Nick Galante scores two wins from three Sports Car Canada Championship races as the team brought Alzheimer’s awareness to the Honda Indy Toronto
TORONTO (19 July 2023) – The Racing to End Alzheimer’s team with VPX Motorsport captured two victories and a second-place finish in three Sports Car Championship Canada races at the Honda Indy last weekend, with driver Nick Galante putting down three solid drives in his first-ever street course races.
But just as important as the racing was the message the team brought to Toronto, as 24 Canadians took the opportunity to honor loved ones who have suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease by putting their names on the No. 77 Mercedes AMG GT4. The Ontario-based donations combined with existing donations brought the number of names on the car to 150
“We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto as our charity partner for our racing adventure in Canada,” said Racing to End Alzheimer’s founder Phil Frengs. “Their mission and vision align with that of Racing to End Alzheimer’s. To be able to have success on track, to meet so many wonderful donors and to leave behind something important – funding for the Society – is rewarding. Nick and I will never forget our wonderful weekend in Toronto.”
For a $250 donation, each family member’s name and hometown was placed on the car, with all donations for the Toronto weekend matched by Legistics (Phil Frengs), VPX Motorsport (Vince Partap, M.D.) and series owner FEL Motorsports (in the name of Barbara Glover), which meant that a $250 donation became $1000. The donation amount to the Alzheimer Society of Toronto totaled $24,000 as of this date.
“The Alzheimer Society of Toronto is grateful for the generous support of the Racing to End Alzheimer’s team,” said Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s Individual and Community Giving Associate Veronica De Filippis. “The funds raised go directly to support the free programs and services we offer to people living with dementia and their care partners. We want to make sure everyone touched by this disease knows they are not alone and has the resources they need to thrive. By sharing personal stories with the media and bringing attention to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, Legistics, VPX Motorsport and FEL Motorsports, have truly made a difference in our ability to reach new communities! Support like this helps break down stigma, create safe spaces to talk about dementia and raise awareness. We are also thankful for the generous supporters in Toronto who donated and had their loved one’s names put on the car and supported the Alzheimer Society. Thank you to all the partners for creating this once in a lifetime opportunity!”
The Racing to End Alzheimer’s team told their story throughout the week, with both Frengs and Galante doing interviews on television channels CP24 and CTV to talk about the program. Frengs and Galante, and VPX Motorsport owner Dr. Vince Partap, spoke with numerous fans at the familiar purple table next to the VPX transporter, handing out wristbands and encouraging fans to join the fight via a QR code that led directly to the donation page (r2endalz.org/alz-to/)
Doing his part to bring attention to the bright purple Mercedes, Galante got off to a flying start to the weekend on Friday. On paper, it looked like the most daunting of tasks for the Californian: literally come to grips with his first street course AND get up to speed fast enough to qualify well for race one. Galante not only did that, but he also paced much of the session on the GT4 pole. Dealing with rising tire pressures late, Galante set a solid time that placed him third on the starting grid.
Galante wasted no time at the drop of the green in Saturday morning’s race one, making a move for second in turn one and taking the lead just before the midway point – and just before a yellow flag for two TCR cars that hit hard into the barrier in turn 11. After a lengthy caution to work on the barrier, the race returned to green but Galante powered away and held off his competition to take the win.
In race two that afternoon, Galante got a great launch at the start and drove into the lead in turn one. But Jack Polito stapled himself to Galante’s bumper and with 30 minutes remaining, took the inside in turn one to try to make the pass. Polito drifted out off the curb, catching Galante’s left rear and sending him spinning. Galante kept it off the wall and quickly returned to the fray, albeit in third. Coming back from a yellow, Galante took the inside of Demi Chalkias for second position, with a late caution eliminating the chance to retake the lead.
Galante remedied that situation for Sunday’s race three, held just before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ Honda Indy Toronto. Taking the green from pole, he held off the surging Polito in the late stages to capture a hard-fought second win on the weekend.
But for an emotional Galante, bringing the team’s message of Alzheimer’s awareness meant just as much as the victories.
“I knew I might have a chance to do well this weekend, but that car and this VPX team, including engineer Alex Ellis – unbelievable,” said Galante. “Today’s race was tough, with that Mustang (of Jack Polito) a bit quicker on the straights. I focused on attacking every turn and found the speed I needed. That last lap, I focused on just doing a qualifying lap to keep him behind me, and I did.
“Hats off to Phil and everyone with the Racing to End Alzheimer’s. Just having the power of all those people on the car, and thousands of family members cheering us on, it’s absolutely heartfelt. It’s been great to work with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. They responded to us with open arms and that’s what it takes to really make a difference. It’s been a great weekend, talking to all the fans about what they can do to help – I just love Toronto, I hope I can race here again!”
Next up for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s team will be the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America doubleheader as part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race weekend at Road America, July 27-29. Race one takes the green flag Friday, July 28 at 2:55 p.m. EDT, with race two Saturday at 12:15 p.m. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S., on IMSA.tv, the NBC Peacock streaming app and PorscheCarreraCup.us.
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 organizations the team supports.