Alan Wilzig's Private Race Track Opens for the Fastest Charity Event of the Year
Wilzig Racing Manor's annual charity gala brings 45 of the fastest cars around as attendees raise revs and funds for local organizations in need.
Wilzig Racing Manor’s annual charity gala was started by two men with one goal: help raise money for local community organizations in need.
Alan Wilzig started the event in 2012 with the asphalt still cooling on his then newly built private race track. With 45 attendees, Wilzig raised $4,500 during the event’s first year. An admirable amount, but his close friend Dan Sperling said he knew they could do better. After he received Wilzig’s blessing, Sperling quickly took over operations for the event, helping to raise $60,000 in the second year for Camp Sundown, a one-of-a-kind local organization that helps individuals diagnosed with Xeroderma Pigmentosum; a very rare skin disorder that makes XP patients highly sensitive to sunlight.
With the purchase of their admission ticket, attendants at WRM's Gala not only help local organizations in need, but are also given the opportunity to drive their own Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other toys around the 1.1-mile private track. After their track time, attendants can enjoy a tour of the upstate New York farm on which the track is built or hang out with their friends inside of the accompanying museum which houses 110 motorcycles and race cars.
Wilzig faced legal issues during the construction of his race track over local concerns about sound pollution, but he wasn’t alone. “Camp Sundown, because the children come out at night, faced the same sound pollution opposition from the same group of people, because they didn’t want to be woken up by laughing and giggling children running around in the backyard at 3 a.m.,” said Sperling. “Absolutely brutal people.”
Wilzig met with members of Camp Sundown during their mutual legal battles and came to support the organization over the next five years through his annual gala. By 2017, Wilzig and Sperling had helped to raise over $250,000 for Camp Sundown.
Now in its seventh year, the WRM gala continues to support local organizations in need, currently splitting donations between High & Mighty, a therapeutic equine riding program focused on children, teens and adults with special needs, and Race Cars for a Cause, an organization serving nearly 500 veterans, active military, veteran caregivers, and their family members with free of charge race-oriented events.
Thanks to 30 volunteers and 16 sponsors helping to cover the operation costs of the gala, Sperling says that 100% of all ticket sales and donations go directly to the charities.
“Not one of our volunteers ever asked for a penny and these kids travel from as far as South Dakota, some of who are in the Air Force, to come as our annual volunteers,” Sperling says. “These kids work all year long on registration, marketing, corporate fund-raising, and things of that nature all for free. Everyone involved in the event is so passionate and so inclined to make this their main charitable focus of the year that since June 24th, the Monday after the event, we’re already working on next year.”
As Sperling plans for the future, he says he wants to see the event reach higher fundraising goals, take on a third organization in need, acquire more corporate sponsors, and offer even more new and exciting experiences for attendees to have.
“This isn’t your typical charity event where you have to dress in a black tie, come in a suit, sit around a table, eat the same convention hall food that everyone’s eating, and bid on some silent auction item you don’t really want,” Sperling added. “Who wants to do that anymore? I’m good, I’ll pass, I’ll just go to WRM.”
To find out more information about Alan Wilzig's one-of-a-kind track and charity event, head over to Wilzig Racing Manor's website.