Sato signs with Andretti Autosport for 2017

Takuma Sato will race the #26 Andretti Autosport-Honda next year, after "agreeing in principle" on a deal to replace Carlos Munoz in the team’s fourth car.

Sato signs with Andretti Autosport for 2017
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Michael Andretti
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport
Victory circle: race winner Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport Honda

Sato will join Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi in Michael Andretti’s team for the Japanese driver’s eighth season in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

An eight-year veteran of Formula 1, Sato arrived in IndyCar in 2010 with KV Racing. After three seasons, he switched for one year to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and has spent the last four years with AJ Foyt Racing, with which he won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

However, following Foyt’s switch to Chevrolet engines for next year, Sato has been seeking opportunities with other Honda-powered teams.

Two weeks ago his manager Steve Fusek admitted to Motorsport.com that Sato had three favored teams among the HPD contingent but that it was a constantly evolving situation. Andretti moved into prominence because, while RLLR and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports would have to gain an additional engine lease – to the one and two respectively they currently hold – Michael Andretti’s team already has a fourth engine lease in place.

Said Fusek: “We’re excited to put Takuma in as competitive a place as we can put him in and it’s an exciting prospect. We’ve had to scratch and claw for everything we’ve had before, so to join a team with the resources of Andretti Autosport is a special feeling.

“I think Michael has done a really good job already in this offseason to address their weaknesses. Jeremy Milless [ex-Josef Newgarden race engineer, now with Rossi] is no small hire and Eric Bretzman [ex-Scott Dixon race engineer] is a great hire too. They knew they needed to change things and they went and did it, and these new people were in place pretty much at the start of the off-season.

“And now Taku is back with Garrett Mothersead as his race engineer, who he worked with at KV Racing. He likes that familiarity and they got on well. I think we’ll see a strong season."

The deal is likely therefore to turn into a straight driver swap with Munoz, who is set to sign with AJ Foyt Racing.

shares
comments
IndyCar eyes northwest expansion for 2018, Mexico for ’19

Previous article

IndyCar eyes northwest expansion for 2018, Mexico for ’19

Next article

Montoya to stay with Penske in 2017

Montoya to stay with Penske in 2017
Load comments
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021