RLL Gained Valuable Oval Experience at Today’s Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
IZOD IndyCar Series – Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway
TESTING NOTES/QUOTES – Wednesday, April 4, 2012

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING GAINED VALUABLE OVAL EXPERIENCE AT TODAY’S TEST AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY; FIRST OVAL TEST FOR THE TEAM IN 2012

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I am very excited to be back at the Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway.  After a long winter, a street course and a road course race, to have your first test on an oval take place at Indi­anapolis is so exciting.  The place is so special and you feel the speed imme­di­ately; it’s really fast.  The car is quite different but it is only the first day for the team to run on an oval with it and we will continue to learn.  Our focus was to gather data and we went through a test plan to build a foun­da­tion for May.  In the end we were happier with the balance so it was a produc­tive test.”

FAST FACTS: Was RLL and Sato’s first test day on an oval of the 2012 season. Sato ran 60 laps for a total of 150 miles with a best lap time of 212.573 mph.… Sato qual­i­fied 10th for the Indy 500 in 2011 and finished 33rd after contact.  In 2010, he qual­i­fied 30th and finished 20th… It is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led the season-opener in St. Pete two times for a total of 11 laps. He qual­i­fied 15th and passed three cars on the start, passed three cars on the second (re)start and two on another to move to the lead two times. He pitted from the lead for his final stop and suffered a mechan­ical failure that resulted in a 22nd place finish… Sato passed four cars in his first stint at Barber, strug­gled on his second on primary tires and retired with mechan­ical failure… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  He led a total of 61 laps in 2011 in 11 so far in 2012.
 

INDY 500 HELMET CONTEST: Sato is holding a “With you Japan” Charity Design Contest and the winner’s design will be featured on his Indy 500 helmet.  The winner will be chosen April 6. For more infor­ma­tion log on to: http://www.withyoujapan.org/en/activity/

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato:  “We have had a reason­ably produc­tive day here today. We have been playing catch up in terms of the test which was conducted the end of last year. Whilst we have made progress, there is clearly a long way to go in terms of under­standing how to opti­mize perfor­mance of the new DW12 chassis. We will look at the data we have collected today and come back next month stronger and have a clearer direc­tion in terms of what we need to do to achieve a fast car.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY 2012 marks the 21st consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team. Team owner Bobby Rahal won the Indy 500 in 1986 and the team won the race in 2004 with Buddy Rice.

NEXT UP:  The series will take this weekend off and return to action on April 15 for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. RLL won the GT class of the ALMS race from pole in Long Beach last year with Joey Hand and Dirk Müller.  The team will field entries in both the IZOD IndyCar Series and ALMS races at Long Beach.