded by class.
If you know a medically transitioning military member or veteran that might be interested in our programs please encourage them to apply or contact us directly.
SRO Motorsports America has announced its support of the Operation Motorsport Program Foundation and its mission to aid the recovery and rehabilitation of American and Canadian service members and veterans. Staff from both organizations will work to increase the awareness of the Foundation via the GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, GT Sports Club, Pirelli GT4 America and TC America series.
Operation Motorsport is a not for profit charity that serves American and Canadian service members and veterans and was founded on the basis of three simple words: excite, engage and empower. The premise is to engage ill and injured Service Members and veterans affected by military service, through motorsport activities to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation. The Foundation recently received its formal 501(c)3 charity status approval.
“Using motorsports to aid in the recovery of our ill, injured and wounded service members and veterans, Operation Motorsport creates opportunities for former soldiers to participate side-by-side with professional race team members in actual championship races,” said Diezel Lodder, Founder & CEO, Operation Motorsport. “Over the past three years, Operation Motorsport launched its efforts to use sports car racing to heal our wounded veterans. This new SRO Motorsports Group America partnership ensures a stable future for our organization that seeks to deliver recoveries for men and women whose sacrifices for their countries cannot be measured.”
The SRO Motorsports America 2020 season kicks off at The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, March 6-8. For more information visit sro-america.com.
“It’s extremely important that we do our part to help the recovery of the brave women and men who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and way of life,” said SRO Motorsports America President and CEO, Greg Gill.
In 2019, Operation Motorsport began to focus on and educate supporters on the importance of the number "22" within the military community. On average, 22 service members and/or veterans from North America die from suicide each day.
Suicide is preventable and effects all aspects of our society regardless of economic or demographic background. Amongst our military and veteran population, the impact of suicide and suicidal thoughts and behaviors is even greater. It impacts military readiness, morale, family cohesiveness, and our ability to defend our way of life. The number of suicides is disproportionately higher within our veteran population than the civilian population with the highest percentage amongst the 18-39 age bracket. Based on 2017 data, the average number of suicides per 100,000 persons within the US population was 17 while the average per 100,000 veterans was 31.
When I'm in a race car, I'm the creator of my own destiny. “ That which you manifest is before you.” Create your own conditions, and rain is just rain.' - Denny Swift (The Art of Racing in the Rain)
Veterans can be an inspiration to people all over the world from different walks of life and to people in many different professions. They inspire from heroic acts performed by a single individual or to how they work as a team with little in common to overcome what ever obstacle in in their way.
They seem to thrive working, playing or even healing as a team. Teamwork can be anything from a fire team putting artillery on target, two veteran students working on a college project or a professional motorsports team striving to win an endurance race while providing an outlet and a means for an injured veteran to recover.
During the first big race weekend of the year at Daytona International Speedway that is exactly what happened. Members of the Operation Motorsport family worked side by side with race teams that took part in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Endurance Race as well as the 58th running Rolex 24 Hour Endurance Race. The way these races ended have similarities to how some of our veterans feel, sometime landing on their head and other times finishing in first place. We can tell you stories of what we see and how we think the beneficiaries feel, but it truly is best coming right from the veterans themselves.
#81 TWOth Autosport Race Engineer
Lieutenant (Ret) Theo Bruulsema
Going to the Daytona 24 is always an incredible experience! This year I was fortunate to continue working with TWOth, as well as the Bestline team in a joint Canadian effort. The teamwork and intense competition each weekend provides is addictive, building you up and grabbing your full attention, and even more so with such a prestigious race. The result is a perfect start to 2020!
After the bugle stops playing, that magical feeling of a podium finish fades, all the hugs good bye and tears are wiped away, what is left is reflecting on a journey. A journey of recovery for those affected by service. One that often starts with a leap of faith for many and one that is not defined by an end or conclusion, but is defined by the journey itself. After all this is about recovery, and each beneficiaries story is unique and personal. What is not unique is that although they have all returned to daily life, the struggles are still real and not over. What makes this journey unique is that we are all part of a larger extended family, one that reaches way past the race weekends and all of the shiny bits, one that sees them looking out for each other and looking forward to reuniting somewhere down the road. For everyone that has supported this effort in any way, thank you .
I don't post much about my life on social media like some do, I have, but not lately..... no food pics, no political posts, no criticism of others, no bullshit. But today I want to post about some of the great people I have in my life and what they have done for me.
I haven't worn my medals on a Remembrance Day parade in over 10 years, for my own reasons......but this year was different. I had "family" surrounding me and helping me through, what was a very emotional event. Not just any parade, but a Remembrance Day parade in Angelsy, Wales as I participated in the Race of Remembrance .
Last year they helped me through the parade, this year they convinced me to be proud of my military accomplishments and to be proud of my medals as well.........
Thank you and much love goes out to my "family" at Operation Motorsport .
The Operation Motorsport team brought the #22 car to their best finish yet. After being as far back as 29th the OpMo beneficiaries from Canada and the U.S. battled their way back through the field. Just as Soldiers on the battlefield OpMo took its time to strategically work its way through the field with perfectly timed pit stops and driver changes. The final result happened on the last lap of the race.
A 12 hour Motorsport Endurance Race in support of ill, injured, and wounded service members, in Anglesey, Wales, UK with a difference, a Remembrance Day service bang in the middle of it................
Operation Motorsport made it’s final 2019 appearance at GT World Challenge at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. What started out, at VIR in April, as a collaborative cooperation with the series, has quickly become a regular stop for beneficiaries in 2019. As Operation Motorsport witnessed a genuine desire by teams to participate in the programs and the willingness by teams to welcome and immerse beneficiaries to the limit of their abilities. The only restrictive factor in program growth and delivery was a self imposed limit in order to maintain the highest level of recovery programs opportunities. After a very positive and productive full season, plans are underway for bigger and better start to 2020 at the first GT event at CTMP.
Operation Motorsport is celebrating a successful year of helping injured and wounded service members become ingrained in the motorsport community after the IMSA season finale at Petit Le Mans this past weekend.
While we have enjoyed helping our beneficiaries this year through our Excite, Engage and Empower program, we are also sad the 2019 racing season has come to an end and will be saying goodbye to some them and our partner teams until the 2020 IMSA season picks back up in January.
Operation Motorsport convened once again to unite disabled veterans and wounded warriors at Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Virginia, for the Michelin GT Challenge from Aug. 23-25, 2019. Participants had the opportunity to work with well-established teams and gain hands-on experience in all areas of a race teams operations including working directly with the vehicles, hospitality, and media operations.
The USO of NC was there to support us at our first event at VIR, and has continued to provide immeasurable support through the years as we work together providing recovery paths for our beneficiaries and their pathfinder clients.
This year they saw them step it up by bringing their mobile unit and Bob was an amazing ambassador to all who connected up with him.
The boots on the ground so to speak, LaTonia and Talia, both Pathfinder's from the USO were brand new to the racing scene, and certainly were great sports about the entire four days!
From endless bumpy golf carts rides, long hot days, and being fed through a firehose about sportscar racing, these two were troopers. And they understand, they get it now how motorports is a vehicle for recovery. It's a different path that we can show to those individuals that are still wondering how they fit in. We're all misfits of one kind or another, but in motorsports, we fit it.
For Tiffany Lodder, Executive Director of Operation Motorsport, the events themselves aren’t her favorite part. “It’s the 24-48 hours after the event starts, when you can see the changes in them” said Lodder. It’s Monday morning or Wednesday afternoon. It’s not a one-time thing for me. It’s the relationships and friendships that we’ve built and the futures we’ve helped show them that are there.”
As we recently Celebrated the Birthdays of Our Nations Connecting Injured Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen To Motorsports Opportunities, we also quietly celebrated our second anniversary and let out a very quiet sigh of reflection.
We couldn't do any of this without lots and lots of support.......... the support of the volunteers, donors, teams, sponsors and the beneficiaries that place their trust in the programs. In the last year we have delivered;
Operation Motorsport once again partnered with a number of IMSA race teams at both Watkins Glen International, NY, and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, ON, on the two weekends that bookend the 1st of July Canada & July 4th USA birthday holidays, providing opportunities to 9 medically releasing or released Canadian and US service members.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, 19 May 2019;
Operation Motorsport has successfully completely it's first Canadian Excite / Engage event for 2019, making a return to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Victoria Day Speedfest with our Motorsports Operations Partner TWOth Autosport and a number of old and new teams in Blancpain GT World Challenge America.
As Travis Hill, TWOth Princple and driver of the #26 Shopify Audi RS3 LMS,said after the weekend event, " #OneAtATime we’re building a family. It’s such an honour to be working shoulder to shoulder with our military beneficiaries at Operation Motorsport. We’re thrilled to announce that our partnership will extend through the entire 2019 season in the Canadian Touring Car Championship, featuring medically discharged veterans on all 3 of our @audicanada RS3 LMS race cars!"
This also marked a return to a team environment for recently medically released Canadian Army Veteran, Corporal Chuck Blecker. Chuck was serving as an Army Vehicle Technician in Shilo Manitoba when he received a traumatic brain injury. This all happened very quickly for Chuck and his wife Robin, who commented on his return home after the weekend with TWOth, "He has not stopped talking. There’s a spark that I haven’t seen in a long time! He’s sore and exhausted, but excited to be a part of the team! I really just wanted you to know that what you do is not “just racing”. What you do matters. You’ve brought my husband a sense of dignity and purpose, THAT matters.
Hear this loudly: WHAT YOU’RE DOING MATTERS!!"
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/
Returning to the Anglesey circuit, the 2018 Race of Remembrance commemorated the sacrifices made by service personnel and their families. This unique endurance race features a Heroes dinner, night racing, and atrack-side service of Remembrance. In true Mission Motorsport style, the weekend is about more than just the racing. The off track action means a great social weekend at the end of the season, while on track there is a unique interruption to an endurance Motorsport event. At 10.45 on Sunday morning, the track will fall silent as the race pauses to hold a service of Remembrance, which this year falls on the 100th anniversary of the Great War armistice.
This is our story...........
As everyone in motorsports knows, every event contains a lot of moving parts; race cars, people, accommodations, meals, transportation, etc. Add into that mix nine wounded soldiers and medically released veterans, all with their own specific physical and mental health needs who haven’t all met each other, a race car that needs to be acquired and then outfitted with a sequential gear box so our wounded veteran can drive it. Bundle that all together, and it’s almost a hot mess. Consider that all nine beneficiaries don’t know each other, the OpMo support personnel are also strangers, throw them all on planes departing from locations all over North America to arrive in London for on the of the greatest endurance races in Britain. Let the adventure begin!
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Operation Motorsport empowers disabled veterans through their post-service lives by welcoming them onto racing teams to drive cars and work on pit crews.