Three motorsports legends with a history of checkered flags at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – driver Dario Franchitti and owners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven – will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on Thursday, April 10.
The public is invited to the free, ninth annual induction ceremony, which will be held at 11 a.m. on South Pine Avenue in front of the Convention Center, along the route of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
“Dario Franchitti, Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven have made legendary contributions to the field of motorsports, and they have truly earned their place on the Motorsports Walk of Fame," said Mayor Bob Foster, who will be presenting medallions to the honorees. “These three honorees have tremendous accomplishments, here in Long Beach and around the world."
In 2009, Franchitti won the IndyCar Series race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He has 11 starts here, finishing 2nd in 1998 and 1999, and 3rd in 2011. Franchitti has four IndyCar Series Championships (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and three Indianapolis 500 wins (2007, 2010, 2012). The Scotland native is the winningest driver in U.S. open-wheel history from Great Britain, and his 31 career Indy Car wins place him seventh on the all-time list.
Forsythe was the winning owner of the 2003 and 2004 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with driver Paul Tracy. Forsythe’s teams have won the Atlantic Championship Race here four times (1993, 1997, 1999, 2006) and the 2003 CART Season Championship while amassing 32 CART and Champ Car wins. Several other notable drivers have driven for Forsythe, including Danny Sullivan, Greg Moore, Jacques Villeneuve, A.J. Allmendinger, Patrick Carpentier, and Alex Tagliani.
Kalkhoven’s KV Racing Technology, which he co-owns with Jimmy Vasser, was the winning owner of the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with driver Will Power. Kalkhoven’s team was also the winner of the 2005 Atlantic Championship Race here, as well as the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with driver Tony Kanaan. Several other notable drivers have driven for Kalkhoven, including Paul Tracy, Simona de Silvestro, Cristiano da Matta, Oriol Servia, Takuma Sato and Rubens Barrichello.
Kalkhoven’s and Forsythe’s investments in motorsports go beyond owning teams. Forsythe, Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi created the Champ Car World Series when CART folded after the 2003 season, and in 2005 Forsythe and Kalkhoven purchased the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach and have maintained the success and appeal of the pre-eminent street race in North America.
“We’re delighted to acknowledge the tremendous success that Dario had both here at Long Beach and in his illustrious motorsports career," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “And both Gerry and Kevin deserve recognition not only for their teams’ on-track success but also for their continued investment in the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach."
The Walk of Fame medallions include renditions of the racers' cars and their major achievements in motorsports. For more information, visit www.lbmotorsportswof.com.
The induction ceremony kicks off the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, which brings approximately 175,000 people to Downtown Long Beach. For more information, visit www.gplb.com, call (888) 82-SPEED, or follow the race on Facebook at GrandPrixLB and on Twitter @ToyotaGPLB.