Anticipating the thrills and excitement of an eventful European Grand Prix, the sport’s stars showed their charitable side at a glamorous gala dinner at Valencia’s famous Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía.

More than 500 people enjoyed a star-studded evening at this beautiful venue, one of Valencia’s many stunning contemporary buildings. This exclusive social gathering was organised by Valmor Sports to benefit the Fundación Pequeño Deseo, a charity that supports children with chronic or terminal illnesses by offering them the opportunity to fulfil a special wish.

Not surprisingly, this very worthy cause attracted the attention of the city’s great and good, with representatives from the worlds of business, politics, sport and law. One of the most famous was Jorge Martinez (better known as Aspar) four times World Motorcycle Champion, Vice President of Valmor Sports and co-promoter of the event, whose commitment to charitable causes is well known. In the words of his friends, Antonio and José Ribes Bas of Rimontgó who were also present at the event, he is “un hombre bueno”.

Most of the money was raised by a charity auction, at which items donated by various teams and drivers were sold to enthusiastic high rollers, who bid for Formula One memorabilia such as autographed ailerons (the back section of Formula One cars on which the team or sponsor’s logo is emblazoned) and drivers’ gloves.

One of the most desirable lots was one of Fernando Alonso’s racing jumpsuits worn at Saturday’s qualifying session, an item that must have attracted as much interest from the women who attended as the men!

Bernie Ecclestone attended the reception but not the dinner. However, he left a 25,000€ bid for one of the items, which unsurprisingly wasn’t topped, meaning that a few more sick children will be able to live their dreams.

It seems that the European Grand Prix benefited Fundación Pequeño Deseo as much as it did Rubens Barrichello.