NBC Sports takes a look through the teams competing in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series. While A.J. Foyt remains and will always be a legend of the sport, his team hasn’t had a legendary year in a while, and may find it tough again to stand out in a deep 2016 field.
Team: A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Engine/aero kits: Honda
Sponsors: ABC Supply Co. (Nos. 14, 41)
Podiums: 1 (Sato 1)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 2 (Sato 1, Hawksworth 1)
Points: 606 (Sato 323, Hawksworth 256, Tagliani 27)
Laps Led: 64 (Sato 46, Hawksworth 16, Tagliani 2)
Championship Position: 14th (Sato), 17th (Hawksworth), 37th (Tagliani)
2016 LINEUP (Engineers in parentheses)
14 Takuma Sato (Raul Prados)
41 Jack Hawksworth (Dan Hobbs)
It was a tough and largely anonymous year for both drivers, as Foyt went back to a two-car team for the first time in more than a decade. Sato bagged a podium in the rain at Detroit race two and was consistent, plus error-free, as he improved from 18th in points in 2014 to 14th last year. Hawksworth didn’t have much to hang his hat on, although there were a couple events where he overachieved thanks to some good strategy calls and recovery drives.
Big changes are in store here for the Larry Foyt-led team following a largely anonymous 2015 season. George Klotz, formerly of Andretti Autosport, is installed as team director, and both drivers have new engineers. Raul Prados moves from Hawksworth’s entry to Sato’s, while Dan Hobbs joins Hawksworth’s No. 41 entry from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
We more or less know what Sato is after six full-time seasons, but Hawksworth is a less proven quantity at the IndyCar level after his first two years and must find a way to improve. This is his third engineer in as many seasons, and the hope for 2016 must be that he recaptures his 2014-at-Bryan Herta Autosport with Todd Malloy engineering form rather than his output from last year. It’s hard to see this team scoring more than a handful of podiums and/or cracking the top-10 in points with either driver – not for lack of talent, but just owing to the depth of the overall field.