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Sato Joins Andretti

| , RacinToday.com Friday, December 2 2016
Takuma Sato has a new ride.

Takuma Sato has a new ride.

RacinToday.com

Open-wheel veteran Takuma Sato has joined Andretti Autosport for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Sato, who spent the last four seasons driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, replaces Carlos Munoz in the No. 26 Honda. In what played-out as an unintended driver swap, the 24-year-old Munoz joined Foyt’s Texas-based team last month as driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply car vacated by Sato. A native of Colombia, Munoz will be paired with new American teammate Conor Daly in the No. 4 car.

A long-time Honda works favorite, Sato completes a four-car field featuring Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner in the No. 28 DHL Honda; reigning Indy 500 champion Alexander Rossi in the No. 98 Honda and Marco Andretti  in the No. 27 hhgregg Honda. 

“I think joining the team will be a new and positive opportunity for Takuma,” Michael Andretti, CEO, Andretti Autosport, said Friday in a statement from the team’s headquarters in Indianapolis. “He’s not yet had the chance to be part of a larger team where the drivers collaborate; our four drivers and team of engineers working together has bred success for us in the past and has helped many drivers develop on-track. Takuma has strong racing experience and we are looking forward to providing a team atmosphere where he can continue to grow, develop and be successful.

“One of the things I am looking forward to the most about working with Takuma is his open personality. He is very friendly and encouraging to work with; his personality will be a strong addition to the team and I think he will work very well alongside Ryan, Alexander and Marco.”

Sato began his IndyCar Series career with a two-year stint at KV Racing Technology in 2010-2011. He moved to Rahal Letterman Racing in 2012 before joining the team founded by four-time Indy 500 champion Foyt in 2013.

Before signing with KV Racing Technology, Sato made 90 career race starts with various teams in Formula One, finishing third for Lucky Strike BAR Honda at the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2004. In 118 IndyCar Series starts, the 39-year-old native of Tokyo, Japan, has logged one win, five poles and five podiums. Sato became the first Japanese driver to win an Indy car race when he prevailed on the famed Streets of Long Beach in 2013 for Foyt’s organization.

“I am extremely excited that we were able to work out a deal with Michael and Andretti Autosport,” Sato said. “With Honda an integral part of Andretti Autosport, it seemed like a great fit. The team has proven year after year that they are ultracompetitive on all types of circuits. Particularly the speed that team has shown in recent years at the Indy 500 were just incredible. I am also very impressed on how aggressively they have addressed their needs for 2017, and am really looking forward to working with my new environment and can’t wait to get started.”

| , RacinToday.com Friday, December 2 2016
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