INDIANAPOLIS (February 21, 2012) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing completed a successful two days of testing at Barber Motorsports Park today in preparation for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Takuma Sato completed 52 laps in the No. 15 Honda-Dallara-Firestone race car on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn course today and ran a total of 219 trouble-free miles of testing over the two days.
“It was good to complete our first test in Barber,” said Sato. “On the second day we had more mileage than yesterday. We tried various setups. They were not always the right direction but with a new car you need to explore both ends. It was positive that we experienced quite a few different things so I look forward to reviewing the Barber test data with the engineers in Sebring and continuing to improve the car. It was also good to work with everyone. It’s a great chance for all of us to go over the procedure with the new car together. Each time we test, we will work together better and improve our communication and I am looking forward to that.”
Sato will begin his third season in the IndyCar Series in 2012 after a sophomore season that saw him earn three top-five finishes, seven top-10s and lead 61 laps on his way to a 13th-place finish in the point standings. He also started from pole at the Iowa Speedway oval and temporary airport course in Edmonton.
“We got a lot of running in, more today than yesterday, and we learned a lot about the car,” said RLL technical director Jay O’Connell. “We tried different setup directions to see how sensitive the car is because it’s a new animal. The test here shows us that we are getting to understand the new car and we’re looking forward to getting another two days in Sebring to keep learning and getting dialed in with a different set up. Barber was about working on road course setup and Sebring will be more about street course setup to get ready for the first race in St. Pete.”
“I am exceptionally pleased with the results,” added Tom Anderson, Managing Director Motorsport Operations. “Obviously putting a team together in seven weeks is not an easy task for anyone involved. Time schedules, having a new car this year, late parts delivery dates and etc. has put a lot of pressure on the guys. They worked a lot of hours last week so it has been challenging but they rose to the occasion. The pressure these guys are under will continue until St. Pete and Barber race because there is a big learning curve but everybody is having a good time. The chemistry is still building. Takuma did an excellent job today and yesterday in dealing with the engineers for the first time. The car ran well, the Honda engine was quite good and, as always we were very happy with the Firestone tires. We’re looking forward to getting to Sebring and some warmer weather.”
Testing will resume at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday and Friday. The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season begins with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete on March 25.
– RLL –