Michel Jourdain Jr. Returns to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the 2012 Indy 500; Office Depot Mexico to Sponsor Entry

INDIANAPOLIS (April 24, 2012) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that Michel Jour­dain Jr., who brought the team Indy car wins in Montreal and Milwaukee Champ Car World Series races in 2003, will return to the team for the 2012 Indi­anapolis 500. Jourdain’s No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry will be spon­sored by Office Depot Mexico with asso­ciate spon­sor­ship from Rosh­frans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi.

“I am extremely happy about this new oppor­tu­nity,” said Michel Jour­dain, 35.  “My best years profes­sion­ally came with Bobby Rahal.  I have been working out harder than ever to make sure I am as fit as possible. I know it is a huge chal­lenge, to drive at the Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway after so long and with this type of car, but I hope that I will feel at home in a few days.  For me, this is not only a profes­sional project, it is also personal, and having Office Depot Mexico, their suppliers and Rosh­frans supporting me like they did 10 years ago means a lot to me. This shows that we did a good job for them.”

Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Columbia. By the end of April the company will operate 250 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.

“We are very excited about having Michel (Jour­dain) repre­sent us in the most impor­tant race in the world,” said Arturo Hernández Martínez, Subdi­rector de Mercadotecnia, Office Depot® de México.

Jour­dain, who is from Mexico City, returns to open-wheel compe­ti­tion for the first time since 2004. He became the youngest driver to start a Champ Car race to date when he drove at Long Beach in 1996 at the age of 19 years, six months and 12 days old. He made 152 starts in CART and Champ Car from 1996 – 2004 plus three Indy Racing League starts, including the 1996 Indy 500 where he qual­i­fied eighth and finished 13th and the 1996 race in Las Vegas where he finished second in a 28-car field.  He won races in Montreal and Milwaukee in 2003 with Team Rahal and moved to RuSPORT for 2004 when Team Rahal focused solely on the Indy Racing League that season.  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.

“I am pleased to have Michel back with the team,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal.  “When we were last together we had a lot of success and I don’t see any reason why we can’t continue that.  It is also good to repre­sent Office Depot again and their many asso­ciate spon­sors that are making this happen.  We are really pleased for Michel and happy to be a part of this.”

“I have only competed in the Indy 500 once in 1996, but you can always see that this race is the best,” added Jour­dain.  “Bobby and I spoke in Las Vegas, but also I came to the new shop in Indy the first days of January.   I saw in Bobby a big commit­ment to get back to the top in Indy car racing.  With the hiring of Tom Anderson and the very strong engi­neering group, I feel this is the best chance for me to come back strong. Every­body in the team knows that it will take some time for me to readapt to this type of cars and racing, but with the show­ings Takuma (Sato) had in the begin­ning of the season and the team’s history at the Indy 500, I know we can have a strong month of May.”

Jour­dain will turn his first laps in the new Honda-powered DW12 on Thursday, May 10 during the Rookie Orien­ta­tion Program.  Although he will be clas­si­fied as a veteran, the team will be allowed to partic­i­pate in a “refresher” course.  Opening Day for the 96thRunning of the Indi­anapolis 500 is Saturday, May 12.

In three IZOD IndyCar Series races so far in 2012, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has led three times for a total of 27 laps with Takuma Sato with a best finish of eight place in Long Beach.  The team won the 1992 IndyCar cham­pi­onship as well as the 2004 Indi­anapolis 500 from pole.  RLL Indy cars have finished in the top 10 in more than half of its 590 career series starts.

About Office Depot Mexico

Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Columbia. By the end of April the company will operate 250 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing…

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) is based in Hilliard, Ohio and Indi­anapolis, Indiana and 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. The team has been competing since 1992 and has earned a total of 20 open-wheel wins with drivers such as Bobby Rahal, Bryan Herta, Max Papis, Kenny Brack, Jimmy Vasser, Michel Jour­dain Jr., Buddy Rice and Ryan Hunter-Reay. It is their first full season of Indy car compe­ti­tion since 2008.

 

- RLL –