FULLERTON, Calif. (April 18, 2008) — Yokohama Tire Corp. and Warner Brothers Pictures (WB) have teamed up to bring a bit of the upcoming Speed Racer movie to motorsports fans early.
The Fullerton-based tire firm will sponsor a Mazda LMP2 race car at two upcoming competitions—the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19 and the Grand Prix of Utah on May 18. The car will be designed based on the WB film, which is set to be released May 9.
The car's number will be changed to 5 from 8 exclusively for the races, a tribute to the Speed Racer “Mach 5” car, and will feature logos from the movie as well as an “M” on the hood. Drivers Ben Devlin and Gerardo Bonilla will wear Speed Racer-inspired suits, as will the team's crew, Yokohama said.
“This is a special opportunity to link Yokohama's motorsports efforts with the promotion of a major motion picture like Speed Racer,” said Fred Koplin, Yokohama director of marketing communications. “Away from the racetrack, there is presence with a national television campaign and in-store promotions with Advantage Yokohama Associate Dealers.”
Stars from the movie, Matthew Fox and Emile Hirsch, will attend the Long Beach race as co-grand marshals and will give the start command to the drivers. The pair—along with fellow cast members Christina Ricci, John Goodman and Susan Sarandon—will sign the driving suits, which will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.