Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pre-Season MEDIA DAY & OPEN TEST — Notes & Quotes

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 22nd Season
Pre-Event NOTES & QUOTES
 
 
DATE:                                                     Monday — Wednesday, March 11 – 13, 2013
TRACK LAYOUT:                                   2.38-mile, 17-turn road course
RLLR TOP START/
FINISH AT BARBER:                             Sato qual­i­fied 16th, ran as high as 12th and retired in 24th place due to engine
                                                                failure; 1 event here to date
G. RAHAL’S HIGHEST ROAD/
STREET COURSE START/FINISH:        Pole at St. Pete 2009 / 1st at St. Pete 2008
JAKESHIGHEST ROAD/
STREET COURSE START/FINISH:        8th at Motegi 2011 / 8th at Toronto 2012
CONWAY’S HIGHEST ROAD/
STREET COURSE START/FINISH:        2nd at Barber / 1st at Long Beach 2011
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
RETURN TO FULLTIME, MULTI-CAR TEAM
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will begin their 22nd consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion in 2013.  This season marks the first time the team has prepared more than one full­time entry for the full IZOD IndyCar Series season since 2007 when Scott Sharp and Jeff Simmons drove for the team. Simmons was replaced by Ryan Hunter-Reay for the final six of 17 races. The team entered cars in the Indy 500 each year since then and will prepare the No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry for James Jakes for the full 2013 season and will enter the No. 17 blu eCigs entry for Mike Conway in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Conway will pilot the No. 16 car on Tuesday at Barber Motor­sports Park (BMP) and Jakes will take over on Wednesday.
 
GRAHAM RAHAL ON THE INTENSE TWO WEEKS AHEAD
Graham Rahal, 24, will compete in his seventh season in a major open wheel series and his first full one with RLL.  He is looking forward to the BMP test to see where he and the team stack up against the compe­ti­tion heading into the 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete season opener March 22 – 24.
            “I’m looking forward to Barber because it’s different than Sebring, which is a pretty hard place to gauge your­self against the compe­ti­tion,” said Rahal. “Barber is pretty repre­sen­ta­tive because it’s a track we will race at. I’m looking forward to getting there. I guess more than anything it’s a track I really, genuinely love. For us as a team, it’s going to be our first and last bench­mark before we hit the road and get racing this year. It’s going to the first time we really, truly see where we are versus our compe­ti­tion. After that test we’re going racing in St. Pete. It’s going to be intense but it’s going to be a quick turn­around.”
 
RACE ENGINEER GERRY HUGHES ON CONTINUING TO BUILD ON THE 2013 TEST PROGRAM WITH GRAHAM
The 2013 season will mark the second for race engi­neer Gerry Hughes at RLL and in the IZOD IndyCar Series. He is looking to build on the knowl­edge gained with Graham Rahal from a test in December and February.
            “Barber is going to be a crucial test for the entire team but more specif­i­cally for Graham as we continue to build on our expe­ri­ences of the previous two test events; both of which have been at Sebring,” said Hughes. “I have only been to Barber Motor­sports Park once since joining RLL, so there is a great deal to consider regarding the specifics of this demanding road course but this is testing and we have a defined program of tests to run through, so I am looking forward to Tuesday. Having said that, all cars present will have their 2013 race engines fitted and will conform to the 2013 regu­la­tions, so it will be inter­esting to see where we stand in the pecking order at the end of the day going in to the first race event at St. Peters­burg in a few weeks time.”
 
JAMES JAKES IS LOOKING FORWARD TO HIS THIRD INDYCAR SEASON AND FIRST WITH RLL
James Jakes has competed at BMP two times with Dale Coyne Racing. He started 20th in 2012 and finished 16th and retired in 25th in 2011 due to mechan­ical failure after qual­i­fying in the same posi­tion.  Jakes is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of an IndyCar at Barber for the first time since the conclu­sion of the 2012 season.
            “It will be exciting to get back out there and shake a few cobwebs off,” replied Jakes, who just returned from a quick trip to visit family and friends in England. ‘I’m really excited to start working with the team and get into the swing of things, really. Hope­fully the weather will be good to us so we can get quite a lot of work done.  Gener­ally Barber provides a good, general setup for most road courses we go to although we only go to Barber and Sonoma this season. Gener­ally if you can dial in Barber right, then you can carry that over to Sonoma. For me it will just be about getting back in the car. It’s a good place to check the high speed balance and that will get me up to speed for this year and get me ready for (the season-opener in) St. Pete. I have been spending time in the gym and shifter kart to get as much time as I can before the season starts. I’m going to try to get in the kart before the test and then also after the test before St. Pete to try to get as much mileage and speed as I can.”
 
RACE ENGINEER EDDIE JONES ON WORKING WITH FELLOW BRIT JAKES
Eddie Jones joined the team in December to be the race engi­neer for the team’s No. 16 entry. 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. 
            “I’m really looking forward to working with James,” said Jones. “He’s been in the series a couple of seasons and had a very good repu­ta­tion in Europe. I certainly don’t think we’ve seen his poten­tial real­ized in this series, no where near. I’m looking forward to striking a rapport with him and getting a very good working rela­tion­ship and hope­fully build on that through the season and get the results he’s capable of. It’s a shame with the limited testing, we are going to run at Barber and then it’s on to the first race shortly after that so we are going to have to hit the ground running. But we’re both English, we speak the same language so to speak and I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s a good chal­lenge and I really feel that James has the capa­bility to be compet­i­tive in this series so hope­fully we can achieve that with him.”
 
MIKE CONWAY RETURNS TO BARBER WHERE HE HAS TWO, TOP-FOUR STARTS IN THREE EVENTS
Mike Conway will drive the team’s No. 17 blu eCigs entry in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and will test the No. 16 car on Tuesday at Barber Motor­sports Park. He has competed at BMP three times. In 2012 he qual­i­fied fourth and finished seventh for A.J. Foyt Racing. He qual­i­fied 16th and retired in 22nd after contact in 2011 for Andretti Autosport and qual­i­fied second with Dreyer & Rein­bold Racing in 2010 and finished ninth. He is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of an Indy car for the first time since the 2012 Balti­more street race where he qual­i­fied second, started 12th after a 10-spot grid penalty and finished 16th.
            “It will be the first time in an IndyCar since September so I’m looking forward to getting back in,” said Conway. “It’s been about five months and it feels like it’s flown by really. I’m looking forward to blowing out the cob webs and getting a good feel for what the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car is like. And I’m also looking forward to start working with the team and engi­neers. It should be fun. Barber is a good circuit for me so hope­fully I can bring some things to the table and help out when I can. I enjoy the fitness part so I have been keeping that up. I have been doing lots of cycling and moun­tain biking over the winter, and just gener­ally keeping fit. Driving wise, I did a few bits before Christmas and some little bits after so driving wise I should be sharp. I think training keeps you sharp as well but you can’t beat seat time. It’s been a long time coming. I can’t wait to get back in the car.”
 
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR JAY O’CONNELL ON THE MANY CHANGES SINCE 2012
Since the conclu­sion of the 2012 season, the team has rebuilt the two race cars they utilized in 2012 as well as added three new ones. In addi­tion the Indy car team has doubled in size to accom­mo­date two full­time entries and a third at Long Beach. The Barber Open Test will be the first time for the team to have “all hands on deck” at a track.
             “We are all looking forward to the Barber test as we expand our IndyCar program to two full time cars this season,” said O’Connell. “We have new engi­neers and mechanics, new equip­ment, new cars, and of course new drivers that will all be working together at the test to prepare for St. Peters­burg just a few weeks away. We cannot wait to get started!“
 

RLL