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)
Wins: 2 (Rahal 2)
Podiums: 6 (Rahal 6)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 500 (Rahal 490, Servia 10)
Laps Led: 76 (Rahal 76)
Championship Position: 4th (Rahal), 32nd (Servia)
2016 LINEUP (Engineer in parentheses)
15 Graham Rahal (Eddie Jones)
16 Spencer Pigot (Neil Fife)
2015 RECAP (Rahal driver recap)
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.