Long Beach, CA—In the annals of the racing scene, there has been no shortage of characters who keep the color and personality that creates the legends. David Hobbs, who was honored tonight by the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) at their 11th annual Long Beach banquet, has garnered the accomplishments and gave the capacity audience here the room-filling personality that we all have admired for so long.
The RRDC’s annual event, which classically takes place on the eve of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, is a genuine who’s – who of racing. Legendary drivers such as Mario Andretti, George Follmer and John Morton, dined alongside team principals like Chip Ganassi, and Zak Brown — who was spied having a rather close conversation with youngest-ever IndyCar winner Colton Herta.
Hobbs joins an elite group of drivers, honored each year at the dinner that benefits the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its groundbreaking SAFEisFAST.com presented by Honda program. Previous honorees are Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, George Follmer, Emerson Fittipaldi and Johnny Rutherford.
Each year a short video written and voiced by Sam Posey, kicks off the show and a David Letterman-styled interview led by Bobby Rahal, roasts the honoree. As expected, many laughs and memories were shared. Rahal covered Hobbs’ 60 years in the sport, beginning when he raced his mum’s Morris Oxford in 1959. They discussed his 20 starts at Le Mans without a victory, his brief Formula 1 career, and his time in the Formula 5000, Trans-Am, Can-Am and IMSA series.
Hobbs, in his brief and humble acceptance speech said, “Being the honoree here tonight has been one of the biggest things that’s happened to me in 60 years of racing and I still really do feel so honored to be with people like Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones. To me, it all seems wrong. I shouldn’t really be here, because those were true greats of racing. I feel so honored to be honored tonight, so thank you very much.”