HILLIARD, OHIO . . . Three-time Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) champion and Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal has accepted an offer from Ford Motor Company to become CEO of Jaguar Racing, the company's Formula One racing team effective December...
HILLIARD, OHIO . . . Three-time Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) champion and Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal has accepted an offer from Ford Motor Company to become CEO of Jaguar Racing, the company's Formula One racing team effective December 1.
Rahal has been involved with CART since 1982, first as a driver, then later as a driver/owner, and following his retirement from the cockpit in 1998 as a full-time owner. Rahal has been serving as the interim President and CEO of CART, a position from which he will resign at the conclusion of the current season. He will continue in his role as Team Rahal President. "This was not an easy decision to make," said Rahal. "First it was an honor to be considered for the position and I want to thank Neil Ressler just for considering me. When I first approached Ford in 1996 about establishing a working relationship with Team Rahal, I had no idea that those conversations would lead us to this point. When our partners at Ford extended this opportunity to me, I told them I needed time to consider this and to ponder its effects on Team Rahal and CART. Many of those answers came when I accepted the interim CEO position with CART in June. Team Rahal has excelled without my continuous involvement and is in a position to win the 2000 Championship. With my team showing me that they are capable of excelling with my attention directed elsewhere, I have looked for challenges where my involvement will better aid the sport of open-wheel racing. In my role with CART I have tried to enact some lasting changes which will better position the series in the years to come. Having accomplished those goals I now turn my attention to a wonderful opportunity, an opportunity to help a valued business partner, Ford Motor Company establish a premier international racing program." "As a friend I am thrilled for Bobby and encouraged him to accept this position," said Team Rahal co-owner David Letterman. "Managing the Jaguar Formula One team will be another addition to an already great racing legacy. As a partner in Team Rahal, I know his new responsibilities and the associations that go with them will only enhance our Champ Car effort. Bobby wouldn't have it any other way." Scott Roembke, Team Rahal General Manager, acknowledged that Rahal's new role in Formula One will be beneficial for his Champ Car team. "When Bobby accepted the interim position with CART, the staff at Team Rahal stepped up and answered the challenge. Bob's philosophy has always been to hire the best people and give them the freedom and responsibility to do the job. He still will be involved in the ongoing operation of Team Rahal. His dedication to Team Rahal is the same today, as it was when he founded the team in 1992."
"I fully support Jaguar's hiring of Bobby," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "I can't think of anyone with a better blend of business, racing, and organizational expertise, which you absolutely have to have to be successful in Formula One. I think he'll do a great job. As for Team Rahal, I see the same bright future for them today as I saw yesterday. That team is a lot more than just Bobby Rahal, as they've demonstrated since June when he took the reins of CART. Team Rahal has excellent drivers in Max [Papis] and Kenny [Brack], and a great group of engineers and crew. They're finishing very strong this year, and I think they're poised to have a great year in 2001."
During Rahal's time as the interim President and CEO of CART, the series has undertaken a number of initiatives to ensure the continued success of North America's premier open-wheel series. James Hardymon, Chairman of the Board of Directors of CART, acknowledged Rahal's contribution to the series and looked forward to his further involvement. "The Board of Directors wishes to thank Bobby for accepting the responsibilities of this office during the interim period. The CART Board of Directors will continue to rely on Bobby's insight and we wish him well in his future endeavors." Team Rahal is a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio, the team co-owned by three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman currently fields a pair of Championship Cars for Max Papis and Kenny Brack in the CART FedEx Championship Series. The 70-member team enjoys primary sponsorship from Shell Oil Company and Miller Brewing Company.