MotoAmerica Press release:
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 both Ducati Panigale v2s will be revealed at a future 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 has also a relationship Rahal Paint Protection as well as the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group.
Since he can remember, Graham Rahal has been fascinated by 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.
Ben Spies will lead the Rahal Ducati Moto team as the team principal. He is a five-time AMA Champion (2009 World Superbike Champion), MotoGP winner and 2009 World Superbike Champion. 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 will start with the 82nd Daytona 200. It is a Supersport race without points that takes place at Daytona International Speedway from March 7 to 9. The MotoAmerica series will include a new round on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from August 16-18. This is the track that the Rahals used to call home, when they lived in New Albany, Ohio. MAVTV is broadcasting the Supersport 10-round schedule.
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. We are happy to have a few of these stores and want to continue building our relationship. The racing program is the only way I can do this, and I cannot wait to get started. 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 is a great asset to our program. Not only does he bring a lot more legitimacy, but he also brings success. We can rely on him to put our riders and teams in the best position 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. Richard Varner (founder of MotoAmerica) and Terry Karges were great to work with at the Petersen Museum, Los Angeles. Wayne Rainey was also a friend I met a few year ago. I am a motorcycle racing fanatic, especially Grand Prix Road Racing. Over the years I have met Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson Wayne Rainey, and many others. They have all inspired me and I admire what they have achieved. 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 is XPEL’s 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. It is an honor for us to join forces with Rahal Ducati moto and Ducati. 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 by a team a couple months ago, and was asked if I would like to be a part of the project to use my knowledge and help the riders. For me, it was a simple decision. It’s the perfect time to get them involved in the series, with the Rahal name and the partnership with Ducati. They are doing an excellent job on the global stage. MotoAmerica has seen a big increase in popularity with fans over the last two to three years, so it’s a good time for a revival. I think it’s great that the Rahals will be bringing in a new team. They may even bring in a couple of other companies. 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.”