NBC Sports takes a look through the teams competing in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series. The surprise team of the 2015 season, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, will be hoping its 2016 campaign doesn’t resemble sequels that fail to stack up to the original.
Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Engine/aero kits:Honda Sponsors: Steak ‘n Shake/Hyatt/PennGrade/Mi-Jack (No. 15), Andersen Interior Contracting (No. 16)
In one of IndyCar’s single biggest year-to-year turnarounds in recent memory, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing reset its team components and leapt from 19th to what was almost a disappointing fourth place in points when all was said and done. Graham Rahal delivered a career season where he ended a seven-year win drought and also scored six podiums, consistently making up places from his grid spot. Ricardo Nault took over as strategist and other team members just clicked in their new places.
Rahal got more out of the tricky Honda aero kit than anyone else last year, and the team perhaps inadvertently proved what a single-car team could do with all its resources focused on just one driver. KVSH Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing now drop to just one full-time car apiece, albeit more for budgetary reasons.
Meanwhile RLL appears set to run its second car for talented rookie and Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot in at least three races, although there’s been some murmuring that it could grow into more after the month of May. The key for the No. 15 team is ensuring the 2015 season wasn’t a fluke, and for Rahal to again win races and more importantly, qualify better, so the same number of race day heroics won’t be needed.
“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.
“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”
Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something
we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”