Long Beach, CA - On Thursday, September 23, two longtime veterans of racing on the streets of Long Beach—Willy T. Ribbs and Oriol Servia—will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, a collaborative celebration with the City of Long Beach and Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.
Ribbs and Servia had been scheduled to be inducted into the Walk of Fame in 2020, but the pandemic canceled those plans. They will finally get their due next month.
"Willy T. Ribbs and Oriol Servia both made history as drivers, and it is a privilege to welcome them back to Long Beach and honor them on the Motor Sports Walk of Fame,” said Mayor Robert Garcia, who will present both drivers with commemorative medallions.
The 15th annual ceremony, open to the public, will take place at 11 a.m. on South Pine Avenue in front of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center as part of the festivities surrounding the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Ribbs, a native of San Jose, made his American racing debut at Long Beach in the Formula Atlantic Series in 1978 and won the Atlantic pole in 1982. Ribbs also competed at Long Beach twice in Indy Cars. In 1991, he was the first African-American driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. His racing career also includes such accolades as being named Rookie of the Year in the 1983 Trans-Am Series, a series in which he won 17 races during his career. Ribbs also was named the IMSA GTO Series Driver of the Year in 1987 and 1988, and he has raced in NASCAR and the Craftsman Truck Series.
Born in Spain, Servia came to the U.S. for the 1998 Indy Lights series, finishing 19th in his first race at Long Beach, then going on to win the series title in 1999. He has competed in Indy Cars 13 times on the local city streets, with a best-finish second place in 2007, and also has raced in the American Le Mans, Rolex Grand-Am and Formula E series.
“Both drivers have exhibited extraordinary racing talent and their contributions to motorsports here and around the world are undeniable,” said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian. “Even though it was delayed, it is still an honor for us to acknowledge their outstanding careers with membership in the Motorsports Walk of Fame.”
The Walk of Fame medallions include renditions of the racers' iconic cars, as well as descriptions of their major achievements in motorsports. For more information, visit www.lbmotorsportswof.com
The induction ceremony kicks off the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, which brought more than 187,000 people to Downtown Long Beach in 2019. For more information, visit gplb.com
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