Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato makes switch to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing


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When team owner Michael Andretti was shopping his Verizon IndyCar Series team between Honda and Chevrolet during the summer months, Takuma Sato and his agent Steve Fusek couldn’t afford to waste any time. They had to find a suitable ride for the Honda driver that won the 101st Indianapolis 500 before those rides were taken.

Ultimately, Andretti decided to remain with Honda but by that time it was too late as Sato had reached an agreement to return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Sato couldn’t talk about it, however, because of “breach of contract,” but Andretti could and he did when he told Autoweek Sato had signed with Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing back in August, taking away the impact of Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s big announcement.

Finally, early Wednesday morning, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had a chance to make its “official” announcement that it would become a two-car team with this year’s Indy 500 winner joining young American racing star Graham Rahal beginning in 2018. Sato drove for that team in 2012.

“I’m excited about having Taku back with us,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.  “I have such admiration for his spirit and how he approaches everything and was so happy for him when he won the Indy 500 this year.  The chance to bring him back to the team was too good to pass up. 


Gallery: Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato visits studio creating his Borg-Warner Trophy image



“He and Graham get along very well and we will have two strong cars that can win any race in 2018.  I think that will give our team a great chance at being contenders in every race but it’s also going to give each of our drivers a chance to have their best years ever.  I’m excited about it and even though the 2017 season just concluded, I can’t wait for the 2018 season to start.” 

Sato, a native of Tokyo, Japan, has made 135 starts in the IndyCar Series since his rookie season in 2010.  His Indy car highlights include wins in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and the 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and a total of six podium finishes.  In addition, he has earned seven Indy car poles and led a total of 471 laps.  Prior to joining the IndyCar Series, he competed in 90 Formula One races between 2002-08 with his highest finish of third at the 2003 United States Grand Prix.  While with RLL, his best finishes were third in Sao Paulo and second in Edmonton, which was his best series finish at the time.

“I am extremely happy to be back with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” Sato said.  “Bobby, Dave and Mike have always been very supportive of me.  The team has been ultra-competitive the past few seasons. I can’t wait to be a part of it in 2018.  I think we can achieve some great things together.”
















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