Baguette joins Howard for two-car team
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN SIGNS BERTRAND BAGUETTE AS PART OF TEAM’S TWO-CAR INDIANAPOLIS 500 EFFORT
HILLIARD, Ohio (April 6, 2011) - Prepared to add another chapter to a legacy of success stories with young racing talent, Rahal Letterman Lanigan today announced the expansion of its Indianapolis 500 plans to a two-car effort by adding Bertrand Baguette to its lineup for the 100th anniversary running of the 500-mile classic.
Baguette, who will look to make his second start in the Indy 500, joins a previously-announced joint effort between RLL and Sam Schmidt Motorsports to field the #88 Service Central entry for Jay Howard. The two-car entry marks the first time since 2008 that RLL will field two cars at Indianapolis. Baguette will drive the #30 Honda/Dallara/Firestone with the support of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium and Aspria.
“We anticipate an exciting month at Indy with a pair of young drivers that are hungry to make their own marks in Indy Car,” said RLL co-owner and 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal. “Adding Bertrand to our lineup gives us a chance to make both entries stronger. Bertrand has shown throughout his career that he is a proven winner and he improves every time he gets into the car. We look forward to giving both Bertrand and Jay a great opportunity to compete and show their skills at the Indianapolis 500.”
Baguette, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 World Championship in 2009, made his first Indy 500 start a year ago, qualifying 24th and finishing 22nd. He competed in the final 15 races of the 2010 IZOD Indy Car Series season with Conquest Racing, placing in the top 15 in five of the year’s final seven starts. His rookie season showed great promise as the Belgian qualified in the top 15 in five of the final six events, highlighted by a sixth-place starting spot at Kentucky - a race where he would go on to earn his first Indy Car top-10 finish.
“To be there with a team of the caliber of Rahal Letterman Lanigan is very exciting.
“This is a very good opportunity for me and it is important for me to compete in the 100th anniversary of this great race,” said Baguette. “To be there with a team of the caliber of Rahal Letterman Lanigan is very exciting. They have great people and a rich history and I know we can do great things. Last year was my first time at Indy and it’s a big place and the speeds are high, but once you get used to that, you just focus on improving the race car. We qualified pretty easily on the first day and had a car that was running as fast as the top-10 guys in the race, but we had some misfortune with a broken mirror that set us back. I look forward to joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan and showing the world that I have the ability to run up front there.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan has earned 11 top-10 finishes at the Indianapolis 500 since its inception in 1992, punctuated by a victory in 2004 with Buddy Rice. The Ohio-based squad fielded Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-Year winners for Danica Patrick in 2005 and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2008 and led young drivers such as Vitor Meira, Patrick, Hunter-Reay and Roger Yasukawa to top-10 finishes in their second trips to Indy. Last year, the team qualified in the Fast Nine with Graham Rahal in the Memorial Day Classic, earning the seventh starting spot.