James Jakes has been signed up to partner Graham Rahal in a second full-time seat at Rahal Letterman Lanigan in 2013, the team announced on Tuesday.
"I am really pleased that James is joining our team," said Bobby Rahal, who co-owns RLL along with TV interviewer David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.
"I have seen him run competitively on numerous occasions and have felt all along that given the environment we can create for him, he can achieve the success he has sought in Indy car racing, " added Rahal. "He and Graham get along and communicate well and I think that is important for the team. We're pleased to have him and we think it will be a good combination."
It will be Jakes' third season in the series. He originally transferred to the IZOD IndyCar
Series at the start of 2011 to partner Sebastien Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing. He stayed with the team in 2012, joined this time by Justin Wilson, but has been lured away this year by the offer from RLL.
"I wanted to put myself in a position where I could get results that I believe I am capable of and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is a good fit for me," said Jakes, who had originally been set for a season in GP2
in 2011 before getting the call from the US.
"I had negotiated with Bobby when I first came to the series but we weren't able to put a program together until now<" said Jakes. "It will be great for the team to have two full-season cars to move ourselves forward and push us to where Bobby and the team want us to be - at the top of the grid."
Rahal has been wanting to run a two-car team in 2013 - for the first time since Scott Sharp and Ryan Hunter-Reay paired up in 2007 - and duly investigating various options of who would drive the second entry, which will be sponsored by Acorn Stairlifts.
"For us to be a two-car team is a natural progression," Rahal said. "A year ago we restarted the team to really build toward this time. We positioned ourselves in Indianapolis
to take advantage of everything the open-wheel industry can provide us with and obviously, as was proven last year, a one-car team can be competitive.
"But there is no doubt in my mind that a two-car team is a much more efficient and productive way to go racing," the team co-owner continued. "There is twice as much information, twice as much everything, and that helps you progress that much quicker."