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Takuma Sato to drive for AJ Foyt Racing

Takuma Sato has signed to drive for AJ Foyt Racing in 2013, the announcement confirming several months of speculation that the former F1 driver was to link up with the Indy 500 icon.
Former F1 driver Takuma Sato will drive the #14 ABC Supply car for AJ Foyt Racing, the team confirmed on Thursday.

"We chose to go with Takuma Sato because he brings a lot of experience to our team but he has the hunger of a rookie," said AJ Foyt in a statement released by the team. "He's certainly proven he has the desire to win."

It will be Sato's fourth season in the IZOD IndyCar Series, having already proven himself in 2011 by being the first Japanese driver in the championship to win a pole position in Iowa, which he then repeated a second time in Edmonton later in the season.

Sato finished in third place in the 2012 Sao Paulo race and then went one better in Edmonton, but it was his performance in last year's Indianapolis 500 that caught the eye of AJ Foyt. Sato went into the final lap of the race in second place and was all over leader Dario Franchitti for the top spot, but he finally spun out and hit the wall while making his do-or-die move to the front into turn 1.

Ironically, it was that sort of no-holds-barred approach that made him the ideal candidate as far as Foyt was concerned.

“I like the fact that he is competitive on both road courses and ovals and that he is a charger,” said the four-time Indy 500 champion. "I think he has learned quite a bit in the short time he's been over here and I look forward to working with him this year."

Sato's move to AJ Foyt Racing comes after the former F1 star lost his seat at Rahal Letterman Lanigan, when that team opted to hire Graham Rahal for 2013. While Sato's move to Foyt's team has been rumoured for several weeks, many commentators have wondered just how well the two notoriously fiery personalities will manage to work together in close quarters.

“I am extremely excited to be a part of AJ Foyt Racing and working with ABC Supply for the 2013 season,” insisted Sato. “While I do not know AJ well yet, it is unbelievable what he did in his career.

"AJ has achieved so many wins in every type of car, at every type of circuit, and in every type of situation," said Sato, pointing out that his new team boss is the only driver in history to win the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in his career. "That experience can only help in trying to win races this year. I think with AJ and the team helping me this year, we can be very successful.

“I have seen the potential of the team last year on a number of occasions," Sato added. "I think the team has one of the best engineering staffs in the paddock led by Don Halliday. I can't wait to start testing next month!"

Before that, Sato has other onerous duties to attend to. "“I will be on a seven-day Caribbean cruise with guests of the team's sponsor ABC Supply, followed by several appearances at industry trade shows," he laughed. "I am anxious to meet them and start working with this great company."




Related Pictures

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Team owners - and IndyCar legends - AJ Foyt and Roger Penske take a chance to catch up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after rain washes out practice on Wednesday, May 18. [Picture credit: Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
Motor racing legend AJ Foyt Jr, first man to win four Indy 500 titles. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Leader Dario Franchitti (#50) forces challenger Takuma Sato (#15) as low as possible entering turn one on the 200th and final lap. Sato crashed with Franchitti going on to win. 96th Indianapolis 500 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - 27 May 2012. (c)2012, F. Peirce Williams.LAT Photo USA. LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Challenger Takuma Sato (#15) slides toward the wall as leader Dario Franchitti (#50) and Scott Dixon (#9) slip by. Franchitti went on to win. 96th Indianapolis 500 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - 27 May 2012. (c)2012, F. Peirce Williams.LAT Photo USA. LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Takuma Sato (#15) during practice at Indianapolis. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams. LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Takuma Sato (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) (c) 2012 Michael L. Levitt, LAT Photo (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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