3-Time IndyCar Champion and Indianapolis 500 Winner
BOBBY RAHAL - Co-Owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Robert “Bobby” Woodward Rahal was born in Medina, Ohio, in 1953, and worked his way up through the racing ranks starting with the SCCA’s feeder series to Formula Atlantic and then onto European Formula Two. In an 18-year career spanning F1, Can-Am, Le Mans/IMSA, and CART, Rahal notched three CART championships, including a win at the 1986 Indy 500, along with wins at the 1981 24 Hours of Daytona and the 1987 12 Hours of Sebring endurance races.
One of open wheel racing’s most consistent drivers during his career, Rahal started 264 races for five teams and he took 18 poles and scored 24 wins. He collected back-to-back CART championships in 1986 & ’87, and picked up his third in 1992. When Buddy Rice won the 2004 Indy 500, Rahal became only one of a handful of individuals to win the Indy 500 as both a driver and a team owner.
Following his retirement from competitive racing after the 1998 season, Rahal spent time with Jaguar’s F1 effort and in mid-2000, he returned to the U.S. to become the interim boss of CART. Along with former late night talk show icon David Letterman and businessman Michael Lanigan, he is a principal in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing where Rahal has overseen the growth of the team from a one-car program to a multi-car, multi-discipline organization. Rahal has been responsible for finding and developing some of the top-young talent in open-wheel racing. Among his current and past protégées are Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Oriol Servia, Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Danica Patrick, Bryan Herta, Max Papis, Kenny Brack, Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr. It also was Bobby Rahal who was responsible for bringing Honda into North American open-wheel racing in the early 90s, an involvement as a manufacturer that has produced 15 driver championships and over 225 victories including 12 Indy 500 triumphs (2004-2017).
In addition, his team won the 2010 GT team and manufacturers championships in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with BMW as well as sweeping the top two spots in the 2011 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and securing 2011 ALMS GT drivers championships for Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller. In 2012, the team earned back-to-back Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring honors and finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship. In 2013 BMW Team RLL debuted an all-new Z4 in the ALMS GT class and earned two wins, seven podium finishes and four poles en route to a second place rank in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. In 2014, the team joined the newly-named United Sports Car Series (USCC) which resulted from the merger of the ALMS and Grand Am Series. The series was later renamed the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has brought their total to 17 wins23 poles and 68 podium finishes as well as a second place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. In 2018, the team will debut an all-new BMW M8 GTE and continue their two-car pursuit of wins and championships. Also new for 2018 will be a two-car program in the world’s first production-based electric vehicle race series – the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. The series will debut in the 2018/2019 season as a support series to the FIA Formula E Championship.
Rahal was also the driving force behind the new HMP Legends of Motorsports historic racing series that was purchased by an outside group late in 2011. Along with his leadership of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, he operates Bobby Rahal Automotive Group, a string of car dealerships in Pennsylvania, is President of the Road Racing Drivers Club, Chairman of the International Motor Racing Research Center Governing Council at Watkins Glen and is very active in the community through the Bobby Rahal Foundation. In addition, he was Chairman of the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Foundation from August 2012 until the fall of 2016.
Bobby Rahal Racing Record
-1974 SCCA B/Sports Racing National Champion
-1975 Formula Atlantic National Champion (SCCA President’s Cup)
-1981 24 Hours of Daytona winner
-1982 CART Rookie of the Year
-1986 Indianapolis 500 winner
-1986 CART champion
-1986 Driver of the Year
-1987 CART champion
-1987 12 Hours of Sebring winner
-1992 CART champion
-1992 Driver of the Year
-Only driver/owner to win CART championship
-One of three drivers to win three CART/Champ Car championships
-First IndyCar driver to win $1 million in a single season
-First IndyCar driver to surpass $12 million in career earnings
-Recorded IndyCar/CART victories in ten seasons (eight straight)
-Introduced Honda to North American open-wheel racing
-Inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2004
-Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004
-Inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame in 2004
-Inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2010
-Inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2013
-Inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2014