Oriol Servia will return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for a third time at this year’s Indianapolis 500, in the team’s second car alongside Graham Rahal.
Servia also raced with the team last year and in 2009. It will be his seventh Indianapolis 500 race overall, where his best start is third (2011) and best finish is fourth (2012).
“I honestly couldn’t be any happier to announce that I will be entering the 99th Indianapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” Servia said in a release.
“There is a saying in Spanish ‘A la tercera va la vencida’ (Third time lucky) that I feel fits our effort very well. This will be our third attempt together to cross the most famous brickyard first after 500 miles. The first two efforts were very promising and encouraged all parties to go for it again with the most ambitious aspirations.”
Bobby Rahal, team co-owner, noted the Graham/Servia reunion for the third time (Newman/Haas/Lanigan in 2009, and RLL last year).
“Having teamed with Graham before at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and again last year, their setups seem to be quite similar so you can really take advantage of having a multi-car team,” Bobby Rahal said. “When we looked at who the best driver was to join us for the Indy 500, Oriol was our first choice. He’s competitive; he’s smart, has good race craft and brings it home.”
No car number or commercial partners were revealed for Servia; he was No. 16 last year.
Servia’s lineup brings the field to 28 confirmed car/driver combinations for this year’s race, and 29 confirmed cars (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda has driver TBD).
At least one more car/driver announcement will be made this weekend in Long Beach.
Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.
Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.
With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.
“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”
Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.
The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.
“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.
That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”