Former Formula One driver Takuma Sato sees his arrival at Andretti Autosport as a huge opportunity.
The Japanese driver has effectively traded places with Carlos Munoz who has joined Conor Daly at AJ Foyt Racing over the off-season.
Sato joins Ryan Hunter Reay, defending Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti at the team.
Andretti Autosport was founded by Michael Andretti in 2003 and since than the team have won four Verizon IndyCar Series champions with Tony Kanaan (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007) and Ryan Hunter Reay (2014).
The Indianapolis based outfit have also won four Indianapolis 500 races with Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007), Ryan Hunter Reay (2014) and Alexander Rossi (2016).
Speaking to the Verizon IndyCar Series website ahead of his eighth season in the open wheel championship, Sato commented by saying:
Confident and excited about (the opportunity) and my motivation is high because Andretti is competitive, “It is, for sure, beneficial. We have seen that in years and years at Andretti Autosport, (it) is working extremely competitive throughout the season because of the driver lineup and the way they operate the team. Now obviously I could see why they could do that. It’s a very sophisticated engineering program. Those drivers share the data. It will be fun to enjoy, to work together and to make the team move forward, and that’s our only objective at the end of the day. I think this is a great opportunity for me to work with this foundation and organization. I’m extremely excited about it.
During last weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series open test at Phoenix International Raceway, during a qualifying simulation both Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato crashed at more or less the same place on the circuit and speaking about the test, the Japanese driver commented by saying:
Yeah, we shared a lot. “In fact, our race setup was pretty strong, which they basically shared those same things. We did try various setting and programs that seemed to be very productive. It was a shame that Alex and I had the problem with qualifying simulation, but other than that it was a very, very productive test.
Sato has driven for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, KV Racing and AJ Foyt Racing during his seven season’s in the Verizon IndyCar Series with 118 starts to his name.
Sato will join his team mate’s at Sebring International Raceway in a few weeks for a final private test prior to the start of the new season.
The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season gets underway in just under three weeks from March 10 -12 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg. For more information or to purchase tickets visit – http://gpstpete.com/