Takuma Sato has admitted that he is 'confident and excited' as he readies himself to take on his first oval race in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series in Kansas this weekend – hoping that the experience of going round-and-round in circles time and again won't leave him all in a spin.
Despite having spent more than a decade in international motorsport and started some 90 grands prix in F1 between 2002 and 2008, Sato has never previously competed on an oval – but this weekend's fiercely-contested Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 will soon change all that.
The popular Japanese ace's challenge will entail 200 laps on race day of the famous 1.5-mile track, totalling 300 miles in all – and the 2004 and 2005 editions remain inside the top ten of the closest IndyCar finishes of all time.
In preparation for what lies ahead, Sato has recruited the help of seasoned pro and multiple oval-winner Jimmy Vasser. The 1996 Champ Car Champion and co-team owner of Lotus Racing's partners – KV Racing Team (KVRT) – worked with the former BAR-Honda and Super Aguri star during a successful pre-race testing session earlier this week, and with the American's assistance and strong KVRT oval set-ups, the man inside the cockpit is aiming to put in a solid performance in the No. 5 Lotus this weekend.
“I feel comfortable, confident and excited about this new challenge,” the 33-year-old enthused. “The director of Lotus Motorsport, Claudio Berro, has given me some great advice – he told me to turn left and left again and keep turning left faster than anyone else!”
“We've already had a lot of new experiences this season and we're eager to take on this one,” added Berro. “I am pleased with our performance during the practice session and look forward to Saturday's race in what has already been an exciting season for the Lotus IndyCar team.”