29 October 2014
IndyCar: Foyt signs Sato and Hawksworth for 2015
AJ Foyt Racing is expanding to a two-car line-up in 2015, retaining Takuma Sato and signing up Jack Hawksworth as his new team mate.
AJ Foyt Racing confirmed on Wednesday that it is adding a second full-time entry to its line-up for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, and that it has signed up British driver Jack Hawksworth to partner Takuma Sato.
23-year-old Hawksworth, who was the winner of IndyCar's 2014 Tony Renna Rising Star Award following his rookie season with Bryan Herta Autosport, will drive the team's #41 entry, while former F1 driver Sato will retain the race seat of the #14 car for the third straight season.
Both cars will be sponsored by ABC Supply which has been with the team since 2005 and which recently extended its partnership with the team through to 2016 to cover the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Raul Prados will be promoted into the position of race engineer for Hawksworth after débuting in the role in this year's Indy 500 working with Martin Plowman, while Don Halliday stays as chief engineer with Sato for another season together.
"This is a great opportunity for me," said Hawksworth. "Ultimately, I want to win races and I feel that this is the place I can do that. We've got everything in place, a great sponsor in ABC, and good people who build quick cars, so we have the potential to build something really special.
"That's what excites me. It's a growing project and I want to grow with it, be a part of it and be a part of its success," he added.
“I'm just excited to start working and moving here I can learn quickly about how the team works together and operates,” he continued. “The thing about racing is it's a team effort; to win races it comes all the way from the truck drivers to the race car drivers. I believe there are a lot of things in place and we can build on it. I want to win and I believe I'm in a great place."
"It is absolutely fantastic news that AJ Foyt Racing is expanding to a two-car team,” contributed Sato, who won two pole positions for the team in 2014. “I really feel positive about it and welcome Jack in joining us.
"I am thrilled to continue racing in IndyCar for a sixth season and being with the same team for the third straight year," he continued. "The continuity of working with my engineer, Don Halliday, and the same crew gives us a strong momentum in learning and more confidence overall.
"We had some very successful race weekends but we need more improvement,” Sato added. “That is just the nature of racing. So as a two-car team, it should boost these things massively. The track time is very limited nowadays but there are always tons of things to try. That will be especially true with the new bodywork that's coming. To have quality testing and maximized running time to evaluate the car is essential. I am very much looking forward to starting winter testing right away."
It will be the first time since 2002 that the team has run a full-time second car, and team owner AJ Foyt was delighted to be back up to full strength again at long last.
“Running two cars is nothing new for me but it's been a while,” said the motorsports icon, who turns 80 in January. “I always said we wouldn't do it again unless we had the proper people and support to do it right.
"We've got two drivers who love winning almost as much as I do, and our sponsor ABC Supply, whose support is only outdone by their loyalty. I'm looking forward to next year being the best one yet."
"It's hard to express in words how thrilling it is to be expanding our operation,” said Foyt's son, team director Larry Foyt. “It has been a goal of mine for years, and to finally see it become reality ... all I can say is that it has already been a special and busy off-season.
"I can't give enough gratitude to ABC Supply for their continued support of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program. How quickly 10 years goes by. There have been many ups and downs, but they have stuck with us and helped us grow into a team that will be a force to be reckoned with next year."
"We know Takuma can win on any given weekend in the 14 car," he added. "I'm looking forward to putting what we've learned together the last couple of years to good use. As well, having who I feel is a future superstar - Jack Hawksworth - join the team gives me twice the reasons to be excited. I appreciate the commitment he is making to the team by moving to Texas, and I think the combination of him and young engineer Raul Prados will produce some stellar results.
"And I can't end without giving a Texas-sized thank you to my dad. At nearly 80 years old, he certainly doesn't need the stress and concerns of a multi-car race team, but he has been supportive and behind me 100 percent. Now we have to put the finishing pieces in place and produce because you know with AJ only one thing matters: winning."
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