Sato signs with Rahal Letterman Lanigan for 2012 season

2/3/2012 7:58:56 AM

RLL is running a full IndyCar schedule this season for the first time since 2008. The team has run a partial IndyCar schedule the past three seasons, focusing its efforts more on American Le Mans Series competition. Ryan Hunter- Reay drove for RLL in '08, scoring one victory and finishing eighth in points. The racing organization ceased its IndyCar operations at the end of that season due to lack of sponsorship.

"RLL is extremely pleased to welcome Takuma to our IndyCar Series team for 2012, and we anticipate having a very strong season together," team co-owner Bobby Rahal said in a statement. "While we were determined to have an experienced driver for this season, we also needed someone that knew how to get to the front, and Takuma has shown that he can do that, and we expect to have a great opportunity to win races this year. He has made great strides through the last two seasons in IndyCar, and I have no doubt that we can produce a strong effort with him leading the team."

Television icon and racing aficionado David Letterman and businessman Mike Lanigan also co-own the team.

Sato drove for KV Racing Technology during his first two IndyCar seasons from 2010-11. Last season, he claimed his first pole in the series, which came at Iowa. He also won the pole at Edmonton. Sato recorded three top-five results and seven top-10s on his way to a 13th-place finish in points.

Prior to his IndyCar career, Sato competed in Formula One from 2002-08. He drove for Jordan, British American Racing and Super Aguri during his tenure in F1.

"I'm very proud, motivated and excited to be chosen by Bobby to join his big project," Sato said. "This team I feel has got huge potential. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has got a great history and record of winning, so my motivation is ever so high, and I am extremely thrilled to start the new season. With a new car for everybody, I am confident that we'll be up to speed very quickly."

RLL said in its new release it is currently preparing Sato's car for next month's IndyCar open test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. The team also noted its planning to enter a second car this season and intends to have ready for preseason testing as well.