HILLIARD, Ohio (January 3, 2017) – Twenty-five race-car drivers and motorsports professionals were voted into the Road Racing Drivers Club in 2016. The group includes 17 Regular Members from the open-wheel and sports-car racing ranks, five Associate Members and three Honorary Members. The current roster of RRDC members now numbers 510. Voting was held among all current RRDC members.
“The RRDC is proud to announce the latest roster of new members to the organization,” said president, Bobby Rahal. “We are honored to welcome a group of outstanding racing champions and high achievers in the auto-racing arena. It’s clear that they are not only accomplished representatives of the sport, they have conducted themselves honorably off the track, 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 other series, such as vintage and historic events. Associate members also 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 17 new Regular Members:
JONATHAN BENNETT – Charlotte, N.C.
Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge Driver Champion, 2014-15.
MATTHEW BRABHAM – Indianapolis, Ind.
The 2012 USF2000 Champion; 2013 Pro Mazda Champion.
GABBY CHAVES – Indianapolis, Ind.
The 2009 Formula BMW Americas Champion; 2013 Indy Lights Champion; 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI – Key Biscayne, Fla.
Three-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype Champion (with Joao Barbosa), 2014-16; three-time Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup Champion, 2014-16 (with Joao Barbosa).
JOHN FITZPATRICK – Lapworth, England
The 1966 British Saloon Car Champion; the 1972 and ’74 European GT Champion; Porsche Cup titlist in 1972, ’74 and ’80; plus 1980 IMSA GT Champion. [That’s John on the front page.]
GEORGE FIZELL – Tucson, Ariz.
The 1984 SCCA President’s Cup winner; earned four SCCA National Championships in Formula Vee.
SAGE KARAM – Nazareth, Pa.
The 2010 USF2000 National Champion; 2013 Indy Lights Champion; 35-time World Karting Assn. and IRL Stars of Karting National champion.
JOEL MILLER – San Diego, Calif.
The 2006 ICA North American Champion; 2013 Rookie of the Year in Rolex Grand-Am Championship; driver coach.
SPENCER PIGOT – Pasadena, Calif.
The 2015 Indy Lights champion; 2014 Pro Mazda Champion; 2010 Skip Barber Racing Series National Champion.
JEFF PURNER – Birmingham, Ala.
The 1985 Skip Barber Racing Series Champion; 1990 IMSA Firestone Firehawk GS Champion; 1993 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year.
ALEXANDER ROSSI – Indianapolis, Ind.
The 2016 Indy 500 champion and Indy Rookie of the Year; competed in five F1 races in 2015 before switching to IndyCar.
AMY RUMAN – Kent, Ohio
The 2015 and 2016 Trans-Am Champion; first female Trans-Am Champion in the 50-year history of the Series.
JORDAN TAYLOR – Apopka, Fla.
The 2013 DP-class Champion in Rolex Grand-Am Championship (with Max Angelelli).
RICKY TAYLOR – Lake Mary, Fla.
The 2006 Skip Barber Karting Shootout Scholarship winner; competes with brother Jordan in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
AL UNSER JR. – Henderson, Nev.
The 1981 Super Vee Champion; 1982 SCCA Can-Am Champion; two-time Indy 500 winner, 1992 and ’94; two-time IndyCar Champion, 1990 and ’94.
ALEX WURZ – Austria
Retired pro driver; two-time 24 Hours of LeMans winner; F1 consultant, driver coach, president of the GPDA.
JEFF ZWART – Long Beach, Calif.
The 1990 SCCA U.S. Pro Rally Open Class Champion; 2004 Baja 1000 Challenge Class Champion; Pikes Peak International Class Championships, 1994-98, 2002, 2010; directs high-performance TV commercials around the world.
The five new Associate Members are:
CRAIG BENNETT – Milford, Mich.
The 1987 SCCA National GT-1 Division Champion and Rookie of the Year; currently VP of RM Motorsports (high-end race-car/road-car restorations).
JOHN DOONAN – Plainfield, Ill.
Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations since 2011; licensed race-car driver since 1995, competing in SCCA, IMSA, IndyCar, etc.
DOUG FEHAN – Birmingham, Mich.
Program Manager for Corvette Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 24 Hours of LeMans; raced a Chevelle stock car in USAC in late ’60s.
DON KITCH JR. – Bellevue, Wash.
Veteran of more than 25 years and 200 pro and amateur racing starts; founded, with wife Donna, the ProFormance Racing School, where he is chief instructor; helped develop the Team Seattle “Heart of Racing” program at Alex Job Racing.
ED PINK – Van Nuys, Calif.
The drag-racing Hemi engines he’s built over 60-plus years have won races from Midgets to IndyCars; earned Lifetime Achievement Award from Petersen Automotive Museum; also built IMSA, LeMans and NASCAR engines.
The three new Honorary Members are:
WALT CZARNECKI – Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Executive Vice President of Penske Corporation; Vice Chairman of the Board of Team Penske. Has 40-year-plus tenure with Penske.
CHRIS POOK – Long Beach, Calif.
Creator of the annual Grand Prix of Long Beach, in its 43rd year; has also created temporary racing venues in Las Vegas, Dallas, Meadowlands, N.J., Denver, Del Mar, Calif., and St. Petersburg, Fla. Has served on the F1 Commission of FIA.
ANDREW SCRIVEN – Denver, N.C.
Draftsman on the 1984 Tiga Race Cars; produced the 1985 design for the GT285 IMSA Lights/C2 Car; currently is Chief Designer for Aerospace, Military and Racing projects for Crawford Composites, LLC.