American Honda supports RRDC Evening with Fittipaldi in Long Beach

Emerson Fittipaldi
Emerson Fittipaldi's Penske IndyCar

American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will support the RRDC Evening with Emerson Fittipaldi Presented by Firestone by hosting the cocktail reception on April 6 at the Road Racing Drivers Club’s ninth annual West Coast banquet. Honda returns for the eighth consecutive year to support the legends dinner, which will be held prior to the 43rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.).

“American Honda is once again pleased to support the Road Racing Drivers Club in its salute to Emerson Fittipaldi," said John Mendel, Executive Vice President, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “His outstanding career in both Formula One and Indy car competition, including two world championships and a pair of Indy 500 triumphs, demonstrated his talent and versatility throughout the 1970s, '80s and into the '90s. He remains a true legend in our sport."

“The members of the RRDC are honored to have American Honda return for the eighth straight year to host the reception at this year’s RRDC Evening with Emerson Fittipaldi," said RRDC President Bobby Rahal. “Honda’s presence and record in North American racing competition is remarkable, and we’re proud to have Honda and Honda Performance Development join us in celebrating Emerson's unparalleled contributions to the sport."

Fittipaldi, born in Brazil, made his racing debut for Team Lotus at the 1970 British Grand Prix. He went on to win the 1972 World Drivers' Championship at the age of 25, which at the time made him the youngest F1 world champion. He held that record for 33 years.

After moving to McLaren in 1974 he won the title once again. He soon left the championship-winning McLaren team to drive a brand new – and totally unproven – F1 car, built in his homeland of Brazil by his brother Wilson and funded by the Brazilian sugar and ethanol giant, Copersucar.

The project proved challenging and, in 1980, he reluctantly announced his retirement from racing at age 33.

Four years later he made a comeback at the 1984 IMSA Miami Grand Prix. A move into IndyCar racing followed, and by the end of 1984 he was driving for Ueal Eugene "Pat" Patrick, winning the 1989 Indy 500 in a dramatic duel with Al Unser Jr., and claiming the IndyCar championship. Then it was on to Marlboro Team Penske, with whom he won another Indy 500 at the age of 46, making him the third oldest 500 winner ever, behind only Al and Bobby Unser.

The dinner’s proceeds will help support the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking www.SAFEisFAST.com presented by Honda program and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997. Previous banquets have honored Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser and George Follmer, drawing fans and luminaries from all forms of motorsports.

The RRDC Evening with Emerson Fittipaldi Presented by Firestone will be held on Thursday, April 6, at the Hilton Hotel, 701 West Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, Calif., with cocktails at 6 p.m., and dinner at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $200 per person ($175 for RRDC members) if purchased in advance, and space is limited. This event is expected to sell out quickly. All are welcome and early reservations are recommended. Please contact Jeremy Shaw at rrdc2@cox.net.

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