Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH), the parent company that hosts SpeedTour events, is planning a special celebration of women in motorsports during the upcoming VIR Gold Cup SpeedTour weekend, October 5-8.
Held at VIRginia International Raceway, the weekend will feature Lyn St. James as Grand Marshal, a fundraising dinner benefiting Women in Motorsports North America and a panel discussion featuring five women whose varying roles will each play an integral part in the success of the VIR Gold Cup SpeedTour event.
“I’m proud to host this celebration of women in motorsports during our VIR Gold Cup SpeedTour event,” said Tony Parella, CEO of PMH. “It is an opportunity to recognize all the women who contribute to the success of motorsports. The women on PMH’s staff have played an integral role in advancing our company and getting us to where we are today. I’m a huge advocate for creating a more inclusive paddock and environment. With everything we have planned at VIR, I know it’s going to be a very special weekend.”
As Grand Marshal, St. James will throw the green flag for the start of Saturday’s Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli race. The veteran of 53 Trans Am starts, she earned seven top-five Trans Am finishes and several IMSA GT wins. Also an endurance driver, she won the 24 Hours of Daytona twice, won the 12 Hours of Sebring, raced twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and once at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. She earned the 1992 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year title and competed in seven Indy 500s and 15 IndyCar races. She set 21 national and international speed records and was named one of the “Top 100 Female Athletes of the Century” by Sports Illustrated.
St. James will be available to meet fans and sign autographs during the weekend, including an autograph session at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 7 at the Petty’s Garage display.
“I’m a huge fan of what Tony Parella has done with SVRA and have watched how he’s expanded the race events to include Trans Am, Formula 4, Formula Regional Americas and so many other exciting forms of racing,” said St. James.
“The support he’s given to talented young racers through his Diversity Scholarships is an example of how he gives back to the sport he loves. I’m really looking forward to being the Grand Marshal. While I never raced at VIR, it’s one of the most popular race tracks in the U.S. and it will be super fun to be there and celebrate the many great women in motorsports, whether as drivers, team owners, crew members, officials, volunteers, race fans or leaders, like track owner Connie Nyholm.”
A long-time advocate for women’s racing involvement, St. James is the Co-Founder of Women in Motorsports North America (WIMNA), an organization devoted to supporting opportunities for women across all disciplines of motorsport. With a community of professionals championing the cause, WIMNA looks to create an inclusive, resourceful environment that fosters mentorship, advocacy, education and growth, while ensuring the continued strength and successful future of motorsport. Proceeds from Saturday’s fundraising dinner will support WIMNA and its mission.
Supporters at Saturday’s dinner will also enjoy a special panel discussion about the journey of five women that have forged diverse careers in motorsports. Moderated by St. James, the panel will be composed of Connie Nyholm, Owner and CEO of VIRginia International Raceway, Teena Larson, Co-Owner of Formula 4 United States Championship and Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda team Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport, Michele Abbate, Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series driver and 2023 recipient of the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship, and Kim Parella, General Manager of Parella Motorsports Holdings.
The VIR Gold Cup SpeedTour is scheduled for October 5-8 at VIRginia International Raceway. Featuring racing from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli, International GT, Prototype Sprint Series Association presented by Hankook, Formula 4 United States Championship and Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda, tickets are available at VIRnow.com. Fans are also invited to make a donation directly to WINMA, or purchase tickets for Saturday night’s dinner at womeninmotorsportsna.com.