Rahal to be Grand Marshal at Long Beach
The Grand Marshal for the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach provides the perfect bridge between the end of the Champ Car era and the beginning of the IndyCar Series years.
Bobby Rahal raced in a Champ Car on the streets of Long Beach a remarkable 15 times, from the first Champ Car race in 1984 until 1998, finishing second four times.
His son, Graham, will race the Champ Car finale at Long Beach April 18-20 for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. Bobby will jet back from Japan Saturday after watching Ryan Hunter-Reay and his IndyCar team, Rahal Letterman Racing, compete at Twin Ring Motegi.
And, next year they'll BOTH be back ... Bobby as a team owner and Graham as a driver when the IndyCar Series makes its debut at the 35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach!
Whether as a driver, team owner or executive, few have made his mark on a sport more than Bobby Rahal. He won three Champ Car titles (1986, 1987 and 1992) and the 1986 Indianapolis 500. He's raced in Formula One, NASCAR, Can-Am and IROC, and took home wins at the 1981 Daytona 24 and the 1987 12 Hours of Sebring.
"This is really a great honor for me to be part of one of the crown jewels of American motorsport," Rahal said. "I first came to Long Beach as a spectator in 1977, little realizing that I would be racing there the next year. I look forward to serving as Grand Marshal and to seeing a great race."
He oversaw the development of the Rahal Letterman Racing team from an initial one-car effort to a multi-discipline organization that has developed some of the brightest young talent in IndyCar racing, including Ryan Hunter-Reay, Buddy Rice, Danica Patrick and Vitor Meira.
Rahal briefly served as President and CEO of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 2000 and, in 2001, was President and Team Principal of Jaguar Formula 1 Racing. In recent years, his leadership of the Stars of Tomorrow Karting Series has brought a stability and order to that series.
He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Rahal will say the most famous words in racing - "Gentlemen start your engines!" - at the start of the final Champ Car race on Sunday, April 20, at 1 p.m.
Ticket prices at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $25 for a Friday General Admission ticket (no reserved seat) to $125 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available.