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Sato, Daly linked to Foyt in 2013
5 December 2012
Takuma Sato could be set for a move to AJ Foyt Racing in 2013, with reports this week linking the Japanese former F1 driver to the motor racing icon's #14 car next season.
reported on Tuesday that the deal "is actually close to being finalised," even though the original suggestion of Sato joining the team had raised eyebrows over how Sato and the famously fiery Foyt would be able to get on.
Sato raced for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team in 2012, and came close to winning the Indianapolis 500 before crashing out on the final lap while duelling with Dario Franchitti. However, Sato's seat at RLL has now been filled by Graham Rahal, leaving him looking for a new berth in 2013.
Mike Conway raced for Foyt in 2012, but his decision to quit oval racing - which led to him sitting out the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in September in favour of Wade Cunningham - means that his future with the team and even in IndyCar is currently up in the air.
The situation at AJ Foyt Racing is further complicated by confirmation from the team that they will be running GP3 star Conor Daly at next week's two-day test session at Sebring International Raceway scheduled for December 12-13.
“Conor Daly is one of the exciting up-and-coming drivers in open wheel racing today,” said Larry Foyt, team director of AJ Foyt Racing. “I had spoken to Conor at the F1 race in Austin and I was impressed. I thought this test was a perfect opportunity to see how he works with our team. Depending on how it goes, we may be able to do something with him in the future."
It's not thought that any actual race seat is in the offing for Daly, who is the son of former F1 and CART driver Derek Daly.
However, the news has led to speculation that the team might be pursuing the possibility of a second race car operation alongside the #14, with Daly possibly joining either Conway or Cunningham in a part-time car-share arrangement.
"I am honoured to have the opportunity to drive an Indycar for the first time with AJ Foyt Racing,” said Daly after the news of his test next week was revealed. "I've grown up at the Indy 500 and have always dreamed of getting in an IndyCar someday.
"I will do the best job I can to get to know the team and complete all the things they've got planned for the test," he added. "I can't thank Larry enough for organising this and taking an interest in my future."
The team has already confirmed that it will run a second car for rookie Chase Austin at next year's Indy 500.
Power in action at Auto Club Speedway Fontana
Will Power has returned to action with Team Penke at the venue which saw him miss out on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series when he crashed out and allowed Ryan Hunter-Reay to edge him for the title.
"It sure is good to get back into the Verizon #12 car, we've spent too much time apart," said Power. "I spent about a month after the season ended in Australia and ran the V8 Supercar race and spent time with family, but it sure is good to get back."
Power said he was already working on how he could improve his performances on ovals, which have consistently been his Achilles heel in his efforts to win a first IndyCar title against the likes of Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and now Hunter-Reay.
Power was one of a number of Chevrolet-powered drivers testing at Auto Club Speedway at Fontana in California on Tuesday. Also taking the opportunity to test this week were his team mate Helio Castroneves, Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti, Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais, and driver-team owner Ed Carpenter, who won the season finale at Fontana in September.
"We've been out of the car for a long time, it's always good to be back in the cockpit," said Carpenter. "It's good to come back to a track where you have had success at."
The test was originally scheduled for Monday but was delayed by a day because of rain.
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