AJ Foyt Racing confirms Takuma Sato for 2013 IndyCar season
|By Mark Glendenning||Thursday, January 10th 2013, 19:58 GMT|
Takuma Sato's long-expected switch to AJ Foyt Racing has been confirmed, with the Japanese driver moving across from Rahal Letterman Lanigan for the 2013 IndyCar season.
Sato will replace Mike Conway in the team's single full-time entry, with rookie Chase Austin having earlier been announced as the driver of a second car at the Indianapolis 500.
Team owner AJ Foyt said that Sato's combination of versatility, experience and enthusiasm made him a natural choice.
"There were a lot of question marks when the season ended but I'm happy to put an end to all that now," Foyt said.
"We chose to go with Takuma Sato because he brings a lot of experience to our team but he has the hunger of a rookie -and he's certainly proven he has the desire to win.
"I like the fact that he is competitive on both road courses and ovals and that he is a charger. I think he has learned quite a bit in the short time he's been over here and I look forward to working with him this year."
Sato said that he looks forward to tapping into some of the potential that he believes Foyt's team possesses.
"I have seen the potential of the team last year on a number of occasions," he said. "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 finished last season in 14th place with two podiums, although his year will be better remembered for his last-lap attempt to pass Dario Franchitti for the lead of the Indy 500; an endeavour that ended with him spinning into the barriers.
AJ Foyt Racing's best result with Conway in 2012 was a third in Toronto.
2013 IndyCar Series line-up so far: Team Engine Drivers AJ Foyt Racing Honda Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Chevy Ryan Hunter-Reay/James Hinchcliffe/Marco Andretti Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Alex Tagliani Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dario Franchitti/Scott Dixon/Charlie Kimball Dale Coyne Racing Honda tba Dragon Racing Chevy Sebastien Bourdais/tba Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy Ed Carpenter KV Racing Technology Chevy Tony Kanaan/Simona de Silvestro Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Chevy JR Hildebrand/Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Graham Rahal Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Josef Newgarden Schmidt-Hamilton Honda Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevy Will Power/Helio Castroneves