Trailblazing Philanthropist Races Porsche 356 for a Worthy Cause
At Peking to Paris, Renee Brinkerhoff will continue highlighting vital social causes as she completes six rallies across seven continents.’
In order to cope with having an “empty nest,” some parents take up knitting, bicycle riding, or bird watching to replace the time they once spent with their kids. Not Renee Brinkerhoff. The philanthropist decided to start her own racing team and purchased a 1956 Porsche 356A to help accomplish her dream of competing in the famed La Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico, an event that is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous of its kind.
The result is Valkyrie Racing, an appropriately named outfit considering the woman at the helm of the organization. To learn the fine art of rally racing, Brinkerhoff recruited Porsche enthusiast and racing veteran Richard Tuthill to help hone her craft. The payoff has been tremendous: In 2013, Brinkerhoff became the first woman to obtain a class win upon their debut in the La Carrera Panamericana. Her achievements didn’t end there. From her debut year of 2013 through 2017, Brinkerhoff was the only woman to finish the race, and in each of those four years she placed at or near the top of her class. Last year she took home the Targa Plate in the Targa Tasmania, an Australian rally race that covers about 2,000 miles. She was the only female to participate.
Recently, Brinkerhoff challenged herself to a new goal: complete six rallies across seven continents, a tour the she calls the “Project 356 World Rally Tour.”
The fact that a woman in her sixties has already accomplished so much in such a short time did not go unnoticed by the media. No one would have blamed Brinkerhoff for simply basking in the glow of her newfound fame, but she instead decided to use her platform to bring awareness to issues like child exploitation and human trafficking, two problem areas that affect many of the places where she has raced. Valkyrie Gives, a charitable offshoot of her racing team, was conceived out of the idea that her racing could positively impact the people that don’t have the opportunity to watch or participate in the sport. Valkyrie Racing accomplishes this goal by funding the organizations they feel are best suited to help curtail human trafficking and assist those affected by the practice.
‘Understanding the scale of these problems and how a lack of transparency and education keeps children in danger from exploitation and trafficking, we reached out to some of the agencies on the ground in our target areas, to figure out ways we could help by pooling our resources.’
“Understanding the scale of these problems and how a lack of transparency and education keeps children in danger from exploitation and trafficking, we reached out to some of the agencies on the ground in our target areas, to figure out ways we could help by pooling our resources,” she revealed in a recent press statement.
Of course, 2019 has not slowed the momentum that Valkyrie Racing and Renee Brinkerhoff have sustained over the past six years. Her charitable efforts have already raised over $100,000 this year. And her team is planning on hosting more events while traveling across Asia for the Peking to Paris race, which is slated to begin on June 2. Project 356 World Rally Tour, which is Valkyrie Racing’s endeavor to complete six races on seven continents, will continue through 2020, when the team heads to Antarctica.
Photos: Valkyrie Racing