News / Asia

China Auto Racing Team Promotes Children's Charity

Sunny Wong in the PS Racing car, with ChildFund International decals behind, Sept. 15, 2013.
Sunny Wong in the PS Racing car, with ChildFund International decals behind, Sept. 15, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Marianne Brown
— In China’s auto racing circuit, drivers can spend thousands of dollars for just one day of competition on the track. It is an unlikely place to find a children’s charity, but in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, one driver is making an effort to raise support for disadvantaged kids.
 
Driver and coach Pete Olson suggested the idea of advertising the ChildFund International logo on helmets and cars to the owners of his team, PS Racing, after supporting the charity in the United States.
 
The team donates money, and so far Olson has persuaded three so-called “gentlemen drivers,” for whom racing is just a hobby, to sponsor a child through ChildFund International.
 
“I just wrote them directly I said ‘hey, why don’t you guys sign up, come on, I know you guys spend thousands of dollars every time you smash your cars and laugh it off and stuff. I said it’s like 25 bucks a month, come on that’s nothing,” said Olson, describing his efforts to recruit other drivers.
 
The professional racing circuit in China has been slow to take off. The Chinese Grand Prix opened in 2004, but so far it has struggled to attract spectators, a problem critics blame on high ticket prices.
 
However, China is home to exponential growth in the automobile market, says Jim Moore, general manager of Quandarium, specialists in the automotive aftermarket.
 
Moore travels to China regularly to represent U.S. brands and says the Chinese market is changing rapidly.
 
“This is a culture that 15 years ago nobody dreamed of owning a car, and in that time period everybody has a car so it’s come that far that fast. Now that everyone has one they want it to be different from everybody else’s,” said Moore.
 
With accelerating private car ownership in China, auto industry sponsors are trying to promote their brands and products through the racing series. As the sport grows, Moore explains, it is still funded in part from second generation Chinese business people.
 
“Their parents built factories and sold products all over the world and made lots of money, and now their kids are off spending that money. Motorsports has become a pretty popular hobby for a select few of that group,” Moore said.
 
Olson admits that it is difficult to sell the idea of sponsoring a child to drivers from mainland China because, he says, the concept of donating money to charity is still very new.
 
Sunny Wong says he thinks promoting the cause through racing will attract more attention from wealthy businessmen like himself. He works in real estate in Hong Kong and started racing four years ago. He is part of the team that now sponsors a child through ChildFund International.
 
“I think it’s always good to have good exposure [to] such an audience, and… racing is a different audience for normal organizations like ChildFund International… I think it’s a new niche that they are being exposed to,” said Wong.
 
The positive exposure that ChildFund International receives through the team is reciprocal. Olson says he thinks PS Racing has received more coverage on national television and newspapers because of the connection to the charity.
 
 “They will post more pictures of my car and in all the media they mention ChildFund International car. The promoter thinks it looks nice for the series… it adds more of an angle to the racing,” said Olson.
 
Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
x
Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
Olson says he was drawn to ChildFund International because his mother could not afford to raise him and gave him up for adoption when he was a child.
 
“I got adopted by a Harvard lawyer so I lucked out. So there are many, many times in my life that I thought I’m very lucky to have had my education, private schools and everything and the racing, especially when I was just getting started,” said Olson.
 
He says if he had not been adopted he would not be living the life he is now. He says he wants to encourage privileged people like himself to give something back.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid