Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sato Earned His Best Series Finish of Third in the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Nestlé – Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 29, 2012

 

SATO EARNED HIS BEST SERIES FINISH OF THIRD IN THE ITAIPAVA SAO PAULO INDY 300
 

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It is a fantastic feeling to finish third. It was an eventful race starting from the back of the grid.  I needed to fight back so hard to get the posi­tions back.  The first part of the race was really hard, not neces­sarily on the over­taking but to follow the strategy, and at one stage we had a pit speed penalty but we grad­u­ally moved up.  One-by-one we over­took cars which was very exciting.  In the end, the restart got me into a great place; it was very exciting for me. There is always oppor­tu­nity on a restart but you never know until you hit the brake because there is no plan basi­cally.  When Helio and Dario were in front of me, two wide, initially I thought there was no chance but when I saw their braking point was earlier than I expected I saw a little oppor­tu­nity to dive inside. I was confi­dent that I would make the corner so I was very excited. Finally, after a diffi­cult weekend, it is a relief to get this result and I am really pleased to bring the team a third place and see the first check­ered flag of the season. It was a great day.”

 

FAST FACTS: After starting 25th, Sato over­took four cars on the opening lap but was chal­lenged by a pit speed penalty after his first stop that dropped him to the back again.  Once a caution came out the effect was negated.  Later he jumped from 19th to 11th on a restart that spun Dario Fran­chitti around and involved many cars.  After he made his second stop, he came out in 16th place and began to pass cars one at a time. He worked his way up to second place before his final pit stop on green Lap 54 of 75 and returned to the track in 12th and worked his way forward as others pitted.  On the restart with seven laps to go, he dashed on the inside and passed the cars of Fran­chitti and Helio Castron­eves in Turn 1 for third place. Behind him, there was another multi-car acci­dent that brought out the final caution. It retuned to green on Lap 71 and he held the posi­tion to earn his best series finish of third place… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led two of the first three races but failed to finish due to mechan­ical failure (St. Pete & Barber) and “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay ( Long Beach) on the final lap en route to a career best finish of third… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to seventh with 83.

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato:  (On the move Sato made for third:) “That move was classic Takuma in the fact that he never gives up.  I think he was absolutely and utterly on the limit going into Turn 1 but he made it stick so fair play to him.  Going into the race this after­noon was always going to be diffi­cult and we needed an element of luck to make any progress from starting 25th on the grid after the engine failure we had yesterday.  He drove a sensible race although we had a pit speed penalty which rele­gated us back to 26th and we had to do it all over again.  To finish in third place after starting at the back of the grid shows that we had a compet­i­tive car and he drove a sensible race.  We followed a classic three-stop strategy and were helped by the yellows and managed to achieve our goal of finishing the race first and fore­most and also doing so with a podium.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT SAO PAULO This marked the FIRST time for RLL to compete in the Indy car race in Sao Paulo and sixth overall in Brazil.  Team Rahal competed in CART-sanctioned events in Rio de Janeiro from 1996 – 2000 with Bobby Rahal (1996 – 1998), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 00), and Kenny Brack (2000).  The best start for the team on the 1.86-mile, D-shaped oval in Rio was third by Rahal in 1997. The team’s best finish in Brazil is fourth, by Herta (1998) and Papis (1999). Over the 10 entries between 1996 – 00, the team had four top-five and eight top-10 starts as well as two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. (chart avail­able) 

NEXT UP:  The team will return to the United States tonight and begin prepa­ra­tion for the Indi­anapolis 500. Michel Jour­dain will be on track on Thursday, May 10 for refresher laps during Rookie Orien­ta­tion.  Opening Day for the Indy 500 is Saturday, May 11.  RLL won the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and team owner Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indy 500. The team led the closing laps of the 2011 race with Bertrand Baguette but had to pit for fuel with a few laps to go.

Sato Was Unable to Make a Qualifying Attempt For the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Due to Engine Change; Will Start 26th


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Nestlé – Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, April 28, 2012

SATO WAS UNABLE TO MAKEQUALIFYING ATTEMPT FOR THE ITAIPAVA SAO PAULO INDY 300 DUE TO AN ENGINE CHANGE AND WILL START 26TH

POLE: Will Power                   1:21.4045 / 122.2611 mph      (set in Round 3)

26th:    Takuma Sato              No time / No speed                

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It wasn’t a good day for us unfor­tu­nately. The first prac­tice session was cut short because the engi­neers weren’t happy about some para­me­ters and we had to stop early to check the gearbox.  Every­thing ended up okay but the session was cut short which didn’t help us in terms of setting up the car. And then in the second prac­tice I only ran a few laps before we had an engine problem which led to us not being able to take part in qual­i­fying because of the amount of time it took to change the engine. The long straight with heavy braking here means you can over­take but starting from the back it is going to be tough. We will fight back to gain posi­tions tomorrow and hope­fully we will have a strong package.  We will see how the car will be in the warm-up tomorrow.  I don’t mind whether it is a dry race or a wet race. To go from the back of the grid in the wet would be quite diffi­cult in terms of visi­bility but there is more of a chance to go forward. In a dry race, real­is­ti­cally it would be very diffi­cult to get a top result but nothing is impos­sible. It will be an exciting race for sure.”

 

FAST FACTS: Will make his third start at this track. He qual­i­fied 10th for the 2010 and 2011 races and his best finish of eighth place came in 2011 after he led 23 laps in the rain-soaked, and then-postponed event – both for KV Racing Tech­nology.  He retired in 22nd in 2010 after contact. In the 2011 race, Sato came up 10 minutes short of poten­tially claiming his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory. The race was post­poned from Sunday due to poor visi­bility caused by persis­tent rain and approaching dusk. On Monday, the race resumed from Lap 15-on with a time limit but the rain continued as well.  Sato led Laps 26 – 48 in the timed race that ended after Lap 55. Had a caution flag come out while Sato was leading, he may have been able to stretch his fuel and claim victory but the race stayed green and he was forced to pit on Lap 48 of what became a 55-lap race and finished eighth, which is his best series finish to date here… Sato competed in Formula One races in Brazil five times (2002, 2004 – 2007) with a best start and finish of sixth place – both in 2004 for BAR-Honda… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led two of the first three races but failed to finish due to mechan­ical failure (St. Pete & Barber) and “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay ( Long Beach) on the final lap en route to a career best finish of third… Is ranked 16th in series points with 48.

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motor­sport Oper­a­tions:  “We are obvi­ously not in the posi­tion we wanted to be in for the start of tomorrow’s race. We had an engine problem in the second session and a little bit of a trans­mis­sion problem in the first session so it has been a diffi­cult day mechan­i­cally for us.  When it is only a two day event it is obvi­ously not the scenario you want for the driver or engi­neers.  Fortu­nately Takuma has been here two years and knows the track well. The engi­neers are doing a great job with what little infor­ma­tion we have been able to give them. In one way we are fortu­nate that this problem was recti­fied by taking parts from the spare car and Honda is giving us a fresh engine so we are hoping for a good race result tomorrow. Starting at the back to me isn’t that crit­ical if you are outside the top-10. I think it gives more oppor­tu­nity with strategy. There are some big windows here and hope­fully the race will go the distance with some good weather which hasn’t happened the past two years here.  The fans deserve a full distance race and hope­fully we can have that tomorrow. In all prob­a­bility it will be a three stop race with big windows and Bobby will have an oppor­tu­nity to make some strategic deci­sions and put us up front tomorrow.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT SAO PAULO This will mark the FIRST time for RLL to compete in the Indy car race in Sao Paulo and sixth overall in Brazil.  Team Rahal competed in CART-sanctioned events in Rio de Janeiro from 1996 – 2000 with Bobby Rahal (1996 – 1998), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 00), and Kenny Brack (2000).  The best start for the team on the 1.86-mile, D-shaped oval in Rio was third by Rahal in 1997. The team’s best finish in Brazil is fourth, by Herta (1998) and Papis (1999). Over the 10 entries between 1996 – 00, the team had four top-five and eight top-10 starts as well as two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. (chart avail­able) 


NEXT UP:  Morning– warm-up will take place tomorrow from 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. local time and the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 will air on NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, April 29.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com

Michel Jourdain Jr. Returns to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the 2012 Indy 500; Office Depot Mexico to Sponsor Entry

INDIANAPOLIS (April 24, 2012) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that Michel Jour­dain Jr., who brought the team Indy car wins in Montreal and Milwaukee Champ Car World Series races in 2003, will return to the team for the 2012 Indi­anapolis 500. Jourdain’s No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry will be spon­sored by Office Depot Mexico with asso­ciate spon­sor­ship from Rosh­frans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi.

“I am extremely happy about this new oppor­tu­nity,” said Michel Jour­dain, 35.  “My best years profes­sion­ally came with Bobby Rahal.  I have been working out harder than ever to make sure I am as fit as possible. I know it is a huge chal­lenge, to drive at the Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway after so long and with this type of car, but I hope that I will feel at home in a few days.  For me, this is not only a profes­sional project, it is also personal, and having Office Depot Mexico, their suppliers and Rosh­frans supporting me like they did 10 years ago means a lot to me. This shows that we did a good job for them.”

Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Columbia. By the end of April the company will operate 250 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.

“We are very excited about having Michel (Jour­dain) repre­sent us in the most impor­tant race in the world,” said Arturo Hernández Martínez, Subdi­rector de Mercadotecnia, Office Depot® de México.

Jour­dain, who is from Mexico City, returns to open-wheel compe­ti­tion for the first time since 2004. He became the youngest driver to start a Champ Car race to date when he drove at Long Beach in 1996 at the age of 19 years, six months and 12 days old. He made 152 starts in CART and Champ Car from 1996 – 2004 plus three Indy Racing League starts, including the 1996 Indy 500 where he qual­i­fied eighth and finished 13th and the 1996 race in Las Vegas where he finished second in a 28-car field.  He won races in Montreal and Milwaukee in 2003 with Team Rahal and moved to RuSPORT for 2004 when Team Rahal focused solely on the Indy Racing League that season.  With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nation­wide Series from 2005 – 2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series.

“I am pleased to have Michel back with the team,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal.  “When we were last together we had a lot of success and I don’t see any reason why we can’t continue that.  It is also good to repre­sent Office Depot again and their many asso­ciate spon­sors that are making this happen.  We are really pleased for Michel and happy to be a part of this.”

“I have only competed in the Indy 500 once in 1996, but you can always see that this race is the best,” added Jour­dain.  “Bobby and I spoke in Las Vegas, but also I came to the new shop in Indy the first days of January.   I saw in Bobby a big commit­ment to get back to the top in Indy car racing.  With the hiring of Tom Anderson and the very strong engi­neering group, I feel this is the best chance for me to come back strong. Every­body in the team knows that it will take some time for me to readapt to this type of cars and racing, but with the show­ings Takuma (Sato) had in the begin­ning of the season and the team’s history at the Indy 500, I know we can have a strong month of May.”

Jour­dain will turn his first laps in the new Honda-powered DW12 on Thursday, May 10 during the Rookie Orien­ta­tion Program.  Although he will be clas­si­fied as a veteran, the team will be allowed to partic­i­pate in a “refresher” course.  Opening Day for the 96thRunning of the Indi­anapolis 500 is Saturday, May 12.

In three IZOD IndyCar Series races so far in 2012, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has led three times for a total of 27 laps with Takuma Sato with a best finish of eight place in Long Beach.  The team won the 1992 IndyCar cham­pi­onship as well as the 2004 Indi­anapolis 500 from pole.  RLL Indy cars have finished in the top 10 in more than half of its 590 career series starts.

About Office Depot Mexico

Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Columbia. By the end of April the company will operate 250 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing…

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) is based in Hilliard, Ohio and Indi­anapolis, Indiana and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. The team has been competing since 1992 and has earned a total of 20 open-wheel wins with drivers such as Bobby Rahal, Bryan Herta, Max Papis, Kenny Brack, Jimmy Vasser, Michel Jour­dain Jr., Buddy Rice and Ryan Hunter-Reay. It is their first full season of Indy car compe­ti­tion since 2008.

 

- RLL – 

 

 

 

Sato Hopes to Return to the Lead in Brazil; RLL to Compete in First Sao Paulo Race and Sixth in Brazil


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Nestlé – Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Round 4 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

DATE:                                         Saturday – Sunday, April 28 – 29, 2012

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     6:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network April 28; Live on the IMS Radio Network and

www.indycar.com (timing & scoring)

SPECIAL BROADCAST:           INDYCAR 36” will air on NBC Sports Network at 10:30 a.m. ET April 29

RACE BROADCAST:                 Live on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network

RADIO BROADCAST:               The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212

TRACK LAYOUT:                      2.6-mile, 11-turn street course

RACE LENGTH:                        75 laps / 195 miles 

2011 WINNER:                          Will Power

2011 POLESITTER:                  Will Power (1:21.8958; 111.478 mph)

SATO’S HIGHEST ROAD/

STREET COURSE START:      Pole at Edmonton 2011

SATO’S HIGHEST ROAD/

STREET COURSE FINISH:       4th at Mid-Ohio 2011

SATO IN SAO PAULO:              Highest start is 10th (2010 & 2011) and highest finish is 8th in 2011 after leading 23 laps; third race here

RLL’S TOP START/

FINISH AT SAO PAULO:           First race here; sixth race in Brazil after races in Rio de Janeiro from 1996 – 2000


NEWS & NOTES:

FIRST INDY CAR RACE FOR RLL IN SAO PAULO; SIXTH IN BRAZIL
The Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Nestlé marks Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s first time to compete on the Streets of São Paulo.  Previ­ously the team competed in five CART-sanctioned events in Rio de Janeiro from 1996 – 2000 with Bobby Rahal (1996 – 1998), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 00), and Kenny Brack (2000).  The best start for the team on the 1.86-mile, D-shaped oval in Rio was third by Rahal in 1997. The team’s best finish in Brazil is fourth, by Herta (1998) and Papis (1999). Over the 10 entries between 1996 – 00, the team had four top-five and eight top-10 starts as well as two top-five and seven top-10 finishes (chart avail­able). 

SATO’S NEAR WIN IN THE 2011 BRAZIL INDYCAR RACE
The 2012 event will mark Takuma Sato’s third IndyCar Series race here and ninth overall in the country of Brazil.  Sato competed in Formula One races in Brazil at Inter­lagos five times (2002, 2004 – 2007) with a best start and finish of sixth place – both in 2004 for BAR-Honda. In the 2011 IndyCar Series race, Sato came up 10 minutes short of poten­tially claiming his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory. The race was post­poned from Sunday due to poor visi­bility caused by persis­tent rain and approaching dusk. On Monday, the race resumed from Lap 15-on with a time limit but the rain continued as well.  Sato led Laps 26 – 48 in the timed race that ended after Lap 55. Had a caution flag come out while Sato was leading, he may have been able to stretch his fuel and claim victory but the race stayed green and he was forced to pit on Lap 48 of what became a 55-lap race and finished eighth, which is his best series finish to date here.
      
“The first year was my debut race in the IndyCar Series and it was good to start from the top-10,” recalled Sato. “However, sadly, it ended too soon imme­di­ately; after the start so I wasn’t really able to race. The second year was a great memory. It was my first-ever rain race in my IndyCar career but I had great confi­dence about that and was able to move up the field by over­taking several cars and I led a lot of the race. That was extremely exciting. Unfor­tu­nately though, we made a mistake on strategy and I had to come in for a splash of fuel a few laps from the end so we couldn’t achieve what we wanted but it was encouraging.”

SATO IN 2012 – HAS LED TWO OFHREE EVENTS
In three IZOD IndyCar Series races to date, Sato has led two of the three events.  He led the St. Peters­burg season-opening race twice and led once at Round 3 in Long Beach for a total of 27 laps. Unfor­tu­nately he has yet to finish an event after succumbing to mechan­ical failure in St. Peters­burg and Barber Motor­sports Park and was hit on the final lap in Long Beach while en route to his best series finish of third place. He was scored in eighth place. He has a total of 48 points and is ranked 16th in series stand­ings after three of 16 events.

HUGHES ON CREATINGBASELINE SETUP FOR THE TEAM’S FIRST BRAZIL STREET RACE
Sato’s race engi­neer Gerry Hughes joined the team prior to the start of the season and has 24 years of track­side engi­neering expe­ri­ence in series such as Formula One, GP2, A1GP, British Touring Cars, Formula 3 and Opel Lotus. The move reunited Hughes with team co-owner Bobby Rahal, tech­nical director Jay O’Connell and driver Sato.  It is his first season in the IndyCar Series as well as the first time for the team to compete on the street course in Sao Paulo, an event that is in its third year on the series schedule. Hughes discusses the process to create a base­line setup for the team’s first event at the track.
      
“Preparing for the unknown is always a chal­lenge, espe­cially when a team has no histor­ical data on which to draw. Having been in this situ­a­tion before both in Formula One and other formulae, there are a number of key things that I look for, and without giving too much away, you find your­self looking for infor­ma­tion across a range of infor­ma­tion portals, which may include other formulae that have raced at the circuit, from which you can compare data or even, dare I say it — the internet. I have in the past devel­oped circuit simu­la­tions, for a number of circuits that we had never visited and had absolutely no infor­ma­tion for, from Google Earth — F1 purists would be horrified!”

HUGHES ON THE TYPE OF DATA ACCESSED
“Well, in the simplest forms, the IndyCar IRIS website gives one a huge amount of infor­ma­tion about any circuit that one has not visited. Even getting an impres­sion of the EOS (end of straight) and VMax (top speeds), for a given circuit gives one a heads-up on the gearing in top gear of sixth for a given config­u­ra­tion and all of this is valu­able information.”

SATO ON THE 2.6-MILE, 11-TURN STREET COURSE
“I think the Sao Paulo street course is very unique; it has got one of the longest and bump­iest straights followed by such a tight hairpin which requires heavy braking.  The complexes after the second straight are quite narrow and the car needs good trac­tion as well as the ability to quickly change direc­tion so it’s challenging.”

HUGHES ON THE IMPACT OF THE LONGEST STRAIGHTAWAY OF THE SEASON
“The long straight at the Sao Paulo Street Circuit will invari­ably drive set-ups towards lower downforce/drag config­u­ra­tions but overall lap time, as always, will be very driven by the balance between grip versus down­force and the effect that the latter has on tire perfor­mance for a given set of circuit conditions.”

SATO AND HUGHES ON THE CHALLENGING, SHORTER TWO-DAY FORMAT AND WEATHER LIMITATIONS
“Saturday will be a very busy day for everyone for sure,” said Sato. “The mechanics have to work the whole day as there are both prac­tice sessions and qual­i­fying so we have to make sure we won’t have any trouble. Also, the engi­neers won’t have enough time to go through all the details of data and analysis so we need to make very quick deci­sions.  As a driver, I don’t mind driving the whole day!”
      
“Going in to any weekend where there is absolutely no histor­ical data or team expe­ri­ence of a partic­ular circuit is, I suppose, a bit of a daunting expe­ri­ence and is some­what compounded by a two-day race weekend,” added Hughes. “However, as all of these events and circuits are all new to me, I suppose that my perspec­tive is some­what different from others in the team. My expe­ri­ences of the weather in Sao Paulo have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous!”

SATO ON THE BRAZILIAN FANS AND HIS DREAM OF RACING BEING ENCOURAGED BY SENNA
“It’s just fantastic. Brazil has a huge racing history and so many of the greatest drivers are Brazilian. Fans know about racing and I feel tremen­dous passion from them.
      
“I never had a chance to meet him (Senna) but I saw him racing when I was 10 years old and that day my dream (of racing) really started. His speed, the way he raced, his atti­tude and every­thing was all about winning the race.  I like his person­ality as well so he is my hero even today.”

SATO ON JETLAG – AND HIS 20k+ AIR MILES SINCE THE LAST RACE
“Yes, I do get jet lagged but I am just used to it. After Long Beach, I was in Monaco four days, Korea two days, back in Monaco one night and then I came to Brazil.  I spent four nights in an airplane. There is not a secret to dealing with jetlag but to try to stay awake in daytime then you can sleep at night!”

HUGHES ON THE CHALLENGES OFFLY-AWAY” (CARGO) RACES
“IndyCar is a very different series to that of Formula One, where the latter has become predom­i­nantly a ‘flyaway’ race series and the numbers of races actu­ally held in Europe have dwin­dled to only 11 out of the 20 races being held in 2012. Flyaway race events are fun but there is an art to pack­aging team equip­ment and ensuring that the equip­ment being trans­ported is funda­mental to the oper­a­tion of the team and that the culture of ‘we should take just in case’ is care­fully managed. I am not sure of the costs involved in IndyCar but in Formula One currently every 1.0 kgs (2.2 Lbs) of equip­ment being trans­ported costs approx­i­mately $15.00 (both outbound and return), so the costs quickly mount up, and those guys are trans­porting up to 40,000 kgs of equipment!”

HUGHES ON HIS PREVIOUS RACES IN BRAZIL
“The very first driver that I worked with in Formula One came from Sao Paulo and so for me, it is a very special place. Although we will not be racing on the Inter­lagos Circuit, I will enjoy the expe­ri­ence and, as it will be in excess of my 13th visit to the country, I am no stranger to the place or its fine array of meat restaurants!”

 

RLL

Sato Led 16 Laps in the Toyota GP of Long Beach and Was Third on the Final Lap When “Avoidable Contact” by Hunter-Reay Dropped Him to Eighth

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 15, 2012

SATO LED 16 LAPS OF THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH AND WAS THIRD ON THE FINAL LAP WHENAVOIDABLE CONTACTBY HUNTER-REAY DROPPED HIM TO EIGHTH

 

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I haven’t seen the check­ered flag yet this season. It was a very exciting race; right from the start — a hell of a race.  We started from the primary Fire­stone tires and I was surrounded by drivers on alter­nate tires and it was a very hard situ­a­tion for us but I kept the posi­tion. On the restart, I was over­taking and gained a posi­tion and when I was on the alter­nate tires I was driving like crazy; passing Will Power and others and then I led the race.  On the last stint we had to work on the fuel mileage and on the very last lap Ryan Hunter-Reay basi­cally took me out.  There was not enough depth on his over­taking maneuver.  He had a chance for the last few corners so it’s very disap­pointing to finish the race this way.  Again we showed good perfor­mance and we will carry this good momentum to Brazil.”

 

FAST FACTS: Made his third start at this track and almost bettered his series-best finish of fourth place at Mid-Ohio (2010). Due to series penal­ties for unap­proved engine changes, he started sixth after qual­i­fying 13th.  By Lap 12 of the 85-lap race he had moved into third place and took the lead on Lap 20 when a good portion of the field, including two cars ahead, pit under caution. After his first stop on Lap 30, he passed even­tual winner Will Power and moved up from 12th place into third by Lap 41.  He reclaimed the lead on Lap 48 and held it until the second pit stop on Lap 56.  He was in third place when Power passed him and was later passed by even­tual second place finisher Simon Page­naud. Once the field made their final stops, he was in third place and on the final lap, Ryan Hunter-Reay hit Sato’s left rear in Turn 8 and Sato stopped on course.  He was scored with an eighth place finish after being restarted because the majority of the field was stuck behind a multi-car crash that made the hairpin impass­able.  Series offi­cials deemed Hunter-Reay’s contact “avoid­able” and gave him a 30 –second penalty which dropped him from third to sixth… Sato’s previous best start here was 19th and previous best finish was 18th – both for KV Racing Tech­nology in 2010… His best road/street course qual­i­fying was pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is fourth at Mid-Ohio which is also his best overall career IndyCar finish… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led the season-opener in St. Pete two times for a total of 11 laps. In total, he made eight passes on the start/restarts and during the race. He pitted from the lead for his final stop and suffered a mechan­ical failure that resulted in a 22nd place finish… Also made four passes at Barber but retired with mechan­ical failure… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010 – 11… Sato is ranked 16th in the 2012 IndyCar Series stand­ings with a total of 48 points.


BOBBY RAHAL, team co-owner: “I am very disap­pointed for Takuma; he deserved better. I was a tough weekend for the crew with missing a full day on Friday with new cars. I was really pleased with the job Takuma and the crew did.  The engi­neering group of Gerry (Hughes), Jay (O’Connell) and Wayne (Gross) are really working well together on the stand.  We just need some good luck because, right now we aren’t getting it.  But at least we are running up front and at least we are compet­i­tive. That’s the biggest thing; at least we are competing at the front of the grid. It will come.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT LONG BEACH It was the team’s 13th Indy car race in Long Beach and FIRST for RLL to compete in the Indy car race here since 2003 when Michel Jour­dain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ulti­mately retired in 15th place.  In total, the team won three poles (Bryan Herta 1998, Jimmy Vasser 2002, Michel Jour­dain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Kenny Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999).

RLL IS ONLY TEAM TO COMPETE IN LONG BEACH ICS/ALMSDOUBLEHEADER”… This weekend’s race marked the first time for the team to compete in two series on the same weekend in almost five years.  RLL’s ALMS and Indy car teams last competed at the same venue on September 1 – 2, 2007 at Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle.  BMW Team RLL fields two BMW M3’s for drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Bill Auberlen. In four years of competing in Long Beach, BMW Team RLL has finished third in 2009 and 2010 and won in 2011 with Hand and Dirk Müller and finished second yesterday (Hand / Dirk Müller).

NEXT UP:  The series will take next weekend off as the race equip­ment will be packed and shipped via air cargo to Sao Paulo, Brazil for the Sao Paulo Indy 300.  It will be the first time for the team to compete in Sao Paulo and Sato’s third.  He qual­i­fied 10th for the 2010 and 2011 races and his best finish of eighth place came in 2011 after he led 23 laps in the rain-soaked, and then-postponed event.

 

BMW Team RLL at Long Beach — Four Years Four Podiums

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – April 14, 2012… With a second place GT class finish by the No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3 GT in today’s Amer­ican Le Mans Series at Long Beach race, BMW is tied for the manufacturer’s point lead. The second podium of the young ALMS season for Joey Hand and Dirk Müller solid­i­fies their lead in the driver’s standings.


The defending GT driver co-champions started the race from the class pole with Hand at the wheel of the No. 56 BMW M3 GT. Hand led the race for the opening 16 laps until a proto­type ran into him causing a punc­ture of the right rear tire. Hand pitted for fuel and four new tires, returning to the race in the seventh posi­tion. The races only caution period brought him back to the pits on lap 41 where Bobby Rahal made a bold strategic move to not change tires and jump the field in the pits to send the BMW Motor­sport driver out in the lead. Müller lost the lead, but drove a strong stint to extend BMW Team RLL’s Long Beach podium streak to four years.

Team­mates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller, driving the No. 55 M3 GT, finished out of the points in11th. Müller, making his first start at Long Beach, was the victim of a first lap acci­dent that forced him to the pits for lengthy repairs to replace the radi­ator. He returned 13 laps down to the leaders, but put his head down, setting some of the fastest laps of that part of the race. He handed off to Auberlen during the race’s only caution period and the Cali­fornian, who podi­umed here in both 2009 and 2010, did not disap­point his home race fans as he circu­lated at a very fast pace until the check­ered flag.

“A great day for Dunlop,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We double-stinted the tires at Sebring and that’s what got us the win. Here we asked for the same thing. There was no ques­tion that we had to leap frog the field after being hit and having a flat tire. We didn’t have enough to beat the No. 4 Corvette, but we held everyone else off. We’ll take a well deserved second place.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – We won the race at Sebring by double stinting tires and we placed here the same way. It says a lot to have that kind of confi­dence in a tire that not only has the perfor­mance, but it will also go the distance. I know I can’t win the Cham­pi­onship again this year, but I really, really want to do my best to help the team, BMW and Dirk repeat.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT “That race was certainly was another mileage test for Dunlop. Bobby and Chris made the right call and it paid off. I knew I had to go a full stint on tires that had already gone 25 laps so I focused on their manage­ment – not what was behind me.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT “The No. 55 M3 was a rocket ship today, but you need luck at Long Beach. Traffic got stacked up and Jörg got into it. The radi­ator was damaged, but after he went back out he was the fastest car on the track. It hurts to know how hard every­body worked and that we had a car that could win, but could not show it.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GTIt’s disap­pointing that I got trapped in an acci­dent on the second lap. The Corvette braked very hard and I had nowhere to go. We had to change the radi­ator so we lost many laps. After­wards the car was still fast. It’s a shame when you have the real poten­tial to win the race and you don’t get any points.”

Round 3 of the 2012 Amer­ican Le Mans Series will be held at Laguna Seca Raceway on Saturday, May 12.The six-hour race will take the green flag at 1:30 p.m. PDT and will be streamed live on ESPN3.com begin­ning at 4:15 p.m. ET. The race will be rebroad­cast on ESPN2 tele­vi­sion at 5:00 p.m. EDT Sunday, May 13. Live timing and scoring will be hosted on americanlemans.com.

About BMW Team RLL:

 

BMW Group In America

BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and finan­cial service orga­ni­za­tions for the BMW brand of motor vehi­cles, including motor­cy­cles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; Design­work­sUSA, a strategic design consul­tancy in Cali­fornia; a tech­nology office in Silicon Valley and various other oper­a­tions throughout the country.  BMW Manu­fac­turing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manu­fac­turing network and is the exclu­sive manu­fac­turing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehi­cles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales orga­ni­za­tion is repre­sented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motor­cycle retailers, 113 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales head­quar­ters for North America, is located in Wood­cliff Lake, New Jersey.



Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for nearly two decades, compiling 22 victo­ries, 31 poles and two series cham­pi­onships (1992, 2010) as well as claiming an Indi­anapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series. In 2010 the team won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory. In 2011 the team swept all three GT titles — Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver.

 

#      #      #

Sato Qualified 13th for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach; Will Start Sixth Due to Series Penalties to Teams for Unapproved Engine Changes

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, April 14, 2012
 

SATO QUALIFIED 13TH FOR THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: WILL START SIXTH DUE TO SERIES PENALTIES TO TEAMS FOR UNAPPROVED ENGINE CHANGES

POLE: Ryan Briscoe              1:08.6089        (set in Round 3)
13th:    Takuma Sato              1:09.9000        (set in Round 1)
 

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I am disap­pointed to not make it through to Round 2. The track was quite slip­pery in the begin­ning of qual­i­fying and unfor­tu­nately I kissed the wall a little bit and bent the toe-link. Because of the limited time I had to continue and improved the lap time but I couldn’t make it through to Round 2. We will go through the data from today and hope­fully have a good package for the race.  We just need a trouble-free race and we can get a good result.”

 

FAST FACTS: Will make his third start at this track. Previ­ously, his best start here was 19th and best finish is 18th – both for KV Racing Tech­nology in 2010… His best road/street course qual­i­fying was pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is fourth at Mid-Ohio which is also his best overall career IndyCar finish… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led the season-opener in St. Pete two times for a total of 11 laps. In total, he made eight passes on the start/restarts and during the race. He pitted from the lead for his final stop and suffered a mechan­ical failure that resulted in a 22nd place finish… Also made four passes at Barber but retired with mechan­ical failure… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato:  “We were seventh quickest in our qual­i­fying round and a tenth-and-a-half (of a second) would have put us in sixth place and we would have managed to go to Round 2 so we are very disap­pointed given where we felt we could be. And for the first time this year we felt we had the poten­tial to go to Round 2 so it’s been a disap­pointing after­noon. I suppose the only posi­tive to come out of that is that with all the engine penal­ties that Chevy-powered cars will have for tomorrow’s final grid, it means that we will be bumped up in the order but it would be nice to get there on our own merits instead of other people’s misfortunes.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT LONG BEACH 2012 will mark the 21st consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team and 13th Indy car race in Long Beach… This will mark the FIRST time for RLL to compete in the Indy car race at Long Beach since 2003 when Michel Jour­dain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ulti­mately retired in 15th place.  In total, the team won three poles (Bryan Herta 1998, Jimmy Vasser 2002, Michel Jour­dain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Kenny Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999).

RLL IS ONLY TEAM TO COMPETE IN LONG BEACH ICS/ALMSDOUBLEHEADER”… This weekend’s race will mark the first time for the team to compete in two series on the same weekend in almost five years.  RLL’s ALMS and Indy car teams last competed at the same venue on September 1 – 2, 2007 at Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle.  BMW Team RLL fields two BMW M3’s for drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Bill Auberlen. In three years of competing in Long Beach, BMW Team RLL has finished third in 2009 and 2010 and won in 2011 with Hand and Dirk Müller.  Hand, Dirk Müller and third driver Jonathan Summerton started the 2012 season with a win in the 12 Hours of Sebring — the previous ALMS race.  The team’s other entry, driven by Jörg Müller, Bill Auberlen and Uwe Alzen led the race at one point and finished fourth in the ALMS GT class.

NEXT UP:  Morning– warm-up will take place tomorrow from 9:15 – 9:45 a.m. PT the 85-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take the Green Flag at 1:17 p.m.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  NBC Sports Network will begin their race broad­cast at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, April 14.  The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, April 15.  INDYCAR 36” will air on the same network before the race broad­cast at 3:00 p.m. ET and will feature team-owner Bobby Rahal’s son, Graham

Sato Set Second Fastest Lap Time in Practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach; Rain Limited Amount of Running

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
IZOD IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, April 13, 2012

SATO SET SECOND FASTEST LAP TIME IN PRACTICE FOR THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: RAIN LIMITED AMOUNT OF RUNNING

FASTEST:         Marco Andretti  1:17.2298 / 91.737 mph              (11 total laps)
2nd:                  Takuma Sato     1:17.9448 / 90.895 mph              (7 total laps)                  

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It’s a shame for the fans that the weather was unlike the usual Long Beach weather. The first prac­tice session started with damp condi­tions and we ran very few laps just to see how the initial setup was in terms of ride height and those sorts of things.  We didn’t have a proper run today so all of the work is moving to tomorrow. Hope­fully we have a good one-hour session before qual­i­fying. It was too wet for dry tires and too dry for wet tires. I was on a wet patch on dry tires and touched the wall which damaged the front wing but the team fixed it and we will be ready for a good day tomorrow.  We didn’t run in the second prac­tice session because there was no knowl­edge to be gained in the wet. If the weather fore­cast was for rain Saturday or Sunday, we might have run but the fore­cast is for dry weather.”
 

FAST FACTS: Will make his third start at this track. His best start here is 19th and best finish is 18th – both for KV Racing Tech­nology in 2010… His best road/street course qual­i­fying was pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is fourth at Mid-Ohio which is also his best overall career IndyCar finish… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led the season-opener in St. Pete two times for a total of 11 laps. In total, he made eight passes on the start/restarts and during the race. He pitted from the lead for his final stop and suffered a mechan­ical failure that resulted in a 22nd place finish… Also made four passes at Barber but retired with mechan­ical failure… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.

 


TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director of Racing Oper­a­tions:  “Our focus is on reli­a­bility totally and on not beating your­self. In reality, in the first two races we have beat ourselves. We had the issue in St. Peters­burg with the fuel and then we had a partner have a problem at Barber so right now the whole focus and the point is to fix things in house and with our part­ners in order to start running reli­ably. We have shown the speed and I have complete confi­dence in Takuma and our engi­neering depart­ment to under­stand the new Dallara chassis. Right now the issue is about putting a new team and all of the systems in place.  As soon as we stop beating ourselves, the results will come quickly.  The lack of track time due to the rain is more detri­mental to us because what we are short of is prac­tice time. Any time you reduce the amount of running during the weekend, you imme­di­ately put the advan­tage to the more expe­ri­ence drivers and teams so this is a disad­van­tage to us as we return to full­time compe­ti­tion. When you have weather that is going to change dramat­i­cally from the prac­tice day to the race day it is a detriment.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT LONG BEACH 2012 will mark the 21st consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team and 13th Indy car race in Long Beach… This will mark the FIRST time for RLL to compete in the Indy car race at Long Beach since 2003 when Michel Jour­dain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ulti­mately retired in 15th place.  In total, the team won three poles (Bryan Herta 1998, Jimmy Vasser 2002, Michel Jour­dain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Kenny Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999).

RLL IS ONLY TEAM TO COMPETE IN LONG BEACH ICS/ALMSDOUBLEHEADER”… This weekend’s race will mark the first time for the team to compete in two series on the same weekend in almost five years.  RLL’s ALMS and Indy car teams last competed at the same venue on September 1 – 2, 2007 at Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle.  BMW Team RLL fields two BMW M3’s for drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Bill Auberlen. In three years of competing in Long Beach, BMW Team RLL has finished third in 2009 and 2010 and won in 2011 with Hand and Dirk Müller.  Hand, Dirk Müller and third driver Jonathan Summerton started the 2012 season with a win in the 12 Hours of Sebring — the previous ALMS race.  The team’s other entry, driven by Jörg Müller, Bill Auberlen and Uwe Alzen led the race at one point and finished fourth in the ALMS GT class.

NEXT UP:  Prac­tice will take place tomorrow from 10:25 – 11:25 a.m. PT and qual­i­fying will take place from 2:00 – 3:20 p.m.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  NBC Sports Network will air a qual­i­fying show at 6:00 p.m. ET Saturday, April 14.  The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, April 15.

RLL Returns to IndyCar Competition at Long Beach for First Time Since 2003 Pole Effort; Also First IndyCar/ALMS Doubleheader Since 2007

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Pre-Race Notes
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
Round 3 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

DATE:                                        Friday – Sunday, April 13 – 15, 2012

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:    6:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network April 14; Live on the IMS Radio Network and www.indycar.com (T&S)

SPECIAL BROADCAST:           INDYCAR 36” will air on NBC Sports Network at 3:00 p.m. ET April 15

RACE BROADCAST:                Live on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network

RADIO BROADCAST:              The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212

TRACK LAYOUT:                     1.968-mile, 11-turn street course

RACE LENGTH:                        85 laps / 167.28 miles 

2011 WINNER:                           Mike Conway

2011 POLESITTER:                   Will Power (1:09.0649; 102.582 mph)

SATO’S HIGHEST ROAD/

STREET COURSE START:       Pole at Edmonton 2011

SATO’S HIGHEST ROAD/

STREET COURSE FINISH:       4th at Mid-Ohio 2011

SATO IN LONG BEACH:          Highest start is 19th and highest finish is 18th — both in 2010; third race here

RLL’S TOP START/

FINISH AT LONG BEACH:       Poles — Herta (1998), Vasser (2002), Jour­dain (2003) / 2nd — B. Rahal (1992 – 93), Vasser (2002); 13th race in LB

NEWS & NOTES:
FIRST INDY CAR RACE FOR RLL IN LONG BEACH SINCE 2003; LUCKY 13TH RACE HERE?
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing began their 21st consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion in 2012.  The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB) marks the team’s 13th time to compete in the event and their first since 2003 when Michel Jour­dain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ulti­mately retired in 15th place.  Although the team didn’t compete in Indy car races here from 2004 – 2011 while they fielded a full­time entry in the Indy Racing League (2004 – 2008), they did compete in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic races with Danica Patrick and in the 2007 Amer­ican Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. In 2009, the team returned to the streets of Long Beach in the ALMS with BMW Team RLL and finished on the podium each year since then including a win here last year with Joey Hand and Dirk Müller. 

In their 12 previous Indy car races in Long Beach, the team entered 21 cars for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992 – 1998), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 1999), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Kenny Brack (2000 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002) and Jour­dain (2002 – 2003).  In total, the team won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jour­dain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999). The team prepares a full season entry for Japanese driver Takuma Sato in 2012.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING – TWICE THE ACTION WITH TWO SERIES
This weekend’s race will mark the first time for the team to compete in two series on the same weekend in almost five years.  RLL’s ALMS and Indy car teams last competed at the same venue on September 1 – 2, 2007 at Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle.  BMW Team RLL fields two BMW M3’s for drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Bill Auberlen. In three years of competing in Long Beach, the team has finished third in 2009 and 2010 and won in 2011 with Hand and Dirk Müller.  Hand, Dirk Müller and third driver Jonathan Summerton started the 2012 season with a win in the 12 Hours of Sebring, the previous ALMS race.  

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR JAY O’CONNELL ON LOGISTICS & BENEFITS OFRLL DOUBLEHEADER
“From a logis­tics stand­point, it is pretty good to have both teams, engi­neers and etc. at the same site,” said O’Connell, who over­sees both Indy car and ALMS programs.  “Obvi­ously there are different trucks and different paddocks but they are only a few minutes apart and we share the same pit lane so it’s pretty easy to go from one session to the next. Both series are not on track at the same time so it’s just a matter of keeping up on each session and making sure that the engi­neers and drivers on each program are staying on top of each cars perfor­mance.
            “There is defi­nitely some useful infor­ma­tion that can be taken from our races in Long Beach, both in Indy car and ALMS that transfer to the other program.  First of all, our continued aware­ness of Long Beach track details and how the curbing has changed from year to year in some of the different corners helps. And also just knowing the cornering speeds and straight­away speeds to get the gears right to start the Indy car weekend. We can use our Long Beach data from 2003 and we can also use our more recent ALMS data to make sure that the gear ratios are at a good starting point for the first prac­tice in Indy car.”
MONACO RESIDENT SATO ENJOYS ANOTHER FAMOUS STREET COURSE
The 2012 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the third event at the track for Takuma Sato.  He got off to a good start in 2012 when he put RLL in the lead of the St. Peters­burg race in their return to full-season partic­i­pa­tion when he took the posi­tion twice for a total of 11 laps. A mechan­ical issue forced the team’s retire­ment from the race after the final pit stop.  In Round 2, he passed four cars on the Barber Motor­sport Park road course before retiring from that event with mechan­ical failure as well.  He is hoping for a better result in Long Beach.  While competing in Formula One for seven seasons, Sato raced at another famous street course – the Monaco Grand Prix, which is where he currently resides. He enjoys racing in Long Beach each year and enjoys the atmos­phere.
            Long Beach has been known as one of most famous street courses in the world with such a long history. I love the atmos­phere of the place.  I enjoy the fans, being down­town by the water and every­thing; the whole place is just great. I think the local support for Indy car racing is very high and I can see everyone really enjoys the weekend. Unfor­tu­nately I didn’t have a great race either of my previous two years.  There were some unfor­tu­nate situ­a­tions too but I hope we have a good strong weekend this year.”


THE ELUSIVE WIN; FOUR SECOND-PLACE FINISHES FOR RAHAL ASDRIVER & ANOTHER AS OWNER
Rahal competed in Long Beach as a driver eight times (1984 – 1991) and as a driver/owner another seven (1992 – 1998) for a total of 15 events. He finished second four times in Long Beach, the last two times as an owner/driver (1988, 1991, 1992, 1993) and Jimmy Vasser brought the team another second place finish in 2002. A win here in the IndyCar Series race would be his first as a driver or team owner.  Rahal also earned two front row starts (2nd – 1985, 1998) and a total of 11 top-10 starts.


SATO ON THE CHALLENGES OF STREET COURSES
“You have to give it every­thing in racing. We push the car to the limit and some­times it’s less than an inch to the wall so there is no margin for mistake on street courses in general.  And most of the corners are blind because of Armco or the wall so it needs a lot of concen­tra­tion and you have to be very precise, espe­cially.  Those things are what make street racing so chal­lenging.  Also the track surface is gener­ally bumpy and slip­pery and the track revo­lu­tion is big as a lot of rubber is laid down over the course of the weekend which is chal­lenging for getting the balance right from an engi­neering point of view.”


SIMILAR PASSING OPPORTUNITIES AS THE ST. PETE STREET COURSE?
Sato passed three cars on the start of the season’s previous street race in St. Peters­burg, another three on a restart and another two later. He led two times and had pitted from the lead before mechan­ical failure forced him to retire from the race. The team is hopeful of as many passing oppor­tu­ni­ties in Long Beach.
      
“The courses are not exactly similar but there are some over­taking oppor­tu­ni­ties due to heavy braking after the long straight,” said Sato.  “But hope­fully I don’t have to pass many cars; I just need to start from the front!  The team has been improving all the time and we have been learning every time we run the car. The two races were very different type of the courses so we gained good expe­ri­ence for this new car and leaned a lot so I expect there is another step forward at Long Beach.”

NEW PIT RULE UNDER CAUTION AND O’CONNELL’S IMPRESSION OF THE IMPACT
Begin­ning at Long Beach, pit road will e open from the onset of non-emergency full-course cautions on road and street courses, poten­tially cutting the number of laps under yellow.  The proce­dure will be employed for the remainder of the IZOD IndyCar Series season. Also begin­ning at Long Beach, lapped traffic will move to the rear of the field during any restarts in the final 20 laps of road/street course events.
            “It reminds me of years past when we had similar rules,” said O’Connell.  “I think the main impact will be a shift in strate­gies since we will be racing under yellow, albeit at a lower speed, which affects the strategy deci­sions you will be making as opposed to when the pits are closed under yellow. We need to think care­fully about how to adjust our strategy programs and our quick-decision tools because those deci­sions are going to change. It doesn’t really impact fuel mileage other than when you are in the yellow, there is less laps under yellow so you can’t stretch the fuel window as far as you could before.  You can never count on yellow laps to help you save fuel to the end but now, if you did count on them, you are going to count on them even less because they are going to be shorter and there is less chance to stretch a tight window out further with a yellow cycle that is going to be shorter. It has impli­ca­tions in the race on the strategy and we have to think care­fully about incor­po­rating that into our deci­sion making tools.  It defi­nitely impacts the enter­tain­ment value and changes the flow of the race. It can be an oppor­tu­nity to move up with a good call and it’s also an oppor­tu­nity to go a lap down. You have to be careful to use it to your advan­tage and not get burned by it.”

SATO ON THE IMPACT OF TIRE MANAGEMENT IN 2012
“Tire manage­ment is always a key factor in racing but at the Barber race, it seemed to be very chal­lenging to get it right and was much more than it was at St. Pete.  We have to wait and see how it will be at Long Beach but I expect it will be similar to St. Pete.”

SATO ON RLL’S ALMS PROGRAM
“I’m not familiar with RLL’s ALMS team as I haven’t gotten a chance to see them yet but I will in a couple of days! I’ve been following their compet­i­tive races and wins and it was a great start of the season with winning at Sebring so I think they are on very good form this year too. I am very much looking forward to seeing them.”

SATO — DID YOU KNOW
Sato, 35, is a former high school and univer­sity cycling cham­pion in road racing and track cycling and racing on velo­dromes was his first expe­ri­ence racing on ovals… Despite not begin­ning his career in auto racing until he was 19 years old, he progressed to Formula One in only five years and went on to become the most successful Japanese driver to compete in F1 after having finished third at the US Grand Prix in 2004… The first race he attended was an F1 race at Suzuka at the age of 10… His career was launched years later when he read about a contest in a racing maga­zine while in college that ulti­mately resulted in being one of seven drivers (out of approx. 70) to win a racing schol­ar­ship. It was a one-shot oppor­tu­nity due to an age limit and, as he knew it was the career path he preferred over others, he made the most of it… He went on to compete in F1 for seven seasons and made 91 starts… His popu­larity in Japan has been compared to that of a “Rock Star” and he is a popular corpo­rate image char­acter both in Japan and around the globe… He has been awarded “Good­will Ambas­sador” for the British Embassy in Tokyo and used for valu­able UK-Japan trade devel­op­ment activ­i­ties… He founded “With You Japan,” an orga­ni­za­tion that provides support to chil­dren affected by the devas­tating earth­quakes and tsunami in Japan. Many of whom lost their family, friends, teachers and homes… His U.S. base of Denver was chosen so that he could train in the high alti­tude and his full­time resi­dence is Monaco… He is married with two chil­dren.                                       

 

RLL

BMW Team RLL — Long Beach ALMS Preview

Wood­cliff Lake, N.J. – April 9, 2012… Following a four-week inter­mis­sion after BMW Team RLL’s GT class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring Amer­ican Le Mans Series curtain-raiser the second act of the team’s ALMS GT class title defense will be set in the streets of Long Beach, Cali­fornia on April 14th.

Last year Joey Hand and Dirk Müller had star­ring roles as Long Beach race winners and, ulti­mately GT class driver’s cham­pions. This year’s story has begun much as the last with Hand and Müller sharing a second consec­u­tive Sebring 12 Hour victory – this time supported by Jonathan Summerton, of Kissimmee, Fla., as third driver.

Only two hours long the Long Beach race is not only the shortest of the season, but the tight confines of the 1.968-mile, 11-turn tempo­rary street circuit sets a stage for high drama and conflict.

Bill Auberlen co-drove to a podium finish with Tommy Milner in both 2009 (P3) and 2010 (P2), but it was Milner that played the villain last year when the now Corvette driver’s BMW Team RLL contact with Auberlen during an over-ambitious pass knocked Auberlen (and 2011 co– driver Dirk Werner) back to a seventh place finish. This season, Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller will co-drive the No. 55 M3 GT at Long Beach. The race will be Müller’s first at Long Beach.

“We look forward to returning to Long Beach after having won there last year,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. Long Beach is such a huge event, such a historic event that any time you do well there you feel partic­u­larly good. We have had pretty good luck in Long Beach with three podiums in a row including a win last year. Last year we won at Sebring and then again in Long Beach — two-for-two — and we’re going to try to do that again this year. The cars are good at Long Beach and we will have good driver lineups as always. I feel opti­mistic but it’s a tough race as we saw last year with the 55 car that was running very well but got taken out by one of the Corvettes. You have to assume the worst maybe because it is a street race but I think we have a good chance to repeat our success. I look forward to being in Long Beach and having a great weekend.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “It’s great to be home for my favorite race. The entire event really impresses me and the overall feeling of excite­ment is conta­gious! I know the BMW Team RLL guys will give Jörg and I the support to win, but this street race is tight and tough.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT – “I’m really looking forward to Long Beach as it will be the first time for me driving an event together with IndyCar. I have never been on this circuit before but I’ve watched a lot of video. I’m a big fan of street circuits and have won races in Monaco, Pau and Macao.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “ Long Beach is an event I look forward to every season. You can feel the entire place radiate with energy on every lap. Dirk and I won the race from the pole last year so obvi­ously our goal is to repeat and continue to keep him and BMW Team RLL at the top of the point stand­ings.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT – “After two really busy weeks with the factory BMW Z4 at the Nord­schleife with BMW Team Schu­bert, I am looking forward to one of my favorite race venues! I won LBGP already a couple of times, but it is always very special and it is always a different race. The walls are hungry and you need to be careful not to attack too hard too early! Person­ally I do like very much street circuits and for sure Long Beach. There are so many friends and fans and together with IndyCar it is just a perfect weekend! With our victory from Sebring in the bag we are fully moti­vated to keep our streak alive.”

The Amer­ican Le Mans Series at Long Beach race will take the green flag at 4:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 14th. The race will streamed live on ESPN3.com begin­ning at 7:15 p.m. ET and will be broad­cast on ESPN2 tele­vi­sion begin­ning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Live timing and scoring will be hosted on americanlemans.com.

About BMW Team RLL:
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and finan­cial service orga­ni­za­tions for the BMW brand of motor vehi­cles, including motor­cy­cles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; Design­work­sUSA, a strategic design consul­tancy in Cali­fornia; a tech­nology office in Silicon Valley and various other oper­a­tions throughout the country. BMW Manu­fac­turing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manu­fac­turing network and is the exclu­sive manu­fac­turing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehi­cles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales orga­ni­za­tion is repre­sented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motor­cycle retailers, 112 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales head­quar­ters for North America, is located in Wood­cliff Lake, New Jersey.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
BMW’s partner, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar Cham­pion and 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been competing for nearly two decades, compiling 22 victo­ries, 31 poles and two series  cham­pi­onships (1992, 2010) as well as claiming an Indi­anapolis 500 victory (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2009 the team joined BMW of North America to campaign the new BMW M3 in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series. In 2010 the team won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory. In 2011 the team swept all three GT titles - Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver.

 

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