Rolling Stone plans to co-sponsor a U.S. team in one of the prototype divisions of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans auto-endurance race, the Times has learned.
The music and pop culture magazine would join Patron Spirits in sponsoring the two Honda ARX-04b cars fielded by Patron's Extreme Speed Motorsports team in the race in Le Mans, France, on June 13-14.
The cars will carry the Rolling Stone livery, and it's the first time the magazine has made such a marketing effort in motor racing.
"It's a big opportunity," said Gus Wenner, head of digital for Wenner Media, Rolling Stone's publisher. "It felt like it made sense for our brand." Wenner also is son of Rolling Stone founder and owner Jann Wenner.
Patron Spirits, led by billionaire John Paul DeJoria, already is active in motorsports, especially sports-car racing. The company also backs the drag-racing team of DeJoria's daughter, Alexis DeJoria, in the National Hot Rod Assn.'s Mello Yello Series.
The famed 24 Hours of Le Mans features four classes of cars that race on the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe course in northwestern France. The classes are led by the two divisions of exotic prototype cars called LMP1 and LMP2.
The Rolling Stone/Patron Spirits cars will compete in the LMP2 division. Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Heinemeier Hansson will take turns driving one of the cars, while the other will be driven by Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty.
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