Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has extended its contract with Takuma Sato to keep the veteran Japanese driver aboard its NTT IndyCar Series team for a third consecutive season.
Sato has taken RLL machinery to victory lane three times in his IndyCar career, representing the majority of his five wins in North America’s premier open-wheel championship.
A pole-to-win run at Barber Motorsports Park, podium results at the Indianapolis 500 and one race of the Detroit doubleheader and a pole position at Texas Motor Speedway join Sato’s triumph in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 near St. Louis as highlights of the former Formula One pilot’s 2019 season.
“We have been very pleased with the results and level of competition Takuma has shown this season,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “His two wins and two poles don’t fully indicate how competitive he has been overall this season and the fact that he was a contender at many other races.”
Representing RLL alongside Graham Rahal, Sato brings substantial F1 experience to IndyCar. Finishing third at the 2004 United States Grand Prix was the high point among his 90 F1 starts between 2002 and 2008 but was cast aside as a career highlight when Sato won the 2017 Indy 500 for Andretti Autosport.
“Every single member of the team is extremely loyal and have given me unbelievable support,” Sato said of RLL. “I truly feel at home here and I am so proud of the team. We have had another great season this year and even had some tough times but it only made our relationship stronger. I can’t thank Bobby (Rahal), Mike (Lanigan), David (Letterman) and the entire team enough and I am looking forward to finishing the season strong and also looking forward to 2020.”
The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in March 2020 will mark Sato’s 170th IndyCar start and the continuation of his time with RLL, which began in 2012 and was restarted when he returned in 2018.