Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing head into this weekend’s 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season finale Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca hoping for a great end to what has been an incredibly strong season for the team.
The Brownsburg, Indiana outfit are one of the most successful teams at Laguna Seca with team owner Bobby Rahal having won here four times consecutively as a driver from 1984 to 87 and speaking about his success Rahal said:
“There is no other circuit that we’ve ever raced on, either me personally as a driver or as a team owner that we’ve had as much success as we’ve had at than Laguna Seca. If you include my wins, which began with my first big professional win in the 1979 Can Am series at Laguna Seca. Then I won four Indy car races in a row from 1984 through 1987 and won my third championship there. I didn’t win overall that day but finished third and won my third championship there in 1992. And then of course we’ve had six wins since that time with RLL and either Bryan Herta or Max Papis on the Indy car side or in IMSA with BMW Team RLL. You add all of that up and that’s 11 major race wins at Laguna Seca over the course of my career. It’s a very special place. To have part of the track named after you is pretty cool too. We have a very special relationship with Laguna Seca and of course we enjoy going to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing have six wins, six pole positions and 16 podium finishes here between their NTT IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech championship programmes and speaking about his dad’s achievements, Graham Rahal who drives the No.15 United Rentals Honda commented saying:
Dad was always strong at Laguna, and it definitely has had some good mojo for my family and our team. “I am eager to get back on track and see if the things we’ve learned throughout 2019 will help us be very competitive here to end the season on a strong note.”
Takuma Sato in the No.30 ABeam Consulting Honda commented saying:
“I think that’s (four consecutive wins) an incredible achievement and it will be so tough to repeat that but it’s really great that the team has such a great chemistry at Laguna Seca. “It’s going to be very challenging to transfer to today’s IndyCar season but I believe we have a great chance to be competitive and we all feel very positive to go there knowing team’s great history there.”
Speaking about the return of IndyCar to Laguna Seca Graham Rahal said:
“Laguna is tremendous, an awesome track and great region of the world. We couldn’t be more excited to see Indy car racing back in the Monterey Peninsula. I think the season has been filled with some untapped potential for me. I feel we had some great runs, a lot of top 10s, but we certainly never expected to go through the year without a win and we aim to make sure that isn’t the case in Laguna. We have made some great gains but I’ve made my mistakes and we have lived up to all our potential at times, so we simply need to finish strong and focus on 2020. We hope that we can combine what we’ve learned on several tracks. We think we have some direction to follow, and I think myself, Takuma and all of the engineers are excited to see what we have for Laguna.”
Takuma Sato commented on IndyCar’s return to Laguna Seca saying:
It’s great for the series and fans. Laguna Seca has a long great history with IndyCar and it’s one of the favorite tracks for fans and competitors. There is a no question that Monterey is one of most gorgeous places in North America and that region is so fantastic with food, wine and the living culture so I love it. It’s been a great season for us. We have achieved multiple wins, poles and podiums, in particular the third-place podium at the Indy500. Certainly, that’s my most successful season in IndyCar. I would like to give a huge compliment to all of the No. 30 crew and engineers for their fantastic work. They gave me an environment for winning. We will keep working hard to make it (another win in 2019) happen. We have not been as strong as (we were at) Barber at other road courses but we showed good speed and potential so I expect to be able to carry good things from Barber to Laguna Seca.
Takuma Sato could finish the season in fifth place in the championship as a result of his two wins coming in Alabama and at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
We all want to finish the season high and certainly it’s mathematically possible for fifth place, which is a great target but we are just solely focused on the weekend and will race hard to get the best possible result which is no different to other races. Also, one of our loyal sponsors, ABeam, returns as primary sponsor at Laguna Seca for my No. 30 car so I am very much looking forward to having a great weekend.”
Speaking about WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s famous corkscrew Rahal said:
The Corkscrew is all placement. “Do it right, place your car in the right spot and make sure you aim for the right tree on the hillside otherwise it could be an even more exciting ride!”
Takuma Sato said:
The Corkscrew is amazing. “It is so challenging to get it right because simply you cannot see anything due to the massive elevation change! You have to hit the brake before you see the corner in a never-straight situation and turn-in before you see the apex of the corner so that it’s not a very fast point of track but you have to be committed a lot. I think Laguna Seca is a great track with a lot of high-speed turns with big elevation changes which makes it very attractive.”