The first-ever Drive 4 Smiles Poker Run event, a Starlight Children’s Foundation fundraiser, was held on May 24th. We accepted their invitation for two very different reasons. First, it’s always fun to meet with car buffs and admire crowds of exclusive vehicles. And second, it’s even better when we do it all for a great cause: a shared love of children.
Since 1989, the Starlight Foundation has been helping seriously ill children and their families by organizing fun activities and events to bring a little sunshine into their lives. The Canadian organization’s Quebec branch is very active and the Car Guide also participated in one of their events last year. For us, the experience was very enriching.
The first edition Poker Run was held this year as a prelude to the main event scheduled for August 30th at the ICAR Circuit. The upcoming event will treat several families to a day of fun, with children being given the chance to do laps around the track in an exotic car. The Car Guide will be there to partake in the activities and see the kids’ shining eyes when they step out of the cars and are given a copy of Le Guide de l’auto (our bestselling French publication)!
As for the Poker Run, it was awesome. Thanks to great weather and 107 incredible cars, the event raised $200,000 for the foundation. In the early morning, the cars gathered at Lamborghini Montreal. Then, in groups of 12, they headed to Confederation Park in Hawkesbury, the first of several stops on our route. As you can imagine, a convoy of exotic cars never goes unnoticed and we were drawn into countless conversations with passersby. The event concluded at the St-Eustache Track, where drivers were given the opportunity to show off their skills—and their wheels—with a few driving tests.
A Nissan 370 Nismo among the exotics
Our vehicle for the day was a Nismo 370Z. Despite its sporty roots, the 370Z doesn’t have the same panache as most of the other exotic cars that were at the event. Fortunately, ours was a Nismo, which is more extroverted version. And frankly, we thought it was terrific and super stylish. During a quick slalom on the track, we earned one of the top 10 times, proving that the vehicle’s handling and dexterity are up to par. That said, it was hard to keep up with the supercars during acceleration runs. With “just” 350 horsepower and a manual gearbox, the 370Z was at a disadvantage compared to the speedsters equipped with dual-clutch automatic transmissions and launch control systems. It wasn’t easy to see our car get passed by a Porsche 911 GT3! That said, the Nissan GTRs present that day proved to be true rivals of the other exotic cars.
See the photos of the day’s events.
Or check out the video taken from inside the inside the Nissan 370Z Nismo.