Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda says like always he is looking forward to the start of the new season.

The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season gets underway with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg this weekend and looking ahead to the race Rahal said:

“I have put a lot of effort into the physical fitness side of things,” said Rahal. “Not that I don’t every year but this year I certainly got out of Christmas a whole lot lighter than I did last year. I’m trying to focus on being the best version of me that I can be. I’m taking care of my body. We’ve seen this in other athletes like Tom Brady, LeBron and more. These guys talk about the aches and pains in their bodies as they get older. I need to put a lot more emphasis this year on taking care of my body and making sure I am ready each-and-every weekend. From a team perspective, everybody has put in a ton of effort. From the engineering side we have really thought outside the box. I’m excited. We put a lot of emphasis on development. The mechanics always do a great job but they’ve also been pushing very hard on their pit stop times. Not that it was weak before but everyone is really determined. After last year, everyone is fired up. We had a lot of bad luck and a lot of things that didn’t go our way last year and we’re certainly hoping with all of the preparation for this year that they do.”

When it comes to Rahal’s expectations for the season ahead ahead he said:

My expectations are high for the season like they are every year. We know we can win. I know I can win as a driver and we know we can win as a team. St. Pete is a great place to start it off. We have had good success there. We had a win in 2008 and another podium and have also had a lot of bad luck. Last year we had some bad luck but we’re excited to get out there and start the season off on the right foot and get some good points. The expectations are high but why should we expect less from ourselves. Particularly in this day and age, you’ve got to push yourself as hard as possible, you’ve got to expect the most out of yourself and be as committed and determined as possible. It lit a fire under me, we went through a dry spell there for a while which was tough for me, tough for the fans. I heard plenty about it. But then we won five times in three years which was pretty solid given the level of competition here. We’ve gone on a couple of years of a dry spell so we need to get back in Winners Circle, there’s no doubt about that.”

Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack Panasonic Honda is looking forward to heading back to St Pete saying:

As our team, and every team has done, we have done R&D (research and development) on every aspect of the car to go faster. The team worked non-stop since last season. They did a great job over the course of the winter and we will see how well we have moved forward. As a race car driver and an athlete, you have to get stronger for the strength as well as to have a good performance. Hopefully we can jump in the car and both (driver and car) match the speed and progress. St. Petersburg for me is just always fun. It’s a perfect venue for the season opener. The fans have been waiting for it and so have we. I personally have good memories and great history in St. Petersburg. It’s a great track; very challenging and unique because of using the airport runway and the downtown city streets. I can’t wait to go back there.”

Sato is hoping to carry his momentum from 2019 which saw him claim to victories into 2020 saying:

A new season is always interesting but 2020 is even more simply because the cars will have a new Aeroscreen. The dimension will be different but it is also exciting because it will be my third (consecutive) year at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and the environment is just getting better and better all the time. If you look back at 2018 and 2019, we achieved more and more so we are expecting to be even more competitive and even more consistent to be at the highest level of the competition. (On his success in 2018 and 2019:) I think it’s the continuous work together and how you developed yourself as well as the team standpoint. With engineering and the boys, the pit stops, everything. We have been finding small improvements but it all just came together and we had some great moments when we got on pole and won two races. Those are good achievements and I’m really happy with that.”

Speaking about the addition of the aeroscreen, Graham Rahal said:

I think the Aeroscreen is really cool; I like it a lot,” said Rahal. “I think it looks like a fighter jet on wheels. I think it’s a really unique look and will provide a lot of safety to the drivers. At the end of the day that’s what we’re trying to do; make this sport a little bit safer. Anything that can stop a piece of debris or anything from hitting our heads is important and I think this is going to do that. I think it’s going to grow on fans. Yeah, it’s different. Have we seen an Indy car look like this before? No, we haven’t but it’s time that we evolve and I think it looks really cool.”

Takuma Sato commented on the aeroscreen saying:

I think the Aeroscreen is really cool; I like it a lot,” said Rahal. “I think it looks like a fighter jet on wheels. I think it’s a really unique look and will provide a lot of safety to the drivers. At the end of the day that’s what we’re trying to do; make this sport a little bit safer. Anything that can stop a piece of debris or anything from hitting our heads is important and I think this is going to do that. I think it’s going to grow on fans. Yeah, it’s different. Have we seen an Indy car look like this before? No, we haven’t but it’s time that we evolve and I think it looks really cool.”

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