Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Kohler Grand Prix – Road America
Round 10 of 16 in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series
June 24–26, 2016
Live on NBCSN beginning at 12 noon ET Friday, June 24
Tape delayed on NBCSN beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, June 25; live on the INDYCAR16 app, INDYCAR Radio Network and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring)
Live on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, June 26.
The race will air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com
4.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road course
50 laps / 202.4 miles
Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car); Rahal’s teammate at the time and most recent Indy car race
Sebastien Bourdais (1:41.535 / 143.525 mph)
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH:
Pole at St. Pete 2009 (street) & Kansas 2009 (oval) / 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana 2015 (super speedway), Mid-Ohio 2015 (road)
RAHAL’S BEST ROAD AMERICA START/FINISH:
4th in 2007 with NHLR (1:43.732) / 3rd in 2007; will be his 2nd Indy car race here & 6th overall
RLL’S BEST START/FINISH AT ROAD AMERICA:
1st – Kenny Brack (2001) / 2nd – Bobby Rahal (1996); 13th race here
NEWS & NOTES:
RLL RETURNS TO ROAD AMERICA FOR FIRST INDY CAR RACE SINCE 2003
The 2016 Kohler Grand Prix at Road America will mark the 13th time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing to compete in an Indy car race here and first since 2003. The team competed in CART and Champ Car-sanctioned raced here from 1992-2003 with a best starting position of pole by Kenny Brack in 2001 and best finish of second place by Bobby Rahal in 1996. The team has earned a total of four podium finishes here (2nd – Rahal 1996; 3rd – Rahal 1992-1993, Kenny Brack 2000).
Prior to 2016, the team prepared a total of 22 Indy car entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Jimmy Vasser (2002), and Michel Jourdain (2002-2003). The No. 15 Gehl / D-A Lubricant Honda entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 23 in 2016. The team has also competed in ALMS and IMSA-sanctioned races here under the name BMW Team RLL since 2009.
RETURN TO THE FAVORITE COURSE — ROAD AMERICA — FOR MANY INCLUDING RAHAL
The 2016 Kohler Grand Prix marks a return of Indy car racing to the track for the first time since the 2007 Champ Car Series event on August 12. Rahal, who finished third in that race as an 18 year old, has been looking forward to his return since then.
“Road America is my favorite track, and the favorite of many drivers. It’s the best track at four miles long, with elevation changes and many challenging, interesting parts. If you ask my dad or many drivers, they will tell you it’s the best, pure road course. Road America was another track that I went to a lot as a kid when my dad was racing. I spent a lot of time there and loved going there. It was definitely one of my favorites as a kid. A fun thing for me is that we have the Gehl car coming back and that will be as special for me as returning to Road America.”
RAHAL’S 2007 PODIUM FINISH, TITLE FIGHT, OTHER RACES HERE & EXPECTED COMPETITION FOR 2016
The Kohler Grand Prix at Road America will be Graham Rahal’s sixth race here and second in a Champ or Indy car. He finished third in the 2007 Champ Car race after starting fourth with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. An electrical failure in the season-finale Atlantic Championship race in 2006 at Road America after starting third led to a runner-up finish in the title fight with eventual champion Simon Pagenaud after he retired in 20th place. Rahal also competed in two Formula BMW events here in 2004 and once in Star Mazda in 2005.
“Racing wise, my results at Road America have been up and down,” said Rahal. “In Champ Car in 2007 we were on the podium and in Atlantic’s we had a mechanical problem and lost the championship so it’s been up and down. I’m definitely looking forward to being back there and will hopefully get better results this time around. I watched the 2007 race the other day. We had a good race car and were consistent and worked our way forward which is the same thing we’re going to have to do this time. The IndyCar Series is so competitive that it’s going to be a lot tougher this time around. There will be a lot of guys with good cars and with the draft — the way this car punches a hole in the air – you’re going to get a lot of passing because there will be guys who will be able to come from pretty far behind and get good runs.”
MORE ON GRAHAM’S 2006 ATLANTIC BATTLE WITH PAGENAUD AND THE FINALE
During Rahal’s 2006 title bid, he led 129 laps to champion Pagenaud’s 31. He earned a series-high five wins (42 percent), four poles (33 percent) and six podium finishes (50 percent) in the 12 events and at 17 years old was the youngest race winner in series history (Monterrey, Mexico on 5-21-06). He led the most laps (129, 32 percent) and set a series-high five fastest race laps and was awarded the BBS of America Rising Star Award but it all came down to the season-finale at Road America and a mechanical failure. His best finish of the 2016 season is second place in the Honda Indy Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park where he challenged eventual winner Pagenaud for victory. Rahal led four of the last nine laps but contact between the two further broke Rahal’s compromised front wing and Pagenaud was able to get the lead back. Some say it’s the best battle of the season so far and was reminiscent of their 2006 Atlantic series battles. The return to Road America brought back memories of that season for Rahal.
“It was frustrating because Simon had been taken out of the race so all I needed to do was have a decent finish, a top-10 or so. We were running third and the stuck throttle switch failed. That’s a very simple part and something I didn’t even know those cars had on them. It failed and I couldn’t get the car to run, it shut off several times and we ended up losing the championship which was frustrating.”
GRAHAM ON RUNNING THE PERFECT LAP ON A 4-MILE TRACK & HIS FAVORITE PARTS OF ROAD AMERICA
“To do it (a lap in an Indy car) all right, you are hanging on in the infield due to running so little downforce in order to be fast on the straights which makes it difficult to get that balance right. That’s one of the most challenging aspects of it plus it’s a long lap and to get the most out of every part of the track and put the perfect lap time together is a challenge in and of itself. In practice you might normally get 20 or 30 laps at any other road course but at Road America you might only get 10 because it takes so long to do it. The level of downforce on the car is one of the most challenging things about racing at Road America. You run as little downforce as possible to be fast on the long straights so in the slow speed parts of the track, you are kind of hanging on. The carousel is the most enjoyable. The kink is fast but the kink in these cars is just a quick moment of intensity whereas the carousel is long and you are really hanging on. And the speed that these things corner at nowadays, the carousel is definitely going to separate the men from the boys.”
GRAHAM ON EXPECTATIONS FOR THE KOHLER GP AFTER TESTING HERE JUNE 15
“Testing went really well and I do anticipate that we should be very competitive. We didn’t get to work on our car that much that day because we were doing a lot testing for INDYCAR so we’re going to arrive there, change a couple of things and I think we should be pretty good.”
BOBBY RAHAL AT ROAD AMERICA
Bobby Rahal competed in 10 Indy car races at Road America from 1989-1998 with a best start of pole in 1991 and best finish of second in 1996. He has earned a total of three podium finishes here (3rd – 1992-1993). A chart is available upon request.
– RLL –