Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sato Heads to Detroit With Momentum from a Strong Run in the Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – Raceway at Belle Isle Park
Round 6 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series


DATE:                                      June 1-3, 2012
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:  None; LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)
RACE BROADCAST:              Live on Sunday, June 3 at 3:30 a.m. ET on ABC
RADIO BROADCAST:            The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212
TRACK LAYOUT:                    2.07-mile, 14-turn street course
RACE LENGTH:                      90 laps / 184.5 miles
2008 WINNER:                        Justin Wilson
2008 POLESITTER:                Scott Dixon (102.007)
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET START:          Pole at Edmonton in 2011
SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET FINISH:          Third at Sao Paulo, Brazil 2012
SATO IN DETROIT:                 First race here
RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT DETROIT:              2nd / 1st – both in 1992 by Bobby Rahal in the inaugural Belle Isle event

NEWS & NOTES:

1 WIN, 1 FRONT ROW START, 2 PODIUMS IN 12 BELLE ISLE RACES FOR RLL RACING
The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will mark the IZOD IndyCar Series’ third visit to Detroit, but its first since 2008. The Motor City hosted Indy car racing from 1989-91 in Downtown Detroit. The race moved to Belle Isle Park from 1992-2001 and 2007-2008.

The 2012 event will mark the 13th year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.  The team’s highest start of second place and highest finish of first in the event came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  In total, the team has earned two podiums (Max Papis 2000 – 2nd), three top-five finishes and nine top-10’s here (chart available). Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 20 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-08).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 21 in 2012.

Before he started a race team in 1992, Bobby Rahal competed in downtown Detroit from 1989-1991 and earned two second place finishes (’90 and ’91) and retired in 18th place in 1989. In total, he competed in Detroit 10 times (three downtown, seven on Belle Isle).

RLL CONTENDERS FOR INDY 500 WIN ON FINAL LAPS IN 2011 AND 2012
The team was in contention to win the Indy 500 as recent as 2011 and 2012. In 2011 Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap.  In 2012, Sato led the third most laps at 31 and pulled alongside eventual winner Dario Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap to take the lead but lack of traction and/or light contact led to a crash and he finished 17th.  Sato is 12th in series standings with a total of 100 points entering Round 6 of 16.  Had he won or finished second in the Indy 500 he would be in the top-five of the standings. 

SATO ON THE INDY 500 – HINDSIGHT
“Obviously I am disappointed in the result but it was definitely one of my best races and I deeply enjoyed the whole race.  The thing is, the Indy 500 is all about winning and I was and we were going for the win. No regrets at all. I attacked because it was the last opportunity since it was the last lap. It had to be done at Turn1 because of the wind direction. We had a tail wind at Turn 2 on Sunday which made it difficult to follow the car in front due to loss of downforce with some washout pushing and I had been racing with the Ganassi cars who were quick down the straight for many laps but I wasn't able to overtake them at Turn 3 so I knew it had to be done at Turn 1.  There was an opportunity when I caught Dario at the end of the main straight, dove in and we were side by side just turning in to Turn 1. It was tight and close but I was forced to go to the very low lane below the white line and lost grip.  I was not happy because we didn't win and felt bad especially for boys and team who did outstanding job but was happy to see all the big smiles from the fans and incredible positive reception. It was a very exciting race and I would like to say a ‘Big thank you’ to all who supported me.”

SATO ON DEBUT AT DETROIT’S BELLE ISLE COURSE IN 2012
Sato will compete in his first race in Detroit in his third season in the series. His highest road/street course start is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his highest finish is third in Brazil in 2012.  He is looking forward to driving at Belle Isle for the first time.
      
“The Detroit Grand Prix is a famous event in history so I know a little about it but only what I saw on TV. It looks like a beautiful course as it is set up in the middle of the park on an island on the Detroit River. It’s quite spectacular scenery.  The team has previous experience at Belle Isle so I have some data from that but I don't really know the details of the course until we will have a track walk with the engineers Thursday.”

SATO ON “FASCINATING” SEASON TO DATE
So far this season, Takuma has led two of the four road/street races (St. Pete and Long Beach) as well as three of five overall so far with a series best finish of third in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He retired with mechanical failure after leading at St. Pete and again at Barber Motorsports Park.  He was third on the final lap in Long Beach when he was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay who was assessed an “avoidable contact” penalty and when he saw the checkered flag for the first – and only time — this season in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he earned his best finish in his IndyCar career of third place. Despite only seeing the checkered flag in Brazil, Sato has had a strong season to date.
      
“It has been a very positive, fascinating season so far. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has a long history but we are still a new team because it is a new group of people working together and learning a lot. I feel we are making good progress after every single race and it is a very exciting challenge. I love it.”

SATO ON THE TEAM’S COMPETITIVENESS ON OTHER ROAD/STREET COURSES TRANSFERING TO DETROIT
Sato will be one of 12 drivers to compete on the 2.07-mile Belle Isle course for the first time in an Indy car.  Others include Rubens Barrichello, Sebastien Bourdais, Mike Conway, Simona de Silvestro, JR Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, James Jakes, Charlie Kimball, Katherine Legge, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud.  Although many teams and drivers have competed on this course before, it will be the firs time to do so with the all-new DW12 chassis.  Based on previous performance in 2012, the team has a good road/street course baseline setup and hopes that knowledge will translate favorably to the 14-turn Belle Isle course.
      
“Some of the knowledge we have gained of the DW12 will apply to Detroit,” said Sato.  “We seem to understand the philosophy of the Firestone street course tire well and the fundamental set up won't be so different from the other street courses.  However, Detroit has a couple of high speed corners and quite a unique track layout so we will see.”

SATO ON HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO LEARN THE BELLE ISLE  COURSE
“It depends on my mood!  I’m kidding. Usually I can learn a course pretty quick.  A couple of laps give you quite a lot of idea (about the layout), then you just need to work on the details.”
 

SATO ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MOMENTUM WITH SIX RACES IN SEVEN WEEKS
The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is the only road/street course in a stretch of five-straight races that began with the Indianapolis 500 this past Sunday. Looking forward, the Detroit race is also the start of a stretch that includes five races in the next six weeks that begins and ends with street races in Detroit and Toronto (July 8).  In the middle of this is a test at Iowa Speedway on Tuesday, June 12 for Sato. The ability to carry over momentum from strong finishes in these races can make a big impact on the season-ending standings and Sato’s chance of bettering his series best finish of third in Brazil on April 29.
      
“We definitely have good, positive momentum and our motivation is very high,” said Sato. “We just need to make sure everyone is not worn-out physically and keeping good health.  Otherwise we should be very happy to go racing!”

 

- RLL -

Sato Was Three Turns from Potential Victory in the Indy 500 But Contact Limited Result; Jourdain Jr. Finished 19th


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE DAY NOTES/QUOTES — May 27, 2012

SATO WAS T HREE TURNS FROM A POTENTIAL WIN IN THE INDY 500 BUT FINISHED 17TH DUE TO CONTACT AFTER BEING ALONGSIDE THE EVENTUAL WINNER; JOURDAIN JR. FINISHED 19TH
 

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “What an incredible weekend. Not only the weekend, but it was also an incredible month of May. I was going for the win. On the last restart, we jumped from seventh to fifth, then taking fourth, third, second. I kept pushing and overtaking. On the very last lap I had a good tow from Dario (Franchitti). I thought I had the job done. But he kept pushing and didn’t give me enough room so that I was well below the white line. But it was an outstanding job by the team. It was a very exciting race. I was calm when I was leading. I knew there were many laps to go and I was following team protocol. The last 30 laps were pretty exciting. The two yellows in 30 laps gave us some good opportunities to move forward.  The moment I was alongside Dario I said to myself ‘Job done.’  I was hoping that coming out of Turn 1 side-by-side with Dario we would take the lead going to Turn 2 and Turn 3. It didn’t work out that way though. He could have given a little bit more space and we would have come out of the corner no problem. Into Turn 1 I was well below the white line.  It was in the center of the monocoque. I was almost in the grass and the car started sliding.”

FAST FACTS: After passing many cars from his 19th place start in the Indy 500, Sato ran at the front most of the race including leading the event three times for a total of 31 laps (119-123; 126-146; 148-152) which ranked third overall, he was alongside eventual race winner Dario Franchitti going into Turn 1 on the final lap of the Indy 500 after getting a run on him on the front straight.  Momentum was in his favor but, in order to avoid making contact with Franchitti, Sato was squeezed down to the inside edge of the track as far as he could be and lost control due to lack of traction and ultimately finished 17th… It was his third Indy 500 in 2012 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07… In the 2011 Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a seventh-place rank in series points to 12th with 100.
 

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “For me the first couple of stints went good as planned; I passed some cars and got up to 15th which was better than planned.  Then in the first green stop I had too many revs (on the engine) and couldn’t get it into first gear so we lost five or six seconds. Then the next stop was under green too and we took a little bit too long on the right rear tire so, in the pits we probably lost eight seconds and lost a lap there by like one second to (leader) Marco. Later we went two laps down but got one back and we were right there. I was racing with Oriol and some guys and I felt like I was faster than a lot of the guys but then we pitted with closed pits.  I think it is little details by not being out there racing together every weekend that make a difference. There are some amazing teams and drivers that everyday have everything perfect. If you want to finish in the top-10 you cannot put a foot wrong. We put a small foot wrong a couple of times and the result shows it.  But for me, for being away so long, I am happy. I think I did a good job.”
   

FAST FACTS: Jourdain started 22nd in his second Indianapolis 500 race in 2012. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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.
 

BOBBY RAHAL, Team co-owner on Sato’s last lap pass: “It’s a shame because Takuma drove a fantastic race and the crew did a great job.  What I am most pleased about is that we are not the most well-funded team out there and yet we are going head-to-head with the most well-funded team out there so we are getting a lot of bang for our buck. I feel for Takuma because he did a super job. I don’t blame him at all. When you see the opportunity you’ve got to go for it – especially with one lap to go in the Indy 500.  I’m proud of the job he did and proud of the job the guys did and I feel bad for them because they deserved a little bit better. I guess you can say ‘Well, they knew we were here if nothing else.’  What I was most surprised about is that up to this race the Chevys had a fuel economy advantage on us but it was the other way around here. We were stopping two laps after the Chevy’s so Honda obviously did a great job. It’s a great victory for them. And the Firestone tires were so good; so consistent. You go from set-to-set and nothing changes. If the car was good with one set, it’s good with the next one. They did a great job too.
    
“I thought Michel did a very good job. I’m not sure what happened but he pitted when the pits were closed and that obviously hurt our overall standing but up until that point he was running very competitively. In fact early in the race he was two or three cars behind Takuma and was going to the front. I thought he did a great job in his first race back and I think he has to feel pretty happy about the day. I hope he will be back with us and do a few more races.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Sato and Jourdain Jr. Qualified 19th and 22nd Respectively For the Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — “Pole Day” May 19, 2012

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. QUALIFIED 19TH AND 22ND RESPECTIVELY FOR THE INDY 500

 

POLE:    Ryan Briscoe (Seg 2)          4-lap avg. speed of 226.484 mph    (L1: 226.621, L2: 226.578, L3: 226.404, L4: 226.334)
19th:      Takuma Sato (Seg 1)          4-lap avg. speed of 223.392 mph    (L1: 223.754, L2: 223.388, L3: 223.232, L4: 223.194)
22nd:     Michel Jourdain (Seg 1)      4-lap avg. speed of 222.893 mph    (L1: 222.983, L2: 223.141, L3: 222.810, L4: 222.639)  


TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Qualifying was a little frustrating. We showed speed in the week and thought we had a good speed in qualifying trim. After experiencing high boost in Fast Friday yesterday and this morning, the handling of the race car improved but we didn’t have the pure qualifying speed unfortunately. But we should be happy with the result of qualifying on the first day. I was reasonably happy with the balance. It is a shame we weren’t able to qualify a little higher. Now we go back to race mode and try to improve the race set up tomorrow and Carb Day. Hopefully we have a strong package for the race.”
 

FAST FACTS: Sato will be in Columbus, Ohio on Monday, May 21 for a media tour with team owner Bobby Rahal… Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07… In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I am very happy and relieved that we qualified on the first day and didn’t need to make a second attempt. When I got out of the car I didn’t think we were going to make the top 24 and get in today.  We really wanted to go out tomorrow and focus on race setup rather than making a qualifying attempt and now we can do that. The guys did a fantastic job, especially after yesterday when we lost so much track time. It’s a long race; where you start doesn’t matter too much. I am so, so happy to be here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am so thankful for Office Depot, Roshfrans, Grupo Multi, Grupo Indi and the team for making this possible.”
 

FAST FACTS: Jourdain will be in Los Angeles for a media tour on Monday, May 21 and Mexico City on May 22 after qualifying… Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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. 

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motorsport Operations: “I would classify this day as a day of satisfaction. The team worked really hard this week. Totally it up, it was 95 hours for the guys so it was a real hard week with minor disruption. Things went pretty much as we hoped and planned. Racers always want more. Yes you are disappointed that you weren’t the fastest that day but the real prize if on May 27 when we run the Indy 500.  That day is the big one. To win the race you first have to get in the show.  We are here now, we’re in as first day qualifiers. Very pleased given the development with the new car. Jay O’Connell in the engineering department has done a fantastic job. Race engineers Gerry Hughes and Bruno Couprie did a great job as did Team Manager Ricardo Nault. There were no mechanical issues on the team’s part.  One hundred percent reliability with a new package is something to pat everybody on the back about.  On Sunday we will work on race set up which we have done a little bit of during the week but we want to verify what we have learned as we run the new car more and more. Each day is a learning curve. Sunday will be really our last working day for race setup. We will work a little bit on Carb Day next Friday but not a lot so we can keep the mileage and tire count down until the race. We will celebrate tonight and get back to work tomorrow.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  The final day of practice will take place tomorrow.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Sato and Jourdain Jr. Participate in Final Practice Prior to Indy 500 Qualifying; Jourdain Jr. Ran Limited Laps Due to Mechanical Issue

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – “Fast Friday” May 18, 2012

 

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. PARTICIPATED IN FINAL DAY OF PRACTICE PRIOR TO QUALIFYING FOR THE INDY 500; JOURDAIN JR. RAN LIMITED LAPS DUE TO MECHANICAL ISSUE

1)         Marco Andretti          227.540 mph / 39.5535          36 laps
17)       Takuma Sato             224.825 mph / 40.0312          43 laps
28)       Michel Jourdain Jr.   221.396 mph / 40.6511          12 laps

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was not an easy day. Today was all about qualifying preparation, starting to trim the car aerodynamically and we got extra boost too.  Straight line and corner entry speed was a lot faster than the last five days and we were working on improving both the mechanical grip and the reduction of the drag.  There were a few elements that were positive but we have work to do before qualifying tomorrow.”

FAST FACTS: Sato will be in Columbus, Ohio on Monday, May 21 for a media tour with team owner Bobby Rahal… Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07… In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was not such a good day. On Fast Friday you are excited to work on the qualifying setup and unfortunately we had a problem early on and we didn’t run many laps so we weren’t really able to work on our qualifying setup. I felt a loss of power and the guys told me to shut it down. I don’t know what they saw in the telemetry but they told me to shut it down. Then I saw smoke so there was a fire. I could definitely feel the difference in power with more boost. It was fun to drive. It was our first run and we were just starting to trim the car.  Tomorrow is qualifying so we don’t know where we are at, set-up wise.  That is what we were going to work on today. It’s a long race though. It’s not the end of the world.”
 

FAST FACTS: Jourdain will be in Los Angeles for a media tour on Monday, May 21 and Mexico City on May 22 after qualifying… Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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. 

JAY O’CONNELL, Technical Director: “Takuma made several qualifying run simulations today so he is prepared and ready to go. We have a good idea of what we have set-up wise for qualifying.  Michel also started towards qualifying but unfortunately had an engine issue so they are busy putting his car back together but it looks like it will be ready to go tomorrow. He is looking forward to a good couple of runs in the morning practice before heading out for qualifying. Even though they split the groups in half, there will still be 16 cars out there and it is difficult to get a clean lap but he just needs to get a feel for his car again; make sure everything feels okay — which I’m sure it will be fine – and get himself setup for a good qualifying run. I think Michel is confident that the car will feel good when it’s trimmed out and that he can have a good run.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  The final day of practice will take place tomorrow.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Sato and Jourdain Jr. Pleased with Race Preparation to Date for the Indy 500; Focus Will Switch to Qualifying Setup Tomorrow


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Thursday, May 17, 2012

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. PLEASED WITH RACE PREPARATION TO DATE FOR THE INDY 500; FOCUS WILL SWITCH TO QUALIFYING SETUP TOMORROW


1)         Scott Dixon                223.088 mph / 40.3428          88 laps
17)       Takuma Sato             219.900 mph / 40.9277          47 laps
21)       Michel Jourdain Jr.   219.152 mph / 41.0673          92 laps


TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We ran less today than we did all of the other days but the balance of the car felt good. We looked at all of the data we collected since early this morning and step-by-step we picked the things we liked.  I am happy with our work today. It was great preparation for Fast Friday.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07… In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Today was good. We tried some things in traffic but I think the car was a little bit better in the pack yesterday than today. It was good to try new things even though they didn’t work; its valuable information.  Tomorrow we are going to trim and we will see how far we can get.  There is a limit on the rear wing on what we can do.  There are a lot of other things that you can do mechanically and aerodynamically. I don’t know how far we will get because we haven’t worked at all on the qualifying setup and only have one day to do that. A lot of guys have been working more aggressively on that.  Takuma has been working on it and hopefully that will reduce our learning curve.”
 

FAST FACTS: Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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. 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  The final day of practice will take place tomorrow.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Sato and Jourdain Jr. Complete Another Troublefree Day of Practice for the Indy 500; Two Days Remain Until Qualifying

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Wednesday, May 16, 2012

 

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. COMPLETED ANOTHER TROUBLEFREE DAY OF PRACTICE IN PREPARATION FOR THE INDY 500; ONLY TWO DAYS OF PRACTICE REMAIN BEFORE QUALIFYING
 

1)         Josef Newgarden      222.785 mph / 40.3977          61 laps
9)         Takuma Sato             220.843 mph / 40.7506          51 laps
20)       Michel Jourdain Jr.   219.280 mph / 41.0434          82 laps

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a little bit windy today which makes the car a little unstable but it was quite good because we needed to make our car more stable.  The wind was tricky; quite gusty but I think we are happy with the balance.  We worked on our general setup and will now go scan the aero map on the session to record the data.  My long run was cut short today by the red flag and it was a shame that we didn’t run in traffic as much as we wanted but hopefully we will do so tomorrow.  I think it will be quite exciting to start some qualifying setup work tomorrow.”
 

FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07… In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The day was very good. We made very good progress. The first couple of days were about getting me comfortable in the car and with the setup. Finally Monday we were very good by ourselves and yesterday was about running in traffic.  It felt good yesterday but we were not 100 percent. And today I felt really good in the last session. We ran a full tank of fuel and ran it out. I was running in the middle of the group and the car felt good.  It was much fun out there; it was fantastic.  Tomorrow we will run a little mi of both race setup and qualifying setup. We know we didn’t have a lot of time to work on the ultimate qualifying setup so we know we are not going to fight for the top-nine or top-15 so we just want to get a decent qualifying setup where we run good. Then on Friday, of course, we will work on our qualifying setup.”

FAST FACTS: Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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. 
 

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motorsport Operations:  “Its Day 5 and the plan is still working. We made more progress on Michel’s and everything is moving forward there. He is asking for the changes we hoped he would so there is more speed tomorrow.  The race simulation of running in traffic today worked really well so we are extremely pleased with the progress there with the balance of the race cars. We are really happy with the way that Bruno (Couprie) and Michel are working together; it’s fantastic.  The track is obviously getting much better as we have now put five days of rubber on it. I can’t remember the last time we have gone five days in a row without rain and it looks like we are going to get all the way through Sunday with that.  Tomorrow everybody is going to be taking some downforce out it because Fast Friday is almost upon us and they are going to throw some more horsepower at us so that will be another challenge.  The cars are balanced pretty well so I am pretty pleased. Takuma was working on race setups today as well. Really we are almost to the final day of race preparation.  We have a chance with Takuma for a possible top-nine and our ultimate goal of a front row so there are big possibilities here. Gerry and Jay are doing a fantastic job there. Jay is also bouncing back and forth between Bruno and Gerry (Hughes) with both cars.  Engineering is right on top of it right now and I am impressed with the job they are doing. So far, everything is going according to plan.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Practice will take place from May 12-18 for the 96th Indianapolis 500.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Sato and Jourdain Jr. Made Progress on Their Race Setups on Day 4 of Practice for the Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Tuesday, May 15, 2012

 

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. MADE PROGRESS ON THEIR RACE SETUPS ON DAY 4 OF PRACTICE FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
 

1)         Marco Andretti          223.676 mph / 40.2367          55 laps

9)         Takuma Sato             220.843 mph / 40.7530          77 laps

27)       Michel Jourdain Jr.   218.006 mph / 41.2833          72 laps


TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We keep saying we had another productive day but that is the case. The warm weather and light wind made for stable conditions which made it easy to evaluate some aerodynamic things that we carried over from yesterday. Then we moved on to our race set-up and it was good to see progress.  In the end I was able to run in traffic and see how the car felt and everything felt good. We will keep working on this tomorrow.”
 

FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07.. In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a really good day for us; we are making progress every day. We ran a lot of laps and made some good changes to improve the car every time. It is much better and I am more confident with the car and with running closer to some cars. We are still not running extremely close to them but we are making progress in every sense. 

“I have said that this is a professional project but one that is very personal to me in many ways and one of them is that my two oldest kids are coming to the race. They weren’t old enough to fully understand it before but the two oldest are now.  Silvia is three and this will be too much for her but Michel and Marco, who are seven and five years old, can’t wait. Every day they ask me ‘How many days until we come?’  The other day I told them ‘Its 15 days’ and they said ‘I thought you said 14 yesterday.’ They are really, really excited about coming.  We are making small suits like my driving suit for them. It is going to be a lot of fun.”
 

FAST FACTS: Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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. 

JAY O’CONNELL, Technical Director:  “Both cars did a lot of running today; each car ran over 70 laps so one-third of the race distance.  Michel did a lot of good running to increase his experience and confidence and was able to get up to 218 mph. He felt much more comfortable running behind cars, running in traffic and doing some race simulation. On Takuma’s side, he also did some great long race runs on two different sets of tires. The first set, he ran more on his own, was very consistent, and did some flat-out running, learning to use his tools. And on the second run he was in a lot of traffic, playing with other cars and made some good progress learning good lessons for the race.  Tomorrow we will still run in race trim, proving out some racing parts and setups. Thursday and Friday we will be back in qualifying mode getting ready for qualifying on Saturday.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Practice will take place from May 12-18 for the 96th Indianapolis 500.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

 

Sato and Jourdain Jr. Ended Practice Day 3 For the Indy 500 9th and 28th Respectively; Both Made Progress Today

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES / QUOTES — Monday, May 14, 2012


SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. ENDED DAY 3 OF PRACTICE FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 NINTH AND 28TH RESPECTIVELY; BOTH MADE PROGRESS TODAY

1)         Josef Newgarden      222.486 mph / 40.4519          47 laps

9)         Takuma Sato             220.090 mph / 40.8924          34 laps

28)       Michel Jourdain        215.970 mph / 41.6725          35 laps


TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was another productive day. The conditions were very stable so we were able to try quite a few aero configurations to scan the data and complete an aero map. We are happy with the result today. I haven’t been using the tow in the last two and a half days so at the end of our test program we got a little tow to see how the gearing was and how the car felt in that situation. The speed on the timesheet was obviously a little artificial but I was happy with how the car felt. Tomorrow we will start working on the race setup.”

 

FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07.. In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We didn’t run too much today.  We had a little problem with a fuel pump but we are still going according to schedule; building up speed little by little and working on getting my confidence back.  Today was my first day to work with my engineer Bruno. He was in Laguna Seca for the team’s ALMS race so we are going through data and we made some little changes today. We have more changes planned for tomorrow but for now I am quite happy with the way things are going.
     (On favorite Indy 500 memories:) “I wasn’t here in 1989 when my uncle Bernard won Rookie of the Year but I came in 1991 and that was my present for my 15th birthday.  I enjoyed it so, so much.  For me the tradition of this race is fantastic.  Every time I go through Gasoline Alley people say hello, that they are happy to see me return and everything. I didn’t expect so many people to remember me and be so nice.”

FAST FACTS: Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry will be sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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. 

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director of Motorsport Operations:  “We started the day with Michel on track and unfortunately we had a little bit of a fuel pressure issue with the Honda system this morning which negated running from 12-3 which was our initial plan.  Fortunately we were able to repair the problem and get back out to where Michel had a good run during perfect conditions in ‘Happy Hour’ as we say here in Indy from 5-6 p.m. in the final hour and were able to run in traffic.  Michel is running at the full potential of the car in its current aero settings. We are just making sure that we are giving him plenty of track time and making him work with all the adjustments in the car and totally familiarizing himself with all of the adjustments before we start to trim the car as we have with Takuma. Takuma is right at the top of the charts so we are very pleased with the engineering staff at the moment. They are doing a good job and Takuma is doing a good job on his feedback.  It’s a leading platform which Michel, in another two days of good track time, I believe that by Friday and Saturday Michel will be close to his full potential. We are very happy with our program; we are still exactly to the plan.  The weather is cooperating and all is well.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Practice will take place from May 12-18 for the 96th Indianapolis 500.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Sato and Jourdain Jr. Ended Day 2 of Practice for the Indy 500 in 13th and 30th Respectively

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, May 13, 2012

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. ENDED DAY 2 OF PRACTICE FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 13TH AND 30TH RESPECTIVELY
 

1)         Sebastian Saavedra  221.526 mph / 40.6272          44 laps
13)       Takuma Sato             218.016 mph / 41.2814          56 laps
30)       Michel Jourdain        214.117 mph / 42.0330          13 laps

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a good day. There was a chance of rain in the forecast initially but it stayed dry and we were able to get a lot of work done.  We verified quite a few setup changes, tried all of the setup changes we wanted and made good progress. We ran a good number of laps with decent speed. I am happy to hand over the testing to Michel.  We were working on a bit of both the qualifying and race setup; basically general car setup.”
 

FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07.. In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… 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.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Today was a short day for me. Yesterday I did most of the running and Takuma ran in the afternoon. Today he did most of the running and I ran a little bit in the afternoon.  The car felt really weird so we are going to check it over tonight.  It felt very, very different from yesterday which sometimes happens at super speedways.  We tried to make some changes from yesterday but we will go back and check to make sure all of the settings are all right.   We still have many days before qualifying so I am looking forward to working on the setup more.”
 

FAST FACTS: Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry will be sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… 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. 

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director of Motorsport Operations:  “Overall today was the perfect conclusion to the first two days of running here. We are extremely happy with both drivers and programs. Obviously Takuma has got a lot more miles this season than what Michel has. Takuma was able to do basically wind tunnel work for us today all day. Michel had a good run just building miles yesterday. We took a little more time with Takuma today running through the aero program and translated that later onto Michel’s program. There is no real surprise in the different speeds because the aero was quite a bit different on Michel’s car than it was on Takuma’s. Basically, these first two days Gerry Hughes has been building a database for our engineers that are coming in tomorrow from our ALMS race in California. We will be at full strength and will have a barrel of information that we can ponder through. We are looking forward to a big week. We are very happy with the speeds so far.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Practice will take place from May 12-18 for the 96th Indianapolis 500.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

BMW Team RLL Finish Third and Fourth at Laguna Seca

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – May 12, 2012… Although both BMW Team RLL M3 GT’s lead the GT class for a significant part of the six-hour American Le Mans Monterey race, they ultimately finished in the third and fourth positions.

Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller completed 232 laps of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit bringing the No. 55 BMW M3 GT home in third place, scoring their first podium together and delivering the team’s third consecutive podium of the season.

Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished just behind their teammates in fourth place. Both drivers were on the receiving end of aggressive contact by competitors during the race with Hand getting the worst of it while leading. Rear ended by the second place Corvette just past the mid-race mark the No. 56 M3 GT would ultimately lose the rear fascia and diffuser affecting the car’s aerodynamic balance for the remainder of the race.

Slowed by multiple caution periods during the first five-and-one-half hours, the race was ultimately decided in the last 15 minutes after the green flag waved following the last full-course yellow of the contest. With Müller firmly in control of fourth, Auberlen restarted the No. 55 M3 GT from second. Before the experienced Californian could make a charge for the lead he was blocked by a prototype entering turn one allowing the third place Corvette to squeeze by for the second spot. Losing more ground on the exit of the corner he had to settle for third.

BMW now stands second in Manufacturer points. Hand and Müller are second in Driver points with Auberlen and Müller moving into a tie for fourth.

“Our competitors certainly are not making it easy,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We hung in there despite being hit many times and came away with valuable points.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT (third): “This was a six-hour race and we treated as a 45 minute sprint. It's unreal how competitive this series has become. On the last restart I got hung out to dry by a prototype car and Magnussen took advantage of it. It is great to make the podium, but we still have two more steps to climb.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT (third): “I am happy to be back at Laguna Seca. This was a brilliant week. This was not an easy race, but Bill and I leave with our first podium together.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT (fourth): “We really got knocked around today. Losing the rear bumper loosened the car up in a big way. The car got so free in the high speed stuff that Dirk and I really had to hang on and work hard. This championship is tightening up only three races in. We will leave in second place in the driver standing but a number of the tracks coming up have been very good to us.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT (fourth): “Even though our car was damaged we still had the potential for a top-three finish, but just missed it. Congratulations to our teammates for their first podium of the season. I look forward to the next race at Lime Rock Park where Joey and I can try to regain the lead in driver points.”

Following the traditional break in the ALMS season for teams competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the series, the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, will be held at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. on July 7th.

About BMW Team RLL:

BMW Group In America

BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls- Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. 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 338 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.