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Rahal IndyCar vows to fight Panther's lawsuit over National Guard

Ryan Briscoe, Panther, Graham Rahal, RLL, Indianapolis IndyCar test September 2013

Rahal Letterman Lanigan has vowed to "vigorously fight" the lawsuit issued last week by IndyCar rival Panther Racing over the reallocation of the National Guard sponsorship.

RLL was one of four defendants named in the lawsuit, which was initiated a few weeks after Panther's protest over the awarding of the National Guard deal to Bobby Rahal's team from 2014 was denied by the US Government Accountability Office.

"RLL believes it is unfortunate and disappointing that Panther has filed a lawsuit making serious allegations against the National Guard's decision process," read the statement.

"RLL also believes that Panther's lawsuit has no merit as a matter of fact and law.

"RLL's lawyers will vigorously defend RLL so it can focus on what matters most - representing the courageous men and woman of the National Guard and winning races."

Panther was the incumbent holder of the National Guard deal when six teams were invited to submit proposals for the new contract last year.

The John Barnes-led team argued that it was unfairly prejudiced by the fact that the National Guard based its final decisions on summaries of the team proposals provided by a third party, rather than on the proposals themselves.

However this argument was rejected by the GAO, which noted that RLL outperformed Panther in three of the criteria upon which the proposals were being judged, and was rated equally with Panther in the fourth category.

It also noted that RLL's base price for the sponsorship was cheaper than Panther's by nearly $5 million per year.

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Panther in National Guard legal action