Theodore Racing returns to IndyCar with RLL Racing

Photo: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
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LONG BEACH, Calif. – An iconic name in motorsports returns to the arena starting this weekend at Long Beach, as Theodore Racing – founded by Teddy Yip – will partner with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

The team’s release is below, with a formal unveil of the car to follow later today at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach:

Theodore Racing returns to the Verizon IndyCar Series to contest three rounds of the 2016 season; Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach; Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th running of the iconic Indianapolis 500.

Teddy Yip’s Theodore Racing will make its return to the IndyCar Series, America’s premier motor racing category, at Long Beach. Following a 31-year absence, the team will partner Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to support full-time driver Graham Rahal who will be joined at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indy 500 by teammate, Spencer Pigot.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, held on April 17th, is a race Teddy Yip Sr. was instrumental in creating and one where he felt most at home. Teddy Sr. held one of his most flamboyant events at Long Beach harbour, launching his 1981 Formula One and Indy car challengers aboard the Queen Mary ahead of the Grand Prix.

Theodore Racing’s three-race campaign continues for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14 before peaking at the Indy 500 on May 29 where Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Honda will be entered under ‘Rahal Letterman Lanigan with Theodore Racing.’ Graham, who finished as top Honda driver in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series and is considered a contender for the 2016 Indy 500 victory, will display the Theodore Racing logo on both his car and race overalls in homage to the team’s entries of the 1970s and 1980s.

Teddy Sr. entered or sponsored Indy car teams and drivers between 1977 and 1984, achieving an Indy 500 victory with Tom Sneva in 1983. The decision for Theodore Racing’s return to America was taken by Yip’s son Teddy Jr., who has ambitions for his late father’s team to become a permanent fixture in the IndyCar Series paddock. Teddy Jr. revived the Theodore Racing name in 2013 when the team made a victorious return to the Macau F3 Grand Prix, an event the marque has now won a record eight times. 

Teddy Jr., who has also enjoyed success in the A1GP World Cup, Formula One feeder series’ GP2 and GP3 and the Le Mans 24 Hours, commented, “Indy car and American racing was extremely important to my father and in many ways it was his second home. This year’s Indy 500 marks an important anniversary, and it’s fitting that the Theodore name is an active part of the celebrations.

“Partnering with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing makes perfect sense. Bobby knew my father and much like myself, Graham is part of a new generation hoping to continue a legacy and make his own mark in the history books. The IndyCar Series is certainly on the up and many European teams and drivers are now looking across the pond to the series. We’ve achieved some success in Asia and Europe so I’m very excited to be America’s latest import and work with such a professional team and talented driver.”

RLL team founder Bobby Rahal, who celebrates the 30th anniversary of his 1986 Indy 500 victory this year, said “What an honor it is to have Theodore Racing back in Indy car racing and with us at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. We are so appreciative to Teddy Yip Jr. and his staff for entrusting the historic legacy of the Theodore name with our team. I knew his father and while I never actually drove for him, many of the greatest drivers that went on to Formula One, Formula 5000 and other categories, did drive for Teddy Yip Sr. and Theodore Racing.  We are really thrilled to have Teddy Jr. bring Theodore Racing back to North America, and especially for them to have selected our team to do it with.”

THEODORE RACING FACTS

  • Teddy Yip Sr. founded Theodore Racing in 1973, he went on to run 4 x future F1 World Champions – Ayrton Senna, Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen, Alan Jones
  • Theodore Racing sponsored and entered cars in a myriad of championships including Formula 1, IndyCar, Formula 3, Formula Atlantic and Formula 5000
  • Theodore Racing last competed in an IndyCar race at Portland in 1985
  • Teddy Sr. was instrumental in securing the inaugural Long Beach GP with organizer Chris Pook
  • Teddy Yip Sr. loved American racing and formed close friendships with Bobby Unser and many other legendary drivers. Bobby wrote the foreword in Teddy’s biography ‘From Macau to the World and back’
  • Teddy invited IndyCar drivers including Bobby Rahal to drive in the 1989 Macau Race of Champions
  • Teddy Yip Jr. revived Theodore Racing in 2013, winning on his Macau F3 return and achieving a record eighth victory in 2015 with Felix Rosenqvist
  • Teddy Jr. is passionate about Theodore Racing’s return to IndyCar and intends to grow his partnerships in the coming years
  • Teddy Yip Sr. was not present at Teddy Jr’s birth as he was at the 1982 Indy 500!

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.