Rahal expects team to be “even more competitive” this season

Bobby Rahal, whose Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car was top Honda-powered IndyCar entry for the past two seasons, believes the team can improve still further in 2017.

Rahal expects team to be “even more competitive” this season
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda with Bobby Rahal
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Bobby Rahal

Bobby's son Graham Rahal finished fourth in the points standings in 2015 and fifth last year, accumulating a total of three wins, but Bobby Rahal believes that targeting improved qualifying performance can elevate the team’s competitiveness across the season’s 17 rounds.

He said: “Our expectation is to be even more competitive this year than last. When you think about last year, half the season we were in the top five which was pretty good but we need to make it more than half of the season. We need to be averaging a top-five finish in every race in order to win the championship.

“We just need to start off on the right foot. Last year [at the St. Petersburg opening round] we got taken out by [Carlos] Munoz and it's things like that, not of your making, that put you behind.  You’ve just got to be lucky and not get caught up in someone else’s mistakes. 

“The further up the grid you start, the fewer issues you normally have.  So for us, our goal is to have a stronger presence in qualifying as well as the races so we can run up where all the good guys are and not get caught up in the mistakes you tend to see more often in the middle and back part of the grid.”

Rahal said the freezing of aerokit development in the offseason will play into RLLR’s hands, as will consistency in the team personnel lineup.

“Given the fact that the aero kits are the same, that’s one less thing to deal with so it just comes down to preparation,” he commented. “We have had a positive test season and we will go to St. Pete with some of the things we found.

“We brought in Tom German since last year but aside from that, the team is basically the same so that consistency and the added value that Tom brings has got us thinking pretty positive about the upcoming season."

Rahal went on to describe Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to the Honda ranks as a “big story” but expects RLLR to stack up well with more direct comparison.

“I like the fact that they now have the same equipment as we do.  We beat them when they were with the competition so it will be interesting to see how we fare and I expect that we will fare quite well.

“But we can’t just focus on them; we’ve got to focus on the whole field. We just have to do what we’ve done the past several years and that’s rely on ourselves to develop the best car we can. Obviously everyone has to do their job, and do their job better than they’ve ever done it before.  And that’s from the management side, the mechanics, pit stops, Graham's driving… We’ve just got to continue to raise our game.”

shares
comments
Jay Howard to race for Schmidt Peterson at Indy

Previous article

Jay Howard to race for Schmidt Peterson at Indy

Next article

Making Ryan Hunter-Reay a winner again

Making Ryan Hunter-Reay a winner again
Load comments
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
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021