Mike Rahal, Father of Bobby Rahal, is a Formula One Grand Prix Champion
Mike Rahal was raised in Medina, Ohio – a charming town south of Cleveland with Victorian houses and a bandstand featuring a gazebo bandstand – where he studied history at Denison University before running a wholesale food distributorship before venturing into racing.
He won three championships and 24 races in the CART Indy car series. Additionally, he competed in Formula One as well as 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Early Life and Education
Mike Rahal, father of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby, pursued both wholesale food distribution and an interest in auto racing as his passions. These activities provided their son with the necessary nutrients that enabled him to turn racing into his life’s work.
After finding success in Formula Atlantic, Rahal joined Jim Trueman’s team in 1982 for CART racing – earning a place in the Indianapolis 500 and being named rookie of the year.
Denison University recently established the Michael G. and Barbara Rahal Professorship of History, with Megan Threlkeld taking the reins as its inaugural occupant. Threlkeld’s research is focused on U.S. women’s internationalism between 1900 and 1950 (her first book: Feminism and World Government Activism 1900 to 1950) while her current project looks at domestic and global politics during this century as seen through male eyes.
Mike Rahal has been competing in open wheel races for nearly 30 years, competing in 264 races and winning three championships during that time. As co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing alongside late night talk show host Dave Letterman and businessman Mike Lanigan.
Summer trips to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course have long been a family tradition for the Rahals. Bobby began racing there under his father Mike’s tutelage. It also marks where Mike taught Bobby how to drive.
Rahal ended his six-year winless streak at Mid-Ohio by taking home the Honda Indy 200, going on to place second at Indianapolis Grand Prix before earning two third place finishes to end up sixth in points. For 2024 he rejoined Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driving their No. 02 McDonald’s car sponsored car.
Achievement and Honors
He became the youngest person ever to win a major American open wheel race series race, even though team relations between his driver and Robert Doornbos were difficult throughout their season together.
Rahal stands out from many drivers by owning an American car as well. He currently owns an Amelia T360 from 1975, in addition to owning European racers and owning his cave filled with racing trophies from various motor sports championships.
Bobby Rahal has competed in long-duration races such as Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, showcasing his abilities over long duration. Additionally, he operates Bobby Rahal Automotive Group car dealership chain in Pennsylvania as well as leading Watkins Glen International’s International Motorsports Research Center Governing Council as chairman. Furthermore, Graham Rahal Foundation supports him philanthropically.
Racing can often bring more heartache than victory, yet Rahal has shown incredible fortitude as a team owner to achieve success where others have failed. He was named Interim President and CEO of CART in 2000 before leading his Jaguar Formula One team to victory under championship-winning aerodynamicist Adrian Newey at the wheel.
Graham Rahal has also passed on his passion for racing to his son Graham, who will lead Rahal Letterman Lanigan team this weekend at Mid-Ohio Raceway Park’s Honda Indy 200 race and hopes to add more victories to his already impressive list of IndyCar victories.
Graham Rahal boasts a net worth of $20 Million and has amassed most of it through car racing. Additionally, Graham Rahal is involved with car entrepreneurship – having launched Graham Rahal Performance automotive tuning and parts company as well as being involved with philanthropy as founder chairman of Bobby Rahal Automotive Group of Pennsylvania dealerships.
Robert Woodward Rahal was born 10 January 1953 in Medina, Ohio USA and competed as an auto racing driver in Champ Car for most of his career, winning three titles during that time and owning Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team now. Best-known for winning 1986 Indianapolis 500; also father of Graham Rahal who has become one of the leading sports car racers today.