Brian Redman was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club at the “RRDC Evening with Brian Redman” in Long Beach, California, on Thursday, April 18, 2013, prior to the running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
A crowd of 350 people representing all forms of motorsports, from NHRA to INDYCAR and sports car racing, turned out to celebrate the racing legend. This was the RRDC’s fifth consecutive annual banquet honoring the legends of the sport.
The proceeds of the dinner help support the RRDC’s young driver initiatives, including its 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.
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. But those accomplishments are just a few recorded by this affable competitor who continues to give back to the sport beyond his retirement from professional racing.
He drove for Shadow Racing Cars, McLaren and Cooper in Formula One. He participated in 15 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on January 1, 1968, achieving one podium finish in the ’68 Spanish Grand Prix, taking third place behind F1 World Champions Graham Hill and Denny Hulme.
Redman was a Porsche works driver in 1969-70, driving a Porsche 917K and a Porsche 908/03 for John Wyer. He won eight World Manufacturers Championship races with Jo Siffert, including the grueling Targa Florio in Sicily. He co-drove with Clay Regazzoni and Jacky Ickx for Ferrari before moving to the United States, where he won three straight F5000 championships (1974-76) driving a Jim Hall/Carl Haas Lola. In 1977 he had a serious accident in St. Jovite (Canada), which took him six months to recover from a broken neck, sternum and ribs. In his first race after the accident, he won the ’78 12 Hours of Sebring in a Porsche 935. He then went on to claim the ’81 IMSA GT championship.
Redman’s last year of pro racing was in 1989 at the age of 52, driving for the works Aston Martin team in the World Sportscar Championship. He will race the AMR 1 at the 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in August.
Today, Redman, who is a past RRDC president, lives in Florida where he is active in historic racing and is a motorsports consultant. He often drives a Porsche 908/03 for the Collier Collection and organizes historic events under the Targa Sixty Six banner. He started this organization in 1991 for owners of vintage and modern high-performance and collector cars who do not necessarily wish to race them, but who like to drive at speed under controlled conditions in the company of others who share their interests. He is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the Sebring Hall of Fame, the Talladega Hall of Fame and the Long Beach Walk of Fame.