The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach will add Willy T. Ribbs and Oriol Servia to their Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on Thursday.
Ribbs, a native of California, and Servia, who hails from Catalonia and has called Southern California home for most of his open-wheel career, will be inducted in a ceremony led by Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia ahead of the IndyCar season finale on the city’s shoreline streets.
“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,” he said.
For Ribbs, Long Beach played an important early role in his career as racing on the undercard for the Formula 1 event in 1978 and again in 1982, when he earned pole position in the Formula Atlantic race and led, which elevated his stature as a talent on the rise.
More importantly, Long Beach also played host to Ribbs’ first CART IndyCar Series start, which came in 1990 with the Raynor Motorsports team and set in motion his history-making run the following year where he became the first African American driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
Servia’s history at Long Beach spans Indy Lights, CART, Champ Car, and the NTT IndyCar Series, with which he made 13 starts. Although he won’t be racing this weekend, Servia will be active behind the wheel of a Honda Civic Type R as IndyCar’s pace car driver.
“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. “It is an honor for us to acknowledge their outstanding careers with membership in the Motorsports Walk of Fame.”