Monthly Archives: December 2012

Top New Honda Dealer in the Nation — Norm Reeves Honda Superstore — Joins RLL as a Team Partner

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (December 18, 2012) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Norm Reeves Honda Super­store, the number one selling new Honda dealer in the U.S.A., has become an “Offi­cial Team Partner” of their IZOD IndyCar Series team that fields Honda-powered Indy cars.   
 
“Profes­sion­alism, deter­mi­na­tion and team­work are qual­i­ties of the Norm Reeves Honda Super­store team,” said Dave Conant, CEO of The CAR Group. “We find these same qual­i­ties in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing orga­ni­za­tion and we are very proud to partner with and to support such a great team.”
 
“We’re very pleased that Norm Reeves Honda Super­store has come on board as a team partner,” said Bobby Rahal.  “I have known Dave for many years as a fellow Honda dealer and have the utmost respect for how he does busi­ness. But what makes it partic­u­larly special is that Dave is great fan of motor racing, partic­u­larly road racing having grown up near Elkhart Lake. To have Dave join myself and the team is a huge plus for us. Dave has one of the most successful auto­mo­tive deal­er­ship groups in the United States and is a leader in virtu­ally every cate­gory and it’s a real honor to have him involved with our team.”
 
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing returned to full-time IZOD IndyCar Series compe­ti­tion in 2012 for the first time since 2008. Season high­lights include a second place finish in Edmonton and third in Brazil with Takuma Sato in addi­tion to being a contender for the team’s second victory in the Indi­anapolis 500 on the final lap.  In 2013 the team will begin their 22nd year of open wheel compe­ti­tion and attempt to add to their 20 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles and 1992 series cham­pi­onship.
 
In November, the team announced that Graham Rahal, 23, had signed a multi-year contract to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series for the team his father, 1986 Indi­anapolis 500 winner and three-time Indy car cham­pion Bobby Rahal co-owns with CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Michael Lanigan.  TBC Retail Group, who has spon­sored Graham since 2010, will be the primary sponsor while Valvo­line will be a major asso­ciate sponsor.
 
About Norm Reeves Honda Super­store
Norm Reeves Honda Super­store is America’s leading retailer of new Honda auto­mo­biles. It has led the nation in annual sales more than twenty times. The Super­store is part of The CAR Group, based in Newport Beach, Cali­fornia, with deal­er­ships in Cali­fornia and Florida. Norm Reeves Honda Super­store serves the greater Los Angeles metro market from it’s loca­tion in the Cerritos Auto Square.
 
About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Browns­burg, Ind., is 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.  In 2013 the team will begin their 22nd year of open wheel compe­ti­tion and attempt to add to their 20 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles and 1992 series cham­pi­onship.  The team also competes in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 — Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Cham­pi­onship and third in the Manu­fac­turer Cham­pi­onship.
 

 – RLL -

Graham Rahal Completed 205 Laps of Testing Over Three Days at Sebring With RLL

SEBRING, Fla. (December 13, 2012) – Graham Rahal, 23, completed a three-day test with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) today at the 1.65-mile Sebring Inter­na­tional Raceway short course.  After two days of inter­rupted testing due to rain, the team was able to complete 105 laps today to bring their three-day total to 205 laps with a best lap time of 53.480. 
 
“Today was good in the sense that we tried a lot of things but unfor­tu­nately I think there is some­thing in the car that has caused several issues all day, whether they be handling issues or braking issues that we could not get a handle on,” said Rahal. “We changed every­thing out that we could possibly think of but I think it’s some­thing that we will have to find back at the shop. Unfor­tu­nately we had a role reversal from the last couple of days where we felt the car was pretty good. The guys did a great job because we changed a lot of things in a short period of time today, really threw it at them and they responded well. They changed more in one day than I can ever remember changing; it was pretty busy.”
 
“It was a very diffi­cult and frus­trating day,” added race engi­neer Gerry Hughes.  “We strug­gled with the balance of the car in the morning and after­noon, having made some signif­i­cant changes over lunchtime. Over three days, we have had very change­able condi­tions and whilst we tried to react to them, in some cases we were second guessing what was going to happen to the circuit has led to a frus­trating three days. We strug­gled with brakes today and that certainly compounded some of the issues we’ve had. The circuit condi­tions over the three days were certainly pretty tricky.”
 
The team is currently formu­lating their test plans prior to the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season opener – the Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg on March 24.  The 2013 season will mark the seventh in a top-tier open wheel racing series for the 23-year-old, who became the youngest winner in major auto racing history when he drove to victory in his first IndyCar Series race at the 2008 Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg at the age of 19.  The following season he became the youngest pole winner at the same event – both while driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, a team co-owned by Michael Lanigan at the time.  Graham came close to winning again in 2012 as he led the closing laps at Texas Motor Speedway before a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place.
 
For more infor­ma­tion, log on to www.rahal.com, www.grahamrahal.com or www.indycar.com
 

- RLL -

Graham Rahal Completed 51 Laps on Day 2 of Testing at Sebring Before Rain Brought an Early End to the Test

SEBRING, Fla. (December 12, 2012) – Graham Rahal, 23, completed his second day of testing with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) today at the 1.65-mile Sebring Inter­na­tional Raceway.  The track was wet from an overnight thun­der­storm and morning sprin­kles and steadily began to dry near noon. The team began testing in earnest after a lunch break and continued until showers brought an end to the test day at approx­i­mately 2:30 p.m. ET after Rahal had completed 51 trouble-free laps with a best lap time of 54.20. 
 
“We went out and right away I think we found quite a bit of time,” said Rahal. “The base­line of the car was really good so I can’t say it was too chal­lenging to get up to speed. Gerry (Hughes) and the guys have done a great job. We had some big changes in mind and some ideas that we wanted to try and unfor­tu­nately Mother Nature doesn’t want us to try them.  We’ve been fighting the rain. But I think we’ve done a good job with our goal of being method­ical and figuring things out. I certainly don’t know where we stack up in terms of lap times but I’m not that worried to be honest. We didn’t get to run as much as we would have liked but we’ll be back out there tomorrow working away. It’s going to be a very full day because we’ve got a lot of things on our list that we really want to try and the guys are working hard right now to get these things done over night so we can get some sort of direc­tion from them. They are impor­tant things and we want to try to figure out if they are worth wile to use throughout the year.”
 
“We ran four laps in the morning and 47 in the after­noon and had just got into our stride at 2:30 when the rain came down with two-and-a-half hours to go and we hadn’t really gotten any further in terms of the items we wanted to test,” added race engi­neer Gerry Hughes.  “It was another frus­trating day in low grip condi­tions, thwarted by rain again. We should have a fine, dry day tomorrow but it certainly won’t be as warm as it was today.”
 
RLL was the lone team testing on Tuesday but multiple teams and drivers were on track today and are expected to return tomorrow when the team continues their test program. 
 
The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season will begin with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg on March 24.  The 2013 season will mark the seventh in a top-tier open wheel racing series for the 23-year-old, who became the youngest winner in major auto racing history when he drove to victory in his first IndyCar Series race at the 2008 Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg at the age of 19.  The following season he became the youngest pole winner at the same event – both while driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, a team co-owned by Michael Lanigan at the time.  Graham came close to winning again in 2012 as he led the closing laps at Texas Motor Speedway before a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place.
 
For more infor­ma­tion, log on to www.rahal.com, www.grahamrahal.com or www.indycar.com
 

- RLL -

Graham Rahal Completed 49 Trouble-Free Laps in His First Test Day as a Fulltime Driver for RLL Racing

SEBRING, Fla. (December 11, 2012) – Graham Rahal, 23, completed his first day of testing with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) today at the 1.65-mile Sebring Inter­na­tional Raceway. It was also his first time to drive an RLL-prepared race car on a road course after competing in one event for the team – the 2010 Indi­anapolis 500.  TBC Retail Group is primary sponsor of the No. 15 Dallara-Honda-Firestone entry while Valvo­line is a major asso­ciate sponsor.
 
Rahal completed 49 trouble-free laps of testing with a best lap time of 54.730 in low-grip, changing track condi­tions.  Light showers in the morning led to a day of testing in damp-to-dry-to-wet condi­tions and an after­noon shower at approx­i­mately 4:30 p.m. ET brought an end to the day. 
 
“We didn’t run a huge amount of laps but I think it was a pretty darn produc­tive day,” said Rahal.  “The car feels great. For the first day I am pretty impressed and certainly encour­aged by what we have.  At 9 a.m. we did an install check in the rain, came in and then basi­cally sat until noon because of the weather. Then right at noon we got out and got a lot of laps in, in a short period of time from noon to three. Then we stopped to make a longer change and right as we were getting ready to go back out it started pouring so unfor­tu­nately we didn’t get that run in.  The guys did a great job to get a lot of work done in a short period of time; we were really effi­cient. The fore­cast isn’t great for tomorrow. If it’s sunny we will run a lot and if its not, we are pretty limited on rain tires and we don’t want to bang up the car so we’ll have to see how much we run.  Even if we only get in as much as we did today, it’s good for us.”
 
“We completed 49 laps today in change­able weather condi­tions so we certainly didn’t manage to get every­thing done on our program because of that but we did get some very useful work done mid-afternoon,” added race engi­neer Gerry Hughes. “We took an early break for lunch and got on track at 12 and made some changes throughout the after­noon so what we did get done will give us initial insight into some of the devel­op­ment work we have done over the course of the winter. Graham is a very, very nice guy to work with, very calm and method­ical and we have had a produc­tive day given the weather condi­tions.”
 
Many teams will join RLL on track at Sebring on Wednesday and Thursday.  The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season will begin with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg on March 24.  The 2013 season will mark the seventh in a top-tier open wheel racing series for the 23-year-old, who became the youngest winner in major auto racing history when he drove to victory in his first IndyCar Series race at the 2008 Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg at the age of 19.  The following season he became the youngest pole winner at the same event – both while driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, a team co-owned by Michael Lanigan at the time.  Graham came close to winning again in 2012 as he led the closing laps at Texas Motor Speedway before a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place.
 

- RLL -

Veteran Engineer Eddie Jones Joins Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing; Will Work as Race Engineer for Second Indy Car Program

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (December 3, 2012) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Eddie Jones has joined the team as race engi­neer for the second 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series program the team is working to finalize. Most recently Jones spent over 15 years with Team Green/Andretti Autosport as a race engi­neer in Indy Lights, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series and moved to KV Racing Tech­nology in 2012 to be Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello’s race engi­neer. 
 
“Our inten­tion all along was to build our engi­neering depart­ment and Eddie is one of the best out there.” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “Given his track record, which is impres­sive, we are obvi­ously very pleased that he has chosen to join our team.  He will be the race engi­neer for the second program we expect to have, but in the mean­time before we finalize that, Eddie will contribute daily to our overall engi­neering effort.  I have always been impressed with the way he goes about his busi­ness, his person­ality and his strength as of a team player. His addi­tion is a very impor­tant part of our future success.”
 
Jones began his career in racing as a driver and race mechanic in 1971 and has built an impres­sive career since then.  He worked on race and championship-winning programs in series such as the MARC Midget Cham­pi­onship and British and Euro­pean F3 series, and was respon­sible for wind tunnel testing of Ralt F3 and F3000 cars.  His first expe­ri­ence in the United States was as a competitor in the Formula Super Vee series in 1983 and he moved here in late 1991 when he co-founded Shannon Car Corp. with the sole respon­si­bility for design, produc­tion and construc­tion of a proto­type Olds Pro Series car for its US debut. He was a consul­tant for various Atlantic and FF2000 programs and was team manager and engi­neer for FRE Racing’s Indy Lights program from 1994 – 1996. In late 1996, he was hired as chief engi­neer to turn around Team Green’s Indy Lights program. He was later promoted to race engi­neer for the team’s Indy car program and worked with Michael Andretti (2001 – 2003), Dan Wheldon (2003 – 2005), Marco Andretti (2006 – 08, 2011-12) and Danica Patrick (2009 – 10) through the current name change to Andretti Autosport (AA). Overall, while at AA he engi­neered 13 Indy car wins, including Dan Wheldon’s 2005 Indy 500 win and series title, and five top-three Indy 500 finishes. His 2012 season as F1 driver Barrichello’s engi­neer at KV Racing Tech­nology produced an 12th place season-ending standing in his rookie year, two top-five finishes and an 11th place in the Indy 500.  
 
“I am very excited to have joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said Eddie Jones. “Bobby Rahal has been a winner both as a driver and as a team owner so he fully under­stands what it takes to be successful at this level and has built a team that is clearly up to the task. In partic­ular I like the emphasis he places on the impor­tance of engi­neering and am impressed by the group he has assem­bled under Tech­nical Director Jay O’Connell and with Race Engi­neer Gerry Hughes. I believe my long­standing Indy car expe­ri­ence and partic­ular skill sets will serve to compli­ment their existing program and assist in the pursuit of greater compet­i­tive­ness for 2013 and beyond.“
 
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing returned to full-time IZOD IndyCar Series compe­ti­tion in 2012 for the first time since 2008. Season high­lights include a second place finish in Edmonton and third in Brazil with Takuma Sato in addi­tion to being a contender for the team’s second victory in the Indi­anapolis 500 on the final lap.  In 2013 the team will begin their 22nd year of open wheel compe­ti­tion and attempt to add to their 20 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles and 1992 series cham­pi­onship.
 
About Eddie Jones
Jones earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in Aero­nau­tical Engi­neering from Impe­rial College of Science and Tech­nology, Univer­sity of London in 1990.  A successful former open-wheel driver, Jones raced from 1971 – 1978 in various British cate­gories and earned British Formula Vee Rookie of the Year in 1976. He moved to FF2000 in 1979, on to Formula Super Vee in England and Europe in 1982 and ran in the Formula Super Vee series in the United States in 1983.  While racing, he worked in a variety of capac­i­ties such as mechanic, design engineer/manufacturer, and design consul­tant for compa­nies such as Paul Emery Cars, Baty Racing Team and Shannon Cars. After a four year stint with March Engi­neering as Chief Aero­dy­nam­i­cist – Ralt Cars Divi­sion from 1989 – 1992 where he was respon­sible for the model shop and wind tunnel testing of Ralt F3 and F3000 cars, he moved to the United States to co-found Shannon Car Corp. with full and sole respon­si­bility for the design, produc­tion and construc­tion of proto­type Olds Pro Series cars for its USA debut. The program went on to earn multiple wins and poles. He was a consul­tant engi­neer with Stuart Moore Racing (Formula Atlantic; 1993 – 1994) and Team Atlanta Motor­sports (Hooters FF2000; 1995 – 1996) and also estab­lished FRE Racing, a new Indy Lights team on behalf of owner Peter Faucetta Sr., from 1994 – 1996.  Drivers included Robbie Buhl, Jackie Scheckter, Jose Cordova and team owner Peter Faucetta Jr. In late 1996, he was hired as chief engi­neer of Team Green’s strug­gling Indy Lights program and went on to produce wins, poles and podiums before he was promoted in 2001 to race engi­neer for the team’s Indy car program where he worked with Michael Andretti (2001 – 2003), Dan Wheldon (2003 – 2005), Marco Andretti (2006 – 08, 2011-12) and Danica Patrick (2009 – 10) through the current name change to Andretti Autosport. Overall, while at Andretti Autosport he engi­neered 13 Indy car wins, including Dan Wheldon’s 2005 Indy 500 win and series title, and five top-three Indy 500 finishes. His 2012 season as F1 driver Barrichello’s race engi­neer at KV Racing Tech­nology produced an eighth place season-ending standing for the rookie’s year, two top-five finishes and an 11th place in the Indy 500.
  
About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Browns­burg, Ind., is 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.  In 2013 the team will begin their 22nd year of open wheel compe­ti­tion and attempt to add to their 20 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice — their 29 poles and 1992 series cham­pi­onship.  The team also competes in the Amer­ican Le Mans Series as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manu­fac­turer and Team Cham­pi­onships in the GT cate­gory in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 — Manu­fac­turer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Cham­pi­onship and third in the Manu­fac­turer Cham­pi­onship.
 

 – RLL -