Michel Jourdain Jr. Returns to RLL for the 2013 Indy 500; Office Depot Mexico to Again Sponsor Entry

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 23, 2013) – It was announced today in Mexico City that Michel Jour­dain Jr., who brought Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Indy car wins in Montreal and Milwaukee Champ Car World Series races in 2003, and who drove for the team in the 2012 Indi­anapolis 500 will again join the team for the 2013 500-mile event.  Office Depot Mexico returns as the primary sponsor of Jourdain’s No. 17 entry and Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi return as asso­ciate spon­sors.
 
“I am very happy to compete in the Indi­anapolis 500 again,” said Michel Jour­dain, 36.  “It has been a year since I have been in the car but I will take the same strategy as last year and build up speed little by little. We have good confi­dence because we ran pretty well last year, espe­cially Takuma (Sato).  I’m sure the car will be really good and with it being a three car team we should be able to progress much faster. I’m happy to be working with Bobby and the guys again as well as with Bruno (Couprie) my engi­neer, who I worked with last year. I have worked with Office Depot Mexico for over 11 years now and I am thankful that they will be the primary sponsor again. I’m also happy to have Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi back again as asso­ciate spon­sors. Hope­fully we can give them all a great result in the Indy 500.”
 
Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Colombia. By the end of April the company will operate 242 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.
 
“We are very excited about having Michel (Jour­dain) repre­sent us again in the most impor­tant race in the world,” said Arturo Hernández Martínez, Marketing Director, Office Depot® de México.
 
Jour­dain, who is from Mexico City, returns to compe­ti­tion for the first time since the 2012 Indi­anapolis 500 where he qual­i­fied 22nd and finished 19th. 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 very pleased to have Michel join the team again for the Indy 500,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal.  “I think that last year for his first race back after a number of years out of an Indy car, he did a very good job. We made a bad pit call last year and let him down frankly which put him a lap down. He quickly got with the program at Indy and was running compet­i­tively in the race and I think that one year later most of the rust is off and he will be much more prepared because he knows what to expect. From a car stand­point, we should be even more compet­i­tive than we were last year so I am really pleased to have Michel back. He is a great young guy and it’s a plea­sure to have him, Office Depot Mexico, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi back. It should be a good event for every­body.”
 
Jour­dain will return to the cockpit of an Indy car on Opening Day for the 97th Running of the Indi­anapolis 500 on Saturday, May 11. 
 
RLL’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 top-three finishes (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.  In 2012, RLL driver Takuma Sato was along­side even­tual Indy 500 winner Dario Fran­chitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but limited trac­tion and possible tire contact cata­pulted him into a spin and he ulti­mately finished 17th after leading the third most race laps.
 
About Office Depot Mexico…
Office Depot Mexico oper­ates in seven coun­tries including Mexico, Central America and Colombia. By the end of April the company will operate 242 loca­tions and has annual sales of approx­i­mately $1 billion USD.
 
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 -