Spinal Cord Injury Survivor Brian Donato and Mitsubishi to Tackle Targa Newfoundland
2014 Lancer Ralliart Bound for St. John’s
Mississauga, ON (May 27, 2014) – Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada has teamed up with Ontario’s Brian Donato in a courageous entry of this paraplegic driver in the fabled Targa Newfoundland event this September.
Donato, and his Roll With It Racing trainer, navigator and Canadian endurance racing star Rick Bye, will enter the Fast Tour Class in a 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart sedan. The journey begins in St. John’s and covers the challenging roads of eastern and central Newfoundland before returning to the capital in a five-day, 1,550-km test of endurance and teamwork.
The Roll With It Racing team of Donato, Bye, award-winning columnist Lorraine Sommerfeld and film-maker Danny Bailey, joined Mitsubishi’s 80 head office and parts depot employees today at a barbeque to mark the start of the new relationship.
“It has long been a dream of mine to drive in the Targa Newfoundland. The folks at Mitsubishi share in the dream, and the hope that Canadians with physical disabilities might be inspired by our effort,” said Donato, who hails from Orangeville, ON and has been training with Bye since Spring 2013.
For his part, Mitsubishi Motors’ president & CEO Kenny Yamamoto handed the keys to the Lancer Ralliart to Donato: “These keys, and our Lancer, are merely symbols of a bolder purpose that Brian Donato represents – that of courage and perseverance despite the odds. We applaud you Brian and wish you every success at Targa Newfoundland.”
Donato’s journey to Targa has been documented on the Roll With It Racing Facebook page, in Sommerfeld’s column, and in Bailey’s YouTube postings.
The scope and courage of Donato’s upcoming drive was summarized by Targa organizer Robert Giannou, who noted: “Since its beginning, Targa Newfoundland has been about perseverance, fortitude and triumph over adversity. Targa is the measure of an individual’s true mettle. Just getting to the starting line has been a triumph for Brian and Rick, and they will be welcomed in Newfoundland as heroes.”
The Wicked White, 237-hp, turbocharged Lancer Ralliart will be fitted with hand controls for brake and throttle, along with five-point seatbelts for the Targa. Other major modifications will not be necessary as racing-style Recaro seating, Brembo racing brakes, power door locks and Fast-Key keyless entry and ignition, auto-off Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, are part of the Lancer Ralliart’s Premium Package.