IndyCar: Rahal focusing on personnel, team chemistry rather than second car

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INDIANAPOLIS – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is hoping a single-car focus, looking more at personnel enhancements, will serve them best in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

As driver Graham Rahal indicated during Tuesday’s INDYCAR Media Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he and the team don’t want to add a second car merely to have a second car.

“I think there’s a plus and minus,” Rahal said. “I will say this.  We started to find a good amount of speed out of the car at the test we’ve been at. The most important thing is that the team has worked extremely well together. That’s what we learned last year wasn’t the case.

“I think we’re pretty cautious about throwing a second car in there and maybe disrupting that,” he added. “We don’t have the finances together to run a second car yet.  We have had a lot of people come to us about it.

“But I think for us to have one team that works extremely well, together with the engineering staff that we have, all the damper work, everything else that we’re doing, we’ll be fine.”

Rahal was teammates with James Jakes in 2013 for the full season. Last year, a second car ran in eight races, four apiece with Oriol Servia and Luca Filippi.

Right now, RLL is one of just two single-car operations on the grid, along with fellow Honda-powered squad Bryan Herta Autosport.

“Sure, it’s going to put a little extra load on our backs. It is a little more difficult at times,” he said.

“As James (Hinchcliffe) said, if you have two guys that work well together, two engineers that work well together, the team is in unison, that’s one thing. But to throw somebody in there, not give it 110 percent, I think that becomes a little bit of a problem.

“Dad was in town last night. We kind of talked about it a little bit because we had a couple people call yesterday. I think we’re very cautious about that. We made a big hire the other day who will be announced soon. We spent a lot of time this offseason trying to put the right people together, which is what we didn’t do in the past.

“We cannot do anything to take that away and all the effort that’s been put in.”

A second car would make sense to run for the Indianapolis 500. But beyond that, it’s doubtful for the rest of the season.

Rahal is working with Eddie Jones as his engineer, and Martin Pare and Mike Talbott have also joined the team this year. He had worked with Bill Pappas (2014), Gerry Hughes and Neil Fife (2013) since coming to RLL. Rahal and Pare have worked together previously.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.