PEOPLE: BOBBY RAHAL

Name: Bobby Rahal
Nationality: United States of America

The son of a club racer, Rahal was born in the suburbs of Cleveland but grew up in Chicago. He began racing in the early 1970s and enjoyed his first successes in SCCA sportscar events. In 1975 he moved to Formula Atlantic and after three years racing in Formula Atlantic he decided to try his hand at racing in Formula 3 in Europe, racing a Dallara-built Wolf chassis, funded by Canadian oil millionaire Walter Wolf. This led to Bobby's F1 debut in the final two races of the 1978 season in Canada and the United States. In 1979 he raced in both Formula 2 and in CanAm and decided to return to the United States fulltime in 1980 and in 1981 he won the Daytona 24 Hours with a Porsche 935 which he co-drove with Brian Redman and Bob Garretson. Thanks to the patronage of Jim Trueman of the Red Roof Inns company, Rahal was able to move into Indycar racing with Trueman's Truesports team. He won his first race for the team in 1982 at Cleveland and finished runner-up in the CART series that year. He became a regular winner in CART and competed successfully in the IMSA sportscars series as well. He won the Indianapolis 500 in 1986 just a few weeks before Trueman died of cancer and Rahal went on to win the CART title that year and again in 1987. That year he also won the Sebring 12 Hours sharing a Porsche with German'y Jochen Mass. In 1989 he moved to the Kraco team after seven seasons with Truesports and in 1992 he went into partnership with Carl Hogan to buy Patrick Racing. Rahal won the title at his first attempt as a team owner that year. After an abortive attempt to build his own cars in 1993 he concentrated on running customer cars and after Hogan joined forces with Roger Penske at the start of 1996, Rahal established Team Rahal in partnership with talk show host David Letterman. Rahal continued to race until the end of 1998 but then retired to concentrate on running his team and developing a string of car dealerships in Pennsylvania. In the middle of 2000 he became interim chief executive of the CART organisation but at the behest of the Ford Motor Company, he was named chief executive of Jaguar Racing in F1 in September 2000. He began the reconstruction of the team, attempting to hire his old friend Adrian Newey as technical director but was ousted in a palace coup in the middle of 2001. He returned to America and continues to run succesful racing teams in CART, IRL and the Toyota Atlantic series.

Print