12 November 2015 — Earlier this week, the final bid was made as the Justin Wilson Memorial Auction came to a close.
With a collaboration that included eBay, the Graham Rahal Foundation, and Auction Cause, as well as the tireless efforts of groups and individuals to maximize the success of the auction, the effort was an apt reflection of the wide respect and admiration earned by Verizon IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson, who lost his life in August. The funds from the effort will go to help the Wilson Children’s Fund (wilsonchildrensfund.com).
Easygoing and kind with a fast smile off the track, but with a decisive instinct on it, Wilson generated reverence by his fans and competitors alike. Wilson was also an active supporter of dyslexia awareness, and was part of a campaign on behalf of the Indiana Dyslexic Institute of Indiana (www.diin.org
The auction was initiated by fellow Verizon IndyCar Series pilot Graham Rahal, who collaborated with eBay and Auction Cause to eliminate the traditional seller fees to make the auction more effective for fundraising. The initial round of items included the race-worn helmets of the 2015 Sonoma Raceway Verizon IndyCar Series field.
The two highest-earning items were both from champions as 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Winner Scott Dixon’s Race Worn & Signed Helmet fetched $18,200, while the newly-crowned three-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton-signed Mercedes AMG PETRONAS race-worn suit earned $16,100.
Over 50 different organizations stepped up to donate a range of items including custom-made cufflinks, one of a kind VIP race experiences, and highly sought-after race memorabilia. Auction Cause played a key role in accepting, inventorying, photographing, and preparing the items for sale and shipping.
A total of 509 different items were sold to raise a total of $546,967.49. The auction also generated significant and active bidding interest, with some 13,000 different bids. Additionally, private auctions of the helmets of Graham Rahal and Wilson teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, as well as a private auction facilitated by Will Buxton, moved the total amount raised to $637,067.94.
“It’s hard to know exactly the right words to use in a situation like this when ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem quite adequate,” Stefan Wilson said. “It’s obviously been a difficult few months for all of Justin’s family, friends, and his fans. Everyone’s support throughout has been incredible. There were so many unique and extraordinary items that were donated. I feel so grateful and a bit guilty at times that people were giving up items that were clearly precious keepsakes to raise money for Justin’s wife Julia and his daughters Jane and Jess.
“I also want to acknowledge and thank the many people who played a role in setting up and running the auction. Obviously Graham Rahal and his foundation deserve a lot of praise, but also eBay, Auction Cause, Heather Carpenter, Liz Power, Alexander Wurz, Allan McNish, Marino Franchitti, Will Buxton, Leigh Diffey, and many, many others who contributed so much time and effort.
“Items such as Patsy White’s signed Greg Moore memorabilia, a Dan Wheldon race-worn helmet, the pieces of bodywork from sports car teams like Scuderia Corsa and Audi Sport. Also, all the IndyCar drivers who donated their helmets, all the Formula 1 teams that helped, and everyone who donated items, whether they were large or small, we are just incredibly grateful.”
The Wilson Children’s Fund would like to thank the individuals, teams, groups, and families that donated their time, dearly-held items, and effort for the Justin Wilson Memorial Auction.