Hours before the final race of the 2018 season, Rahal Letterman Lanigan announced that Takuma Sato will be returning to the team for the 2019 season. Sato delivered the team’s only race win two weeks ago at Portland. Having the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner back in the No. 30 car will allow the team to keep the continuity for next season.
The team has been considering adding a third car for next year to work alongside Sato and Graham Rahal. Entering today’s season finale, Sato sits 11th in the standings, while Graham is 8th. The full release from today is below.
[Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Press Release]
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Takuma Sato will return to the team in 2019. Sato is the most recent winner in the IndyCar Series after having led 25 laps at the Grand Prix of Portland en route to his third series victory and first on a road course. It will be his third season with the team after having driven for RLL in 2012 and 2018.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to come to terms to extend Takuma’s contract,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. “He has always been very popular around the team whether he was driving for us or not so therefore it makes it even more special to have him continue with us after this season. We have had some good success with Takuma and the potential was there for even more. The team has really gelled around him. His guys have done a great job as the season has progressed and of course Portland showed that. It allows us to keep the continuity and good spirit going at the team to try to get even more wins and strong results in 2019.”
“I am really pleased to be back with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for 2019,” added Takuma Sato. “Bobby, David and Mike have done a fantastic job at putting together a great team and environment around me. I believe that we have everything we need to be consistent winners and compete for the IndyCar championship. I could not be happier.”
Sato, a native of Tokyo, Japan, has made 151 starts in the IndyCar Series since his rookie season in 2010. His Indy car highlights include wins in the 2017 Indianapolis 500, the 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Portland Grand Prix. He also has a total of eight podium finishes. In addition, he has earned seven Indy car poles and led a total of 503 laps. Prior to joining the IndyCar Series, he competed in 90 Formula One races between 2002-2008 with his highest finish of third at the 2003 United States Grand Prix. While with RLL, his best finishes were third in Sao Paulo and second in Edmonton, which was his best series finish at the time.