BEYOND THE GRID: US racing legend Bobby Rahal on living the American F1 dream

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Bobby Rahal is arguably best known for his Indy 500 triumphs, but as a young racer growing up in America in the 60s, the people he idolised were Phil Hill, Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti - drivers who had made it across the Atlantic to drive in Formula 1.

He dreamt of doing the same; of travelling to Europe to race at the circuits he'd read about in magazines and going wheel to wheel with his racing heroes.

BEYOND THE GRID: Check out the archive of our podcast here

After making a name for himself on US road circuits and putting in some stand-out performances in Formula 3, that F1 opportunity came in 1978 when Walter Wolf offered Rahal a seat alongside Jody Scheckter at the US and Canadian Grand Prix.

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They were the last two races of the season and, sadly, they would be the first and last races that Rahal would contest in Formula 1.

Although his time at the top was brief, Rahal’s legacy lives on as one of a handful of American drivers to have made it to F1.

In this episode, Rahal addresses the need for more US drivers on the grid and he winds back the decades to reveal the passions that fuelled his love of European motorsport, his journey to F1 and what really happened at those two races back in 1978.

Hear Rahal's fascinating insight either in the audio player above – or by clicking here to listen on your preferred podcasting platform.


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