Bobby Rahal showcased his new American Le Mans Series BMWs at Daytona with the team drivers and will later head to Sebring, Florida for the preseason open IndyCar test days with his son Graham and James Jake.
Bobby Rahal thought he was a busy person during his racing days but as a team owner and businessman, he is even busier than ever. The 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner co-owns Rahal Letterman Racing, and the team fields an American LeMans Series team and an IZOD IndyCar Series operation.
A day ago, Rahal accompanied his BMW team to the Daytona International Speedway for the unveiling of a new BMW Z4 GTE car and a few days from now, he will be at Sebring International Raceway for an IndyCar test to be followed a day later with the first track test of the new BMW.
Regarding the upcoming IndyCar season, the former open-wheel champion stated, “We are very optimistic with Graham (Rahal) driving for us and a long-term sponsor in Midas, plus we just added another car with James Jakes the driver. And we have been able to add some good people to the team in the off-season, which makes me even more optimistic. On our first year back a year ago, we were in the hunt to win a couple of races and with Graham with us, I think we will be able to do it.”
Not every father is thrilled to watch his son or daughter race, but the elder Rahal sees it another way. “For me, it is a thrill to have him (with us), and I have a lot of respect for his talents. He’s a sharp young guy and I am excited. He’s shown he can run up front and win races. All of us are looking forward to have him with us.”
Rahal said his anxiety level will be reduced having him on the team instead of racing elsewhere, as he’s been doing of late. “There was more anxiety when he was racing with someone else and now I can focus on his race instead of his race and mine.”
There’s every reason to believe we can put two strong cars on the track.
Running two cars in 2013 is regarded as a positive by Rahal. “It is a plus for the team as there’s twice as much information available to us, and there are other benefits,” he said. “I think James (Jakes) has shown he can run competitively at times. There’s every reason to believe we can put two strong cars on the track.”
With this being the second year with the new IndyCar, Rahal believes the developed has 100progressed significantly. “The body work that was used at Indy will now be used at Pocono, Texas and Fontana, which will be a new twist,” he commented. “There’s more information available, and we are more confident about what we have.”
Rahal is interested in seeing how the standing starts and double-header programs evolve. “I love standing starts, so I think that is great,” he said. “The double-headers I am supportive of and exciting, but we will have to see how much carnage there is in the first race before I am 100 per cent supportive of it, but I do think it is worth the effort.”