Allen McDonald has joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as senior development engineer after just a single season at Ed Carpenter Racing.
McDonald, who departed Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at the end of the 2017 season, has been race engineer or technical director for two IndyCar Series championships, two Indy 500 race wins and three Indy 500 poles. He was race engineer for the #20 ECR-Chevrolet this past season, running team owner Ed Carpenter on ovals and Jordan King on road and street courses.
RLLR, which expanded to two cars this year, for Graham Rahal and 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato, suffered a somewhat disappointing season. Aside from Sato’s lucky victory in Portland and Rahal’s runner-up finish in St. Petersburg, the team’s only other podium finish was third for Sato at Iowa Speedway. The pair finished eighth and 12th in the championship.
Bobby Rahal, who co-owns RLLR with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan, said: “I’m very pleased that Allen has finally decided to join our team. I have respected his ability for a number of years, dating all the way back to his time as an engineer at PacWest in the CART days and have shown interest in having him join our team.
“Allen obviously brings a lot of experience and success to the team but perhaps one of the biggest things I am excited about is the fact that he brings a fresh set of eyes and perspective. I can only think that he’s going to raise our level of engineering even higher than I feel it already is. We are very pleased and are looking forward to a productive off season.”
Said McDonald: “Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is recognized as one of the best teams in the IndyCar pit lane and I am excited to be part of that. I’m looking forward to working with everyone at RLL from the drivers to owners to the crew and hope I can contribute to the team’s future success.”
McDonald spent five years at PacWest Racing as race engineer for Mark Blundell and was later named technical director. From 2002-2009 he was at Team Green/Andretti Autosport (AA) where he was race engineer for Dario Franchitti who won the 2007 Indianapolis 500 and series championship. He spent the 2010-2011 seasons at FAZZT Race Team/Sam Schmidt Motorsport as race engineer for 2011 Indy 500 pole winner Alex Tagliani as well as chief engineer of Dan Wheldon’s Indy 500-winning program.
A switch to Andretti Autosport for the 2012-2013 seasons as Marco Andretti’s race engineer as well as technical director led to AA driver Ryan Hunter-Reay winning the 2012 series title. For the next five seasons, he was a race engineer for Mikhail Aleshin and James Hinchcliffe at Schmidt Peterson Motorsport where he engineered Hinchcliffe’s 2016 Indy 500 pole-winning car.
Dario Franchitti talking with his chief engineer, Allen McDonald
Photo by: Team KOOL Green
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