George Follmer to be honored by RRDC in Long Beach

March 2, 2016 by RRDC
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HILLIARD, Ohio (March 2, 2016) - George Follmer, the only driver to have won both the Trans-Am and Can-Am championships in one year (1972), will be honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club at the 'RRDC Evening with George Follmer presented by Firestone' in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday, April 14, prior to the running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. This is the RRDC's eighth consecutive annual banquet honoring auto racing's most influential leaders and icons.

Previous honorees were Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario Andretti and Bobby Unser. These 'RRDC Evenings' are acknowledged as one of the highlights of the auto-racing social calendar, drawing fans and luminaries from all forms of motorsports.

The Firestone brand will return as presenting sponsor of the RRDC banquet for the seventh straight year.

'When George Follmer got behind the wheel he expected to win and more often than not he did,' said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. 'Whether it was Can-Am, Indy cars, Trans-Am or Formula One, George was a true racer's racer, and Firestone is proud to recognize his career during this year's RRDC Evening.'

The dinner's proceeds will help support the RRDC's young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking program and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997 and has been providing opportunities for talented young American race-car drivers since 1991.

George Follmer's reputation as a driver who 'could drive the wheels off anything' is well-deserved and respected. He's raced in Can-Am, Trans-Am, World Endurance, IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One and IMSA, claiming the 1965 SCCA United States Road Racing Championship, as well as the above-mentioned 1972 Can-Am and Trans-Am titles. He again earned the Trans-Am crown in 1976.

In all, his career boasts 37 professional wins on 22 circuits in four countries.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1934, Follmer eventually moved to California, where, in 1960, he was named the California Sports Car Club's Rookie of the Year, followed by Driver of the Year. Through the '60s and '70s he won the '66 Sebring 12 Hours, was the '68 Trans-Am runner-up to his teammate Mark Donohue and set nine Can-Am track records between '66-'71. He also notched two Formula 5000 wins in 1970.

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Follmer's first Formula One start in 1973 resulted in a sixth-place finish for the UOP Shadow team at the South African Grand Prix, followed by a third at the Spanish Grand Prix. He also placed second in both Can-Am and IROC that year.

'George Follmer was a champion who lived through the greatest era of sports-car racing, the 'glory years' of the '60s and '70s,' said Bobby Rahal, president of the RRDC. 'His reputation for trading paint and bashing fenders was well documented and, remarkably, highly respected. His goal was to win, and he did!

'In 2012 the RRDC honored him with the Phil Hill Award,' continued Rahal. 'George has received many awards in recent years, which he richly deserves. The RRDC is pleased to honor this living legend in Long Beach.'

'To be recognized by the RRDC for my many years in racing is certainly a thrill,' said Follmer. 'And I'm glad to see Firestone continues to be the presenting sponsor of these terrific dinners. Personally, without Firestone's support in 1965, my first year of pro racing, my career may not have happened. They made many things possible, and I will always be indebted to them. I look forward to a great evening with many of my peers and friends.'

The RRDC Evening with George Follmer presented by Firestone will be held on Thursday, April 14, at the Hilton Hotel, 701 West Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, Calif., with cocktails at 6 p.m., and dinner at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $200 per person ($175 for RRDC members) if purchased in advance, and space is limited. Sponsor packages are also available. This event is expected to sell out quickly. All are welcome and early reservations are recommended. Please contact Jeremy Shaw at

About Firestone Racing:

The Firestone brand has appeared in world-class motorsports events across the globe since its first documented victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 Mile Race® in 1911. Since 2002, Firestone has served as the Official Tire of the Verizon IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis 500, which has been won by a Firestone-equipped driver 66 times in its 99-year history. This season marks the 17th consecutive year that every driver competing at the Indianapolis 500 and in the Verizon IndyCar® Series as a whole will rely on the durability and consistency of Firestone racing radials.

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 – – 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 1991.

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

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