I’m not a gossip columnist. For instance, I’m not going to tell you why I’m covering for Jeremy Peel while he stays in a “special” retreat to clear up that cold that’s left him sniffing for months. That said, Gabe Newell has got himself and Valve involved in motorsport racing to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
As an incentive for donors, he’s also agreed to be interviewed on Reddit when the team reach $500,000 of pledges.
Team Seattle’s been racing at Daytona since 1997 and, in that time, have raised more than $5 million for Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Cardiology Unit. The team of racers have to keep their car running constantly for the full 24 hours of the race, with three drivers rotating their time in the car and engineers working through the night to keep its engine from blowing out.
But how did Valve get involved in all this? “A bunch of people at Valve started racing at Pacific Raceway down in Kent,” Newell explained on Reddit. “We got to know Don and Donna Kitch at the race school, and things snowballed from there. My son ended up at Children's Hospital several times in his first year of life, so I was already a fan of their work.”
The Kitchs established the team back in 1997.
Newell owns the team and provides “critical” financial resources but he’s also becoming deeply involved with the team. Team Seattle’s page says that “He is directly involved in every aspect of building our team and is contributing new ideas in ways like no other owner we've ever seen.”
Newell states on the Reddit page that he’s “not been involved in motorsports previously” and is learning all this fresh.
As an incentive to encourage donations, Newell has agreed to do an Ask Me Anything interview on Reddit if the team receive more than $500,000 in donations. That interview would result in nuggets of info such as why he grew his beard: “A friend said ‘if you let it grow out long enough, it will stop itching.’ Once it actually stops itching you've got so much invested in beard growing that you don't want to shave it off”; and what his first car was: “'67 Ford Fairlane.”
Hmm, hopefully the questions will be a little more inciteful.
You can read more about Team Seattle on their page.