Takuma Sato will return to A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Honda in the 2014 IndyCar Series season, the team announced Tuesday. This marks the first time since 2011 Sato will stay in the same team in consecutive seasons; he moved from KV Racing to Rahal Letterman Lanigan between 2011 and 2012, and from RLL to Foyt last offseason.
“This team is really special for me,” Sato said. “I always felt that the team was behind me and it gave me the confidence to go for the win in races. I’m very excited to continue to build this great relationship. We know what we need to focus on next year. We are anxious to test the new Honda (twin turbo) engine. From what I hear, the engine will put us in a great position to be up front more often in 2014.”
Added team director Larry Foyt, “Taku, our engineers and mechanics all gelled quickly last year, and getting to victory lane together was something we are all very proud of. We are focused on building on the positives from last season and working toward more victories and a higher standing in the championship.”
Sato will continue into his fifth IndyCar season with engineer Don Halliday and performance engineer Raul Prados.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.