RRDC Evening with Brian Redman Draws Racing Elite in Long Beach
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A crowd of 350 people representing all forms of motorsports, from NHRA to INDYCAR and sports-car racing, turned out for the RRDC Evening with Brian Redman presented by Firestone on Thursday to honor the racing legend. This was the Road Racing Drivers Club's fifth consecutive annual banquet held prior to the running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The proceeds of the dinner help support the RRDC's young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking SAFEisFAST.com program and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997.
RRDC president Bobby Rahal conducted a spirited interrogation of Redman, in the style of the Late Show with David Letterman, which educed a number of previously-unheard accounts from Redman's storied four-decade career as a sports-car, Formula 1 and F5000 racer.
RRDC member Sam Posey's elegant video tribute to Redman, who won the F5000 race at the inaugural 1975 Long Beach Grand Prix, was one of the highlights of the evening, while RRDC member David Hobbs' video ragging his longtime friend brought the expected laughter to the room. Other videos recalled Redman's racing successes as a driver for a number of automobile manufacturers over the years, including Ferrari, Porsche and BMW. Porsche and BMW joined Firestone and Honda to support the RRDC Evening with Brian Redman. (An edited video of the evening will be posted soon on www.rrdc.org
Previous RRDC honorees were recognized, which included Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones and Jim Hall. Roger Penske, honored in 2011, was unable to attend.
"As a teenager going to Sebring and Watkins Glen in the late '60s and early '70s I got to watch Brian drive against the best drivers in the world," said Rahal. "He was clearly one of them. He was an advocate for me early in my career, and I had nothing but the greatest admiration for him as a driver and as a human being. As a race-car driver I look at what he's done and I think, man, I wish I could have done just half of that. He's a super guy and is such a humble person. He never sought the spotlight and yet he achieved successes that most of the best race-car drivers in the world never did. It was kind of a best-kept secret. Hopefully after tonight that secret is no longer such a big one. I'm really pleased that so many people came out to celebrate him."
"I think this evening was really fantastic, especially following in the paths of the previous honorees," said Redman, alongside Marion, his wife of more than 50 years. "I never put myself in their category, so it's a great honor. I'm absolutely delighted. The RRDC has evolved and is continuing to evolve into a really major force in the world of motorsports. Congratulations to Bobby and the members of the RRDC."
Born in Burnley, Lancashire, England, in 1937, Redman was a member of World Championship for Makes winning teams in 1968, ‘69, ‘70 and ‘72, a three-time U.S. F5000 champion (1974-76), and the 1981 IMSA Camel GT and 1971 South African Springbok champion. He is a past president of the RRDC and remains active in historic racing and as a motorsports consultant.
About the RRDC: 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 – www.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."
President Bobby Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 winner and is co-owner with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan of the 2004 Indianapolis 500-winning Rahal, Letterman, Lanigan Racing team. Ten-time SCCA National champion John Fergus (who also has three Pro Sports 2000 crowns and one IMSA championship) is the Club’s Vice President/Treasurer, and five-time SCCA National champion Tom Davey is the Secretary.
In addition to RRDC members lending their expertise to up-and-coming drivers, the Club presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award for rendering 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 award 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