HERNDON, Va., Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Audi, in conjunction with Best Buddies International, today announced their participation in this year's Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle on September 10, a charity bicycle ride, walk and run, along the Pacific Coast Highway. More than 1,500 people are expected to participate in the Challenge, which benefits Best Buddies' powerful mission: create opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
For the fifth year in a row, Audi will proudly join Best Buddies International as the event's Title Sponsor and the Official Vehicle in what has become one of the organization's key fundraising initiatives. This year's event will bring together athletes, dignitaries, actors and supporters working to beat last year's fundraising record of nearly $4 million in total donations for Best Buddies International.
The event will kick off with the brand-new Best Buddies Golf Challenge at the legendary Tehama Golf Club in Carmel on Friday, September 9, where Best Buddies participants will tee-off alongside celebrities, professional athletes and special guests.
The next day's 100-mile bike ride will start at Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel and end at the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon where post-ride celebrations will include a private concert by the band Smash Mouth. There are also alternate 62, 30 and 15-mile bike routes, as well as a 5K run/3K walk. Author, journalist and activist Maria Shriver and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, and are expected to be joined by actors Harry Hamlin and Verne Troyer; actresses Teri Hatcher, Cheryl Hines, Kelly Hu, Lauren Potter, and Lisa Rinna, Olympic gold-medalist Carl Lewis and television personality Nancy O'Dell.
This year, there will be a special Friendship Race in honor of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver called the Family Challenge, during which participants will be invited to compete with their mothers and fathers for gold, silver and bronze medals. All celebrities will be encouraged to compete in Friendship Races on tandem bicycles.
"Through our partnership with Best Buddies International, we have learned the importance of these critical fundraising programs that directly impact the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities," said Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America. "Audi is honored to once again be a part of a winning team that has raised $40 million for an important cause."
The Audi R8 Spyder and all-new 2012 Audi A6 will travel along the Pacific Coast Highway, serving as the official pace cars for the riders. The distinctive design, technology and balanced performance of the all-new A6 invigorate the mid-sized luxury sedan segment, and the powerful, head-turning R8 Spyder was recently named "Best Dream Machine" by MotorWeek. In addition, 'Team Audi,' composed of 57 Audi employees, dealers and agencies, will participate in the Challenge, and has raised over US $71,000 to support the corporate contributions.
"Best Buddies is incredibly grateful for Audi's strong continual support," said Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International. "Since first announcing our partnership with Audi in 2007, we have built a solid, long-lasting friendship. Audi's contributions go beyond the financial ones, as the company has also hired a Best Buddies participant with an intellectual disability to work at its headquarters, and done a tremendous job of encouraging all of its employees to truly engage with our mission. I sincerely hope that their incredible generosity will inspire other companies to do the same."
ABOUT BEST BUDDIES INTERNATIONAL
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies' seven formal programs – Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Ambassadors – engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. During 2010 Audi was the top performing luxury brand in Europe, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Over the next few years, AUDI AG will invest nearly $16 billion on new products and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.
SOURCE Audi of America, Inc.