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.
 

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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
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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