Twenty-six race-car drivers and motorsports professionals have been voted into the Road Racing Drivers Club in 2015. The group includes 11 Regular Members from the open-wheel and sports-car racing ranks, 10 Associate Members and five Honorary Members. The current roster of RRDC members now numbers 486. Voting was held among all current RRDC members.
“The RRDC is honored to announce the addition to its roster a group of outstanding racing champions and others with remarkable racing credentials,” said RRDC president Bobby Rahal. “The new members have not only demonstrated their expertise on the race track and in the boardroom, they have conducted themselves honorably off the track as well, a quality the RRDC members take into consideration when voting in new members.
“We also appreciate that each new member has enthusiastically accepted membership in the RRDC. We look forward to working with them as the RRDC continues to pursue its goals of recognizing and mentoring aspiring race-car drivers through a variety of programs.”
While Regular RRDC members are race-car drivers who have competed successfully at the championship level, Associate Membership includes drivers who have participated successfully in major professional events or in lesser and/or historic events, as well as those who have significant ties to racing, such as in the corporate, sponsorship, mentoring, patronage and promotion arenas.
Honorary Members are distinguished senior international motorsports champions, team owners and others who have demonstrated a life-long commitment in support of racing through active volunteerism, officiating and/or promotion of the sport generally.
In alphabetical order, here are the new Regular Members:
LAWSON ASCHENBACH – Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Four-time Pirelli World Challenge champion (2006, ’11, ’13), 2010 Grand-Am Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge TC champion, and 2014 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Pro-Am World Champion.
ANATOLY ARUTUNOFF – Tulsa, Okla.
The 1981 SCCA H Production National Champion and President’s Cup winner. An eclectic car collector, whimsical raconteur, he built Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in 1976, near Tulsa.
BOB BAILEY – Sarasota, Fla.
Partnered with Mark Donohue to found Racemark International in the early 1970s. Began racing in the early ’60s, with class wins at Sebring 12-Hour (’67, ’68), Watkins Glen (’66, ’68), Daytona 24-Hour (’71), and high placings in IMSA, with a first-place at Lime Rock Park (’72).
JONATHAN BOMARITO – San Marcos, Calif.
The 2000 “Stars of Tomorrow” karting champion, the 2003 Formula Ford Zetec Champion, second in 2008 Formula Atlantic Championship, GT category winner in 2010 Daytona 24. As a factory Dodge SRT Viper driver, was second in the 2014 TUDOR championship, GTLM division. Racing for factory Mazda Prototype team in 2015.
PAUL BRAND – Lake Placid, Fla.
The 1980 SCCA E Production National Champion. Lead instructor at Skip Barber Racing School since 1984, and MX5 “Cup” race-car test/development driver for Barber since 2006. Has raced and won in numerous SCCA and IMSA series since 1976. Was the 1978 Driver of the Year, LOL Region SCCA, and the 1976 Maryland State Kart Champion.
SARAH FISHER – Speedway, Ind.
Indy 500 racer, with nine starts. First woman to qualify on the pole for an IndyCar race (Kentucky 2002). Has run her own IndyCar team since 2008. The Sarah Fisher-Hartman team currently fields driver Josef Newgarden in the IndyCar Series.
TOM HESSERT JR. – Cherry Hill, N.J.
The 1988 IMSA Camel GTP Light Champion, three-time Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 winner in GTP Light. Drove for factory IMSA Buick and BMW teams, and was third in WSC-2 class and ninth overall in 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans.
HARRY INGLE – Charlotte, N.C.
The 1973 SCCA Super Vee National Champion, earning the President’s Cup. From 1972 to ’74 he finished second in the Pro Super Vee Series each year, and retired from active racing in ’74 after taking five poles and seven Pro Super Vee podiums including a Lime Rock win.
KIP LAUGHLIN – McLean, Va.
The 1980 SCCA Formula Ford Northeast Division co-champion with Chip Ganassi. Raced from 1968-89, primarily in Formula Vees, and in Formulae Ford and Atlantic. SCCA 24-hour class winner at Nelson Ledges in Chevy Camaro with Dave Weitzenhof and Roger Marble. Has made more than 140 starts, with 20-plus victories.
TOMMY MILNER – Ashburn, Va.
Son of Tom Milner, and GM factory driver. Started in karts at 14. Drove for Panoz in 2006 and ’08 and for Rahal Letterman in ALMS in 2007, ’09 and ’10. Third in 2010 in ALMS championship, Six 24 Hours of Le Mans, including GTE class winner (11th o/a) in Corvette C6.R in 2011. Class winner in 2013 Sebring 12.
DION VON MOLTKE – Coral Gables, Fla.
Started racing karts at age 13, winning several local championships before moving up to the National/International level. As a pro car racer, he has multiple wins (12, as well as 22 podiums) in Skip Barber, Grand-Am, and ALMS, including the 2012 and ’13 Sebring 12s. A popular driving coach, he developed a program called “Perform 360.” Drove for Flying Lizard in 2014 and Paul Miller Racing in 2015.
LUIGI CHINETTI JR. – Stuart, Fla.
Drove in three 24 Hours of Le Mans races for North American Racing Team (NART) with Masten Gregory and Bob Grossman, including a class win (fifth o/a) in 1971. Fifth and eighth at Sebring 12 and fifth at Daytona 24 (with Bill Wonder) in 1970. Son of race-car driver and legendary U.S. Ferrari dealer Luigi Chinetti Sr., his knowledge of all things Ferrari is unparalleled.
JOIE CHITWOOD III – Daytona Beach, Fla.
President of Daytona International Speedway. Was VP of Business Operations for International Speedway Corp., President and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, VP and General Manager of Raceway Assoc. (Chicagoland), and part of Chitwood Thrill Show, beginning at age 5. Was a stuntman and specialized in precision driving.
MIKE DAVIS – Huntington Beach, Calif.
Began vintage racing in 1967 and competed in SCCA Trans-Am Series as driver and team owner, driving with Boris Said. Raced in World Challenge from 2002-10 in Ford Mustangs for ACS Express. Team driver Brandon Davis won the 2009 title for the team. He and ACS Express are well known for their customer hospitality tents at racing events.
TRAVIS ENGEN – Weston, Conn.
Active in vintage and historic racing for over 20 years, racing worldwide. SVRA Rookie of the Year in 1999, 2000 and 2011-13 Monoposto Formula B champion, four-time Monoposto Formula Atlantic Champion (2005, ’08, ’11, ’12), SVRA overall Endurance Champion 2004-07 and ’09. HSR BOSS champion 2007-09. SVRA Sprint Champion 2004, and SVRA Driver of the Year 2004. As CEO of ITT, sponsored the ChampCar Detroit Grand Prix 1992-97.
JUSTIN GURNEY – Santa Ana, Calif.
Older brother of Alex Gurney and son of Dan Gurney. Started as General Manager of All American Racer’s 18 employees in 2001. By 2010 he was President and CEO. Has been instrumental in keeping AAR relevant as a major force in cutting edge manufacturing technology. Managed AAR’s construction of Delta Wing in 2012, and AAR’s construction of five chassis for Nissan’s LMP1 race car.
DAVE HANDY – Alton, Va.
Owner of Sasco Sports, a respected race-car preparation shop in Connecticut. Started racing in 1980, competing in SVRA events. Ran many SCCA events at Lime Rock Park, winning the 1995 SCCA NARRC Runoffs. Won the 2001 Monoposto Championship and was named SVRA’s Driver of the Year in 2005. Also won Monoposto’s FB titles in 2008-10 and was SVRA’s 2014 Group 2 National Champion.
JOE HISH – Burr Ridge, Ill.
At age 14, he hot-lapped Midgets in Chicago, leading to a 25-year career with over 100 wins as a top historic racer. By the late ’90s he was a regular Historic GTP winner against seasoned competitors, competing in SVRA and HSR. In recent years, he won races overall in 2000, ’01 and ’06.
NICK MASON – London, England, U.K.
Well-known Pink Floyd drummer and composer, car collector and racing enthusiast. Five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans driver (’79, ’80, ’82-84), achieving class podium and Index of Performance win. Nurburgring 1000 km in 1981. Winner, Silverstone GP support race in Birdcage Maserati in 1993. Winner Goodwood Revival in Aston Martin Ulster. Also a pilot, and author of Into the Red about his cars and racing.
RON MAYDON – Wavendon, Milton Keynes, U.K.
U.K. motorsports enthusiast since the ‘60s, owns and races several F1 cars, sports and touring cars. Established Masters Historic Racing in U.K. and Europe in 2004, now sanctioned by the FIA for the Historic Formula One Championship. Began operation of Masters HGP in North America in 2014, continuing the series originally established by Historic Grand Prix. Masters events in ‘14 included support races at the Canadian GP, Singapore GP, and U.S. GP.
RICK PARSONS – South Barrington, Ill.
Raced karts in late ‘50s, winning several championships in Midwest and East Coast. Raced Formula Ford 1970-79, then Can-Am 1981-86. Now races ex-Redman Lola T332 F/5000 car with numerous vintage wins. Also owns ex-Unser Jr. ’82 championship GR3 Can-Am car. Founded Vintage Indy Racing Group, and is VP of F/5000 Drivers Assn.
DR. JACQUES DALLAIRE – Concord, N.C.
Developed the High Performance Index heart monitoring program for extreme-environment athletes, first used in F1 with Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet. Founded and runs Performance Prime for enhancing mental and physical maximum performance. Founding member of the International Council of Motorsport Sciences. Advisory board member of Stand 21 Safety Foundation. Inducted into Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007. Featured presenter at RRDC seminars, and on-line instructor for RRDC Safe is Fast program.
ROBERT DAVIS – San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Senior VP Mazda North America, overseeing all U.S. sales, marketing, parts and service, dealer affairs, p.r, and owner loyalty programs. In 20 years of various management positions, led Mazda into North American racing, from karting to sports cars. Created MAZDASPEED driver development ladder (now Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy) and Road to Indy programs for driver development. Drives Mazda RX-8 in NASA events and Mazda 787 Group C Le Mans car in vintage events.
EDSEL FORD II – Dearborn, Mich.
Great-grandson of Henry Ford, son of Henry Ford II, and board member of Ford Motor Co. Developed an early interest in racing as a teenager during the Ford GT40 Le Mans program. Worked for Carroll Shelby in 1966, and was instrumental in Shelby’s involvement with Ford in the new GT project in 2003. Former head of Ford Australia and Ford Motor Credit. Owns Pentastar Aviation. During the past 10 years has revived Ford’s racing culture, including its planned return to Le Mans in 2015.
T.E. MCHALE – Torrance, Calif.
For 18 seasons (1978-95) covered the beat for the Mansfield News Journal, including all events at Mid Ohio. Moved to contract work as a Pit Note Specialist in-market advance man for CART in 1996, then News Manager at CART from 1997-01, Communications Director for the Trans-Am Series 2002, and Manager of Motorsports Public Relations/Communications at American Honda 2003-present. Was pivotal in creating the relationship through which Honda became the presenting partner of RRDC’s Safe is Fast program.
ALWIN SPRINGER – Mission Viejo, Calif.
Legendary figure in Porsche racing. Worked initially as head of Porsche racing vehicles for Vasek Polak 1969. Co-founded ANDIAL in 1975, and was VP for over 21 years (1975-96), providing racing services to a wide spectrum of Porsche race car teams, including the Porsche 962s which won 50 IMSA races in the mid-’60s. Consultant to Porsche Motorsport N.A. 1990-96, President of Porsche Motorsport N.A. from 1997-04, then consultant again 2004-present.
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club’s membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.
In 2011, the RRDC launched a free on-line training seminar – SAFEisFAST.com – featuring more than 30 RRDC members and other industry experts in high-quality videos covering subjects from physical and mental preparation to driving techniques, driver safety to car setup and sponsorship. The videos are updated regularly. Each week, a professional from the world of motor racing answers readers’ questions on the site in a feature called “Ask a Pro.”
Bobby Rahal is President, John Fergus is Vice President/Treasurer, and Tom Davey is Secretary.
The RRDC presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award, the Mark Donohue Award, and the Bob Akin Award, and 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. For more information, visit www.rrdc.org.
[Source: RRDC; photo: Autosports Marketing Associates]