Takuma Sato will lead Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's return to full-time racing in the IndyCar Series this year, the team has announced.
The ex-Formula 1 racer has switched from KV Racing, where he has spent the past two seasons since joining the series at the start of 2010.
"I'm very proud, motivated and excited to be chosen by Bobby [Rahal, team boss] to join his big project," said Sato, who has two pole positions and a best finish of fourth in his IndyCar career.
"This team I feel has got huge potential. It has got a great history and record of winning so my motivation is ever so high and I am extremely thrilled to start the new season. With a new car for everybody, I am confident that we'll be up to speed very quickly."
The new season marks the return to full-time action for Rahal's team, which has not entered a car for a full IndyCar season since running Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2008. It confirmed that it plans to run a second car alongside Sato's, and hopes to have that running during pre-season testing.
Speaking of the deal with Sato, three-time Indycar champion Rahal added: "While we were determined to have an experienced driver for this season, we also needed someone that knew how to get to the front and Takuma has shown he can do that.
"We expect to have a great opportunity to win races this year. He has made great strides through the last two seasons and I have no doubt that we can produce a strong effort with him leading the team."
To find out who and what Sato credits for his rise through the IndyCar ranks, read Marcus Simmons' in-depth interview.