Indianapolis, IN — Vintage Indy has named the James Garner Animal Rescue Fund as its official charity partner.
“We’re looking forward to honoring Jim Garner’s passion for all things Indianapolis, and to helping his daughter Gigi Garner create awareness for the JGARF charity,” said Vintage Indy President Mike Lashmett.
Garner — a racing team owner and talented driver — was selected to drive the Indianapolis 500 pace car at a time when having a celebrity in that role was somewhat unusual. He was chosen for the honor in 1975, 1977 and 1985.
The famous actor, who passed away in 2014, was also known for his love of animals — a trait shared by his daughter, Gigi. Involved in animal rescue for more than 30 years, she launched the James Garner Animal Rescue Fund to honor her father and the four-legged friends that meant so much to him.
Garner played Formula One driver Pete Aron in the 1966 film, Grand Prix, including doing all of the actual racing scenes and his own stunt work. The film includes real-life racing footage and cameo appearances by Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt and Jack Brabham. Other drivers in the film include Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Richie Ginther, Joakim Bonnier and Jo Siffert.
Three years later, he starred in his own 90-minute racing documentary, The Racing Scene.