The following is from Rahal Ducati Moto…
Graham Rahal has been part of the auto racing world since before he was born but the six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winner is branching out to the two-wheel racing world with the creation of Rahal Ducati Moto, a two-bike team with his father, 1986 Indy 500 and three-time INDYCAR champion, Bobby, that will compete in the Supersport class of MotoAmerica, North America’s premier motorcycle road racing series. The riders of the two Ducati Panigale V2s will be announced at a later date.
XPEL, a leading provider of protective films and coatings, including automotive paint protection film, surface protection film, automotive and commercial/residential window films, and ceramic coatings, will be the primary sponsor for the bikes in a multi-year deal. The San Antonio-based company also has a relationship with Rahal Paint Protection and the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group.
For as long as Graham Rahal can remember, he has had a fascination with Ducatis. He purchased his first one in 2007 – a yellow 1098S – with prize money from his Champ Car rookie season, and he continued to collect various models over the years but owning a Ducati dealership – or two – or especially a Ducati race team was beyond his wildest imagination.
To set the team up with the best chance of immediate success, Rahal Ducati Moto is bringing in five-time AMA Champion, 2009 World Superbike Champion and MotoGP race winner Ben Spies as team principal. The bikes will be prepared for competition for the 2024 season at Rahal Ducati Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana, and then move to the all-new GR Brands headquarters in Zionsville, Indiana, which Rahal broke ground on earlier this year and is scheduled to be completed in the winter of ‘24.
The 2024 MotoAmerica season begins with the 82nd running of the historic Daytona 200, a non-points-paying Supersport race that will take place at Daytona International Speedway, March 7-9. New to the MotoAmerica series will be a round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 16-18, the home track for the Rahals, who previously resided in New Albany, Ohio. The 10-round Supersport schedule will be broadcast by MAVTV.
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GRAHAM RAHAL, Rahal Ducati Moto Co-Owner: “This has been a long time coming and something I have wanted to do since we got the Ducati brands. Having a couple of those stores now has been great and we want to continue to build our relationship. There is no better way to do that than through the racing program and I am excited to get going. None of this would be possible without XPEL, a brand that I have a long-term relationship with through Rahal Paint Protection and I’m eager to see what we can do as a group in the MotoAmerica series. The series has been experiencing impressive growth in recent years and I’m excited to be part of it.
“Having Ben Spies as general manager is a real asset to our program. He gives us a lot of legitimacy but also brings a lot of success and is someone we can lean on to set our riders and team in the best place for success. This is going to be a great adventure for our organization and Ducati and something we can grow into the future and hopefully have some success on the Ducati Panigale V2.”
BOBBY RAHAL, Rahal Ducati Moto Co-Owner: “I’m really pleased that Graham has been able to put this program together with XPEL in the MotoAmerica series. I have enjoyed working with (MotoAmerica founders) Richard Varner and Terry Karges through the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles and met Wayne Rainey a few years ago as well. I have always been a huge fan of motorcycle racing, particularly Grand Prix road racing, and have had the privilege to get to know Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and others over the years and have the greatest respect and admiration for what they were able to achieve all over the world. With Graham’s Ducati dealerships, it certainly seems to make sense for us to be involved. He has a tremendous amount of experience with XPEL through his businesses and we have a growing relationship through our automobile dealerships in Pennsylvania and know them to be a leader in the industry so to join with them for Rahal Ducati Moto is something we are very proud of and looking forward to expanding the relationship with them for years to come.”
MICHAEL MAYALL, XPEL Vice President of Corporate Development: “We are extremely excited to expand our partnerships in motorsports from four wheels to two with the Rahal Ducati Moto team and the MotoAmerica series. Joining forces with Rahal Ducati Moto and Ducati is a thrill for us. At XPEL, our motto is ‘Protect everything,’ and we’re ready to bring our world-class protection to the premier motorcycle racing series.”
BEN SPIES, Rahal Ducati Moto Team Principal: “I’m super excited about the project. I was approached a couple of months ago and asked if I wanted to be part of it to put my knowledge to use to help with the team and the riders and it was a no-brainer for me. Between bringing the Rahal name into the sport and partnering with Ducati, who is doing a great job globally, I think this is the perfect time for them to join forces and come into the series. The last two-to-three years have seen a pretty big uptick for MotoAmerica with the fans so there is a bit of a resurgence going on. The Rahals are coming in right now and will probably pull one or two other companies in to start a team and I look at that as a really good thing. I’m just excited to be back in the paddock and use some of my knowledge to help the team and definitely help the riders on the weekends with strategy and all of that. I’m looking forward to it.”
WAYNE RAINEY, MotoAmerica President: “The Rahals are legends in motorsports. We’ve been in discussion with them for a while to get their group involved in motorcycle racing with MotoAmerica. I’m really excited because we know they are going to be a wonderful addition to our paddock and the series. Bobby and Graham Rahal have been involved in auto racing for a long time and have been successful in many different series, and they’ve earned a lot of championships. All of us are super excited to have a team with the Rahal’s prestige in our motorcycle road racing championship. To me, it really shows how far MotoAmerica has come these last nine years.”