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RRDC Adds To Membership

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, August 3 2010

Gil de Ferran joins the Road Racing Driver's Club.

RacinToday.com

Indianapolis 500 champions Scott Dixon, Gil de Ferran and Dan Wheldon top the list of 31 new members elected to the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC).

The class of 2010 features drivers who have posted a collective seven Indy Racing League/Champ Car championships, three Indy 500 wins and dozens of major U.S. and international road-racing victories.

“This is perhaps one of the most impressive groups of new members to receive invitations to join the RRDC in the long history of the club,” said Bobby Rahal, himself a former Indy 500 champion and club president.

The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 to give champion drivers a voice in their sport, particularly in the area of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. Club membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.

Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 winner and is co-owner, with David Letterman, of the 2004 Indy 500-winning Rahal Letterman Racing team. Six-time Sports Car Club of America National Champion John Fergus is the club’s vice president/treasurer, and five-time SCCA National Champion Tom Davey is the secretary. The club is headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio.

“For 58 years, membership in the RRDC has been a badge of honor for outstanding racers and a select few others with legacy-level relationships to the sport,” Rahal said. “Membership, however, also infers the responsibilities of racing leadership, representing the best qualities of sportsmanship, taking an active interest in safety and helping new drivers launch successful and enduring racing careers.”

In addition to RRDC members lending their expertise to up-and-coming drivers, the club presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award for outstanding service to road-racing; the Mark Donohue Award for personal spirit and performance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs and the Bob Akin Award – the top honor presented to amateur and semi-professional racers – for speed with style, passion, sportsmanship and contribution to motorsports.

The RRDC also supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990.

Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. Additional information on the organization may be found at www.rrdc.org .

The list of invitees for Regular Membership:

Ryan Briscoe, Mooresville, S.C.: Third in 2009 IRL IndyCar Championship; 2007 ALMS Rookie of the Year; drives for Team Penske in IRL.

Kelly Collins, Newport Beach, Calif.: 2008 Rolex Series GT class co-champion; second in 2009 and 2007. Top Corvette driver in the American Le Mans Series.

Gil de Ferran, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: 2000 and 2001 CART Champ Car champion; 2003 Indy 500 winner; 1992 British F3 champion; 1995 Champ Car Rookie of the Year; set closed-course world speed record of 241.426 mph.

Tony De Lorenzo, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.: His SCCA/IMSA racing career spanned 17 years, several sponsors and partnerships, and included consistent top-10 finishes; was elected to the Corvette Hall of Fame in 2008.

Scott Dixon, Indianapolis, Ind.: 2003 and 2008 IRL champion; 2008 Indy 500 winner; three-time winner of the Jim Clark Trophy; two-time winner of Bruce McLaren Trophy.

Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, N.Y.: Son of longtime sports-car racer Rob Dyson, competes in ALMS and manages Dyson Racing; 2003 LMS LMP 675 champion; second in 2005 LMP1 championship; fourth in 2004.

Calvin Fish, Schaumburg, Ill: 1987 Formula Atlantic champion; 1990 GTO class winner at Daytona 24 and Sebring 12; also competed in Formula Ford, IndyLights, Formula 3 and Formula 2000. Currently an analyst for Speed TV.

Marino Franchitti, London: Younger brother of two-time Indy 500 and IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti; 2001 British GTO champion; also raced in Formula Vauxhall, FIA N-GT Series, FIA GT. Currently drives for Patron Highcroft ALMS team.

Brian Frisselle, Aspen, Colo.: Son of sports-car racer Brad Frisselle; won final three races of 2003 Skip Barber National Championship; raced in Star Mazda Series; race winner in Rolex Grand-Am Series, in which he currently competes.

Burt Frisselle, Aspen, Colo.:  Son of Brad Frisselle; made rookie debut in 2003 in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, finishing sixth overall. Earned pole, set fastest race lap and won his first race in the 2002 Formula Dodge National Championship. Races in Grand-Am Series.

Memo (José) Gidley, Novato, Calif.: Raced in Champ Car for Derrick Walker, Gerry Forsythe and Chip Ganassi; since 2005 has competed full-time in Grand-Am Series; co-drove to 2009 Mexico City season finale win.

Joey Hand, Sacramento, Calif.: Began karting in 1995, earned three U.S. and seven National Championships; has raced in Formula Mazda Pro Series, the Formula Palmer Audi series in England, Formula Atlantic, Grand-Am Series, ALMS and the SPEED World Challenge; Formula Atlantic 2001 Rookie of the Year.

Tony Kanaan, Miami, Fla.: 2004 IRL IndyCar Champion and 1997 IndyLights Champion; in 2004 completed 3,305 laps, making him the first IndyCar Series driver to complete every possible lap in a season; also has led 889 laps in 13 separate races to establish an IRL record.

Denise McCluggage, Santa Fe, N.M.: Racer from the 1940s to the 1960s, and a sports reporter for the “New York Herald Tribune” during the 1950s; received the 2000 International Automotive Media Conference’s (IAMA) Recognition of Lifetime Achievement Award; enshrined in the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2001; inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2006.

Greg Pickett, Benicia, Calif.: 1978 SCCA Trans-Am Champion; has won Trans-Am races in four different decades; won GTO class in 1987 Sebring 12 Hours; returned to racing in 2007 and scored his 17th career Trans-Am win in 2009; scored an LMP2 class win in the 2010 Sebring 12 Hours.

Ben Pon, Carmel Valley, Calif.: Competed internationally in Porsche sports cars during the 1960s and ’70s; multiple class winner at Le Mans and Nurburgring; has raced in FIA GT Cup and World Sports Car Championship; made one F1 start at 1962 Dutch Grand Prix which ended in a violent crash; vowed to never race single-seaters again.

Graham Rahal, New Albany, Ohio: Son of RRDC president Bobby Rahal; began racing karts in 2001; has raced in Formula BMW USA, Star Mazda, A1 Grand Prix, Formula Atlantic, Champ Car World Series and the Indy Pro Series; in 81 races earned three poles and seven wins; youngest winner in IndyCar history, winning the St. Petersburg, Fla., GP in 2008 at age 19.

Ed Swart, Rolling Hills, Calif.: Career spans 50 years beginning with karting in Europe; started racing teams in the European FIA Touring Car Challenge Championship (three wins), the Dutch National Touring Car Championship (five wins) and FIA Sports/Prototype races; second in the Springbok Series in South Africa; member and former president of the Board of the Vintage Auto Racing Association; started the Historic Racing Organization (HSR-West in California) in 1999.

Michael Valiante, Vancouver, B.C.: Began as kart racer; was series champion and Rookie of the Year in his first Skip Barber Series season; raced in Barber Dodge Pro Series and joined 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship (six wins); entered Grand-Am series in 2006; from 2006-09 earned one win and numerous podium, top-five and top-10 finishes.

Jimmy Vasser, Las Vegas, Nev.: 1996 IndyCar Champion, scoring 10 victories in the series; made CART debut in 1992 and set Indy 500 record for fastest qualifying run by a first-year driver; in 2004 became co-owner/driver of PKV Racing (now KV Racing Technology); retired from open-wheel racing in 2006 but competed in Grand-Am Series that year.

Dan Wheldon, St. Petersburg, Fla.:  2005 Indy 500 and IRL champion; originally a kart racer in England, moved to the U.S. in 1999; raced in the F2000 Championship, Toyota Atlantic and IndyLights series; moved up to IRL in 2002 for two events before earning Rookie of the Year honor in 2003; his six victories in 2005 broke the IRL record for most wins in one season; won the 2006 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Desire Wilson, Salt Lake City, Utah:  One of five women to compete in Formula One; entered one F1 World Championship Grand Prix in 1980 with a non-works Williams but failed to qualify; also raced in the 1981 non-championship South African Grand Prix; became the only woman to win an F1 race of any kind, at Brands Hatch in the British Aurora F1 series, featuring older F1 cars; has a Brands Hatch grandstand named after her; participated in IndyCar and sports-car racing events.

Justin Wilson, Longmont, Colo.: 2001 International Formula 3000 champion; began racing karts in 1987; in 1998 was a finalist in the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award and won the inaugural Formula Palmer Audi championship; graduated to the FIA International Formula 3000 Series in 1999; raced in Champ Car and Formula One; currently competes in IRL.

The list of invitees for Associate Membership:

Bruce Canepa, Scotts Valley, Calif.: Former racer in a variety of disciplines, currently competing in Historic Racing; owner of Canepa Design, a leader in automotive design, restoration and sales.

Peter Giddings: Has rebuilt/supervised the restoration of a number of historic landmark racing cars since the 1950s; won the coveted Phil Hill Trophy in 1985, presented to him personally by Juan Manuel Fangio; is a multi-time champion of the North America Ferrari/ Maserati Historic Challenge.

Vic Skirmants, North Branch, Mich.: Raced a 1956 356 Porsche Speedster in Canada and in SCCA regional races; Canadian EP Champion in 1972; raced SCCA Nationals from 1977-1997, qualifying for the SCCA Runoffs every year since 1978, except in 1979; has 310 first-place finishes in 696 races; now races in Vintage events.

Ralph Thomas, Highlands, N.C.: Has over 50 SVRA wins, six championships in Vintage GTP, the Sebring 12 Hour and Daytona 24 Hour; holds two speed records at Bonneville Salt Flats; founded the “Highlands Classic” in 1986, a charity vintage sports-car event; worked for Brumos Porsche in the ’70s and is now a builder in North Carolina.

The list of invitees for Honorary Membership:

Scott Atherton: President and Chief Executive Officer of Panoz Motor Sports Group which includes the American Le Mans Series, Road Atlanta, Sebring International Raceway, Mosport International Raceway, Elan Technologies and International Motor Sports Association; serves on the board of directors for Panoz Auto Development and is active with ACCUS and ALMS.

Jim Farley, Dearborn, Mich.: Currently head of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Ford Motor Company; started the Scion division of Toyota and served as head of marketing for Lexus/Toyota; is a “gear-head,” a Cobra owner and staunch supporter of racing.

Bruce Meyer,Beverly Hills, Calif.: One-time chairman of Petersen Museum in Los Angeles and highly-regarded in the Historic/Vintage automobile world; personal collection of cars includes many of the greatest ever designed (D-Type Jag, Ferrari 250 SWB, Ferrari Testa Rosa, and the famous “Belly Tank” hot rod).

Bob Varsha, Atlanta, Ga.: Voice of Formula One racing in the U.S.; with fellow RRDC member David Hobbs, anchors the SpeedTV F1 races; in 2002 and 2003 was the host of network TV’s Champ Car coverage, returning to Formula 1 in 2004; also was a part-time host/narrator for SPEEDTV’s coverage of the World Rally Championship, and hosts the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions on SpeedTV.

More detailed bios may be found at www.rrdc.org.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, August 3 2010
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