When Takuma Sato came to America to contest the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010, many of his fans during his FIA Formula One career were disappointed but they still cheered him on as he raced for KV Racing Technology. For the road racer, he had to learn the ovals. The champion of the Macau F3 and of the F3 Masters in 2001 arrived in the United States ready and willing to take on the new challenge.
When he left KVRT, he had two poles under his belt and finished 13th in the standings. In 2012, the Japanese driver joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. His best finish last year was second on the temporary airport road course in Edmonton. Sato also reached the podium in Sao Paulo, Brazil – a track he was very familiar with due to his years in Formula One – in third.
Last season saw him blossom on the ovals and in the season finale in Fontana, he placed 7th after a race long 500 mile battle. Sato’s impressive run in the Indianapolis 500 last year caught the eye of Foyt; even when he hit the wall on the final lap. It is therefore not a surprise to note that Foyt was impressed with the fact that Sato went for the victory. Per the team press release: “Foyt appreciated Sato’s ‘No Attack, No Chance’ attitude that triggered the daring, but unsuccessful, pass of leader Dario Franchitti on the final lap.”
Sato commented: “I am extremely excited to be a part of A.J. Foyt Racing and working with ABC Supply for the 2013 season,” said Sato. “I have seen the potential of the team last year on a number of occasions. I think the team has one of the best engineering staffs in the paddock led by Don Halliday. I can’t wait to start testing next month.”
Sato added, “While I do not know A.J. well yet, it is unbelievable what he did in his career. A.J. has achieved so many wins in every type of car, at every type of circuit, and in every type of situation. That experience can only help in trying to win races this year. I think with A.J. and the team helping me this year, we can be very successful.”
The team owner and his new driver obviously have a mutual respect for one another and even though Foyt is a Texan and Sato is from Japan, they seem have an unique bond already. “A. J., Larry (Foyt) and I spoke on video conference just before the holidays,” Sato said, adding, “I think it was A.J.’s first time…I will have to work with A.J. a bit on the computer!”