Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Sato Pleased with Pace on First Day of Testing at Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (February 23, 2012) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing resumed their pre-season IndyCar Series test program today with Takuma Sato at the 1.67-mile Sebring Inter­na­tional Raceway course. Sato completed 65 laps under warm condi­tions that reached 87 degrees and was happy with the progress.

“It was a good day,” said Sato.  “I was here in December for the manu­fac­turer day with Honda but it was winter and today it was like summer. It was really warm here which made the track condi­tions very different. Everyone went really fast because of the temper­a­ture and the track was fast due to the rubber that was already down. We were able to do a lot of miles and quite a few various test items today. I am very pleased with the amount of different things we tried; it was a produc­tive day.  We will go through the data tonight and we have a few more things to try tomorrow.  Testing here is very impor­tant for our street course set up. Before we come back here for the open test we wanted to do some other vari­a­tions as well.”

The team tested with Sato on Monday and Tuesday of this week at Barber Motor­sports Park and worked on the road course setup for the all new DW12 Dallara chassis for the first time.  This was the first test day working on the street course setup.

“Testing went well today,” added Jay O’Connell, tech­nical director at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.  “We had a good setup on the car from the moment we unloaded and Takuma was on his game and was really flying right from the start.  The street course setup is a lot softer than the road course setup and of course the Fire­stone tires were a bit different.  We were able to build on the day of testing we had with Takuma in the Honda test car here in December and were able to draw on our team expe­ri­ence on street course setups to put a package together here.  The track had a lot of grip. It was like testing on a street course the day after a race has been run.  The data we gain here will be very impor­tant this season since there are eight street races.”

Testing will resume at Sebring Inter­na­tional Raceway tomorrow.  The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season begins with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete on March 25.

- RLL –