Ryan Hunter-Reay will return to Rahal Letterman Racing this season, having signed a deal to continue behind the wheel of the #17 Ethanol entry in the now unified Indycar Series.

The 2007 Bombardier rookie of the year only joined the team last July, replacing Jeff Simmons and debuting with seventh place at Mid-Ohio, but went on to record three top ten finishes, including a best of sixth at Michigan.

"Since I first jumped in the #17 car at Mid-Ohio, our goal has been to establish a solid foundation so we could build for a competitive 2008 season," Hunter-Reay said, "Over the course of six races and six tests, we have created a great chemistry within the team and made substantial progress in developing the car around my driving style and set-up preferences.

"It's great to make this official. Driving for Rahal Letterman Racing and Ethanol is a huge honour and a great opportunity. Together, I am certain we are going to make the most of it. My motivation and the confidence I have in the team allows me to be very optimistic as we focus forward."

Hunter-Reay's Champ Car background added a new dimension to the Rahal Letterman attack, and has gone a long way to persuading the team to re-sign him for 2008.

"Ryan brought a new energy to the team last year but, more importantly, he raised our competitiveness on the road courses immediately," co-owner Bobby Rahal admitted, "He came in and gave our team a much-needed boost on confidence, showing that we had the ability to run up front given the right combination of driver and team input. With IndyCar Series races on ovals and road courses under his belt, I fully expect that Ryan will give us every opportunity to do well in 2008."