Celebrating Le Mans with ‘Friends of Steve McQueen’

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Seven days before the official start of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, automotive enthusiasts will gather in Chino Hills, California, to celebrate the historic race, and the one person most responsible for driving the event into America’s consciousness during the 1970s . . . Steve McQueen.

The fourth staging of the Friends of Steve McQueen Car Show will take place on June 4, 2011, on the campus of the Boys Republic in Chino Hills. Co-chaired by Ron Harris and retired racecar driver and producer Chad McQueen, the event will celebrate Le Mans with a unique display of cars representative of the historic race during McQueen’s era. With the help of auto-designer Freeman Thomas, auto-collector and inventor Peter Dunkel, and automotive fine artist Nicolas Hunziker, the 200-acre campus will be transformed to recreate an atmosphere reminiscent of the 1971 film; combining memorabilia, art and photography together with automobiles, motorcycles and off-road vehicles that evoke the memory of Steve McQueen.

"If the term FORE! can be used for a car show the way it’s used in golf, then FORE! might be the best way to say LOOK OUT!" says Ron Harris, a Southern California businessman who enjoys racing his vintage Porsche and golfing in Palm Springs, where he presented the idea of the car show to his friend Chad McQueen in 2008.

"We’re in fourth gear now, and this means overdrive in a literal sense," Harris said. "With involvement this year from Jeff Trask, as well as Freeman Thomas, Nicolas Hunziker and Peter Dunkel, we expect to double attendance figures in 2011, and do the same or better with our donation to the Boys Republic," Harris predicts.

New additions to the Show like the Literature Expo will offer attendees an opportunity to find unique art, literature, photography, and memorabilia amidst the atmosphere of France’s 24 hour race.

Another new highlight this year will be the presentation of awards. Uniquely distinct from other car shows, the Friends of Steve McQueen Car Show trophies will each be individual works of art, hand-crafted by students at the Boys Republic. The "Best of Show" trophy for example, is a perpetual trophy featuring a piston from a vehicle formerly owned by McQueen. Other awards include "The Getaway" Trophy, awarded to the best unrestored truck; the "Le Man"s Trophy, awarded to the best competition race car; "The Great Escape" Trophy, awarded to one classic motorcycle; the "Bullitt" Trophy, awarded to the best Bullitt Mustang; the "Thomas Crown" Trophies, awarded to one Rolls-Royce and one off-road vehicle, and the "Cool Style" Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the automobile that best evokes Steve McQueen’s style and passion for automobiles.

The Friends of Steve McQueen Car Show is well on track to become one of Southern California’s finest automotive gatherings. Thirty years after his death, Steve McQueen’s star-power is as bright as ever. He remains a major influence in America’s car culture, and his fans honor his memory every year by returning to the school that has transformed the lives of thousands of young people over its more than 100-year history, including 16-year-old Steve McQueen.

For more information call 909-627-0017 or visit www.FriendsOfSteveMcQueen.com.

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