Monthly Archives: April 2012

RLL Gained Valuable Oval Experience at Today’s Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
IZOD IndyCar Series – Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway
TESTING NOTES/QUOTES – Wednesday, April 4, 2012

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING GAINED VALUABLE OVAL EXPERIENCE AT TODAY’S TEST AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY; FIRST OVAL TEST FOR THE TEAM IN 2012

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I am very excited to be back at the Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway.  After a long winter, a street course and a road course race, to have your first test on an oval take place at Indi­anapolis is so exciting.  The place is so special and you feel the speed imme­di­ately; it’s really fast.  The car is quite different but it is only the first day for the team to run on an oval with it and we will continue to learn.  Our focus was to gather data and we went through a test plan to build a foun­da­tion for May.  In the end we were happier with the balance so it was a produc­tive test.”

FAST FACTS: Was RLL and Sato’s first test day on an oval of the 2012 season. Sato ran 60 laps for a total of 150 miles with a best lap time of 212.573 mph.… Sato qual­i­fied 10th for the Indy 500 in 2011 and finished 33rd after contact.  In 2010, he qual­i­fied 30th and finished 20th… It 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. He qual­i­fied 15th and passed three cars on the start, passed three cars on the second (re)start and two on another to move to the lead two times. He pitted from the lead for his final stop and suffered a mechan­ical failure that resulted in a 22nd place finish… Sato passed four cars in his first stint at Barber, strug­gled on his second on primary tires and 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).  He led a total of 61 laps in 2011 in 11 so far in 2012.
 

INDY 500 HELMET CONTEST: Sato is holding a “With you Japan” Charity Design Contest and the winner’s design will be featured on his Indy 500 helmet.  The winner will be chosen April 6. For more infor­ma­tion log on to: http://www.withyoujapan.org/en/activity/

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato:  “We have had a reason­ably produc­tive day here today. We have been playing catch up in terms of the test which was conducted the end of last year. Whilst we have made progress, there is clearly a long way to go in terms of under­standing how to opti­mize perfor­mance of the new DW12 chassis. We will look at the data we have collected today and come back next month stronger and have a clearer direc­tion in terms of what we need to do to achieve a fast car.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY 2012 marks the 21st consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team. Team owner Bobby Rahal won the Indy 500 in 1986 and the team won the race in 2004 with Buddy Rice.

NEXT UP:  The series will take this weekend off and return to action on April 15 for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. RLL won the GT class of the ALMS race from pole in Long Beach last year with Joey Hand and Dirk Müller.  The team will field entries in both the IZOD IndyCar Series and ALMS races at Long Beach.

 

RLL to Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 4 with Sato; First Oval Test of 2012 Season

NEWS & NOTES:

FIRST 2012 OVAL TEST FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will test at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway tomorrow with Takuma Sato.  It will be the first test for the team on an oval for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.  Initially the test was open to one car from each of the three manu­fac­turers – Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus but the series invited more cars to partic­i­pate.  New aero­dy­namic compo­nents have been released since an initial test at IMS by each of the engine manu­fac­turers and data will be collected to eval­uate those compo­nents. 

One car/driver combi­na­tion from each team was invited with the excep­tion of teams that have rookie drivers.  RLL’s Takuma Sato will be joined at the test by fellow Honda-powered drivers Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Mike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing) and Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing). Chevy drivers that are testing include Helio Castron­eves (Team Penske), Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Tech­nology), Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing), Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) and JR Hilde­brand (Panther Racing).


RLL’s Tech­nical Director Jay O’Connell provided a brief overview of the test and the type of knowl­edge the team hopes to gain at the test.

AN OVERVIEW BY O’CONNELL ON THE TEST AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
“We found out we were testing at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway last Friday night so we started preparing for it on Saturday while at Barber so it’s really been a short amount of time to get ready. The first step was figuring out some gears and then working on the aero­dy­namic and mechan­ical setup based on the manu­fac­turer test result last fall and our previous expe­ri­ence in the Indi­anapolis 500.

            “Our goal at Indy tomorrow is to build a foun­da­tion to use for the month of May. We want to get a good under­standing of the basic aero­dy­namic char­ac­ter­is­tics of the new car, espe­cially with all of the updates that have been coming in the last couple of months. And we are going to get a chance to under­stand the differ­ence between the 2011 and 2012 Indy 500 tires because I under­stand that they are going to give us two sets of each of those types.  With a new car we have to figure out how much of our tradi­tional Indy 500 setups, combined with our under­standing of the new car, will work at Indy.”

O’CONNELL ON HAVINGSTRONG RACE SETUP AND LEADING WITHFEW LAPS TO GO IN 2011
“The last few years we have had solid efforts at Indy whether it was with Oriol (Servia; 2009) or Graham (Rahal, 2010) or with Bertrand Baguette and Jay Howard last year. Each year we have tried to start from solid ground and have a good qual­i­fying setup.  We qual­i­fied in the top-15 the last few years and made it into the Fire­stone Fast 9 with Graham two years ago.  Qual­i­fying is one aspect and its fun for the engi­neers but the key is having a good car in the race. We have had really strong cars in the race, espe­cially with Bertrand last year.  He moved his way up from starting 14thand was a contender at the end of the race where he had to pit from the lead with three laps to go.”

O’CONNELL ON RACE ENGINEER GERRY HUGHES AND HIS OVAL DEBUT
“Certainly Gerry (Hughes) is new to the ovals and we are going through the different parts of the setup and the history behind them. The test is really a good oppor­tu­nity for him to get up to speed on the ovals in an envi­ron­ment with less pres­sure than the race event. This will be a good oppor­tu­nity for him, and well as the rest of us, to really learn the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the new car on the ovals.”

O’CONNELL ON INPUT FROM COUPRIE WHO ENGINEEREDFRONT ROW CAR IN ‘11
Bruno Couprie was the race engi­neer for Indy 500 front row starter Oriol Servia who qual­i­fied third in 2011. Couprie left Newman/Haas Racing at the conclu­sion of the 2011 season to join RLL’s ALMS program as a race engi­neer.  He is also assisting with the IndyCar program.
    
“Bruno is certainly involved and will be at the test. He is bringing his expe­ri­ence to the table and helping as we prepare for Indy. We are going through our expe­ri­ence the last few years along with his expe­ri­ence from last year to start from a good base. We are going to try to take advan­tage of his expe­ri­ence as much as possible and combine it with our own.”

SATO — DID YOU KNOW
Takuma 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

 

Sato Retired From the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama After Mechanical Failure

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama –  Barber Motor­sports Park
IZOD IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 1, 2012

SATO RETIRED FROM THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA AFTER MECHANICAL FAILURE

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We had a reason­able start.  It’s always exciting going through two or three corners side-by-side. I gained a few posi­tions and the race settled down quickly. After the pit stop, we strug­gled with the balance of the car on the primary Fire­stone tires. As soon as I got back on the alter­nate Firestone’s on the next stint, the handling was much better and I was starting to over­take people. We were on the way to recov­ering posi­tions but then all of a sudden I lost power. It is disap­pointing to have mechan­ical fail­ures in two consec­u­tive races but there are some posi­tives from the weekend.  I hope in Long Beach we are able to be compet­i­tive again and have a strong finish.”

FAST FACTS: Started 16th in his third race here today but retired after mechan­ical failure in 24th place. He qual­i­fied 11th here in 2011 and finished 16th and qual­i­fied sixth in 2010 and finished 15th – both for KV Racing Tech­nology… Will be 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. He qual­i­fied 15th and passed three cars on the start, passed three cars on the second (re)start and two on another to move to the lead two times. He pitted from the lead for his final stop and suffered a mechan­ical failure that resulted in a 22nd place finish… 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).  He led a total of 61 laps in 2011.

INDY 500 HELMET CONTEST: Sato is holding a “With you Japan” Charity Design Contest and the winner’s design will be featured on his Indy 500 helmet.  The winner will be chosen April 6. For more infor­ma­tion log on to: http://www.withyoujapan.org/en/activity/

 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT BARBER 2012 marks the 21st consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team.  It was the first IndyCar Series race for the RLL at Barber.

NEXT UP:  The series will take next weekend off and return to action on April 15 for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Sato and RLL will test at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, April 4.