Thursday, June 25, 2015

A.J. Foyt Racing's Takuma Sato Shares IndyCar Thoughts Pre #MAVTv500

TAKU (Takuma Sato) negotiates Turn 6 in his No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing, ABC Supply sponsored, Honda-powered & aerodynamically outfitted Dallara DW12 at the 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

A.J. Foyt Racing's Takuma Sato Shares IndyCar Thoughts Pre #MAVTv500


 • Auto Club Speedway: “Auto Club Speedway is one of the most exciting high speed ovals. It’s a very fast track and there are lots of overtaking opportunities. I always enjoy racing there and I have great support too [from the fans].

 • On racing during day vs. night: “Running the race during the heat of the day will be very tough. You lose tons of downforce with the high ambient temperature and you lose significant mechanical grip due to the high track temperature as tires are given a very hard time. So there will not be enough grip and the race will be a tough one to deal with as a driver.”

 • Last year’s best start/finish (4th/6th) for you and team at ACS: “We worked one specific setting for a long time and finally it seemed to work better. The track is quite bumpy so you need a very good mechanical grip and try to reduce the downforce. The boys did very fast pit stops last year so that helped for track position too!”

 • The aerokit at ACS: “I think we will have a tough race but we learned a lot from both Indy and Texas so it’s expected to be competitive. Especially the tire management (like Texas) will be very important as we will have a day time race and it will be very much grip-limited compared to the previous night races there.”

 • His weekend off: “I had a very busy week with appearances and a photo shoot in Japan, but had a good weekend off to spend some time with my family. I am now very refreshed and ready to get back in the car!”
(ht: A.J. Foyt Racing - pre-race comments)

Takuma Sato has become one of the most recognizable and respected names in motorsports.

At 10-years-old, a family friend took the young Takuma and his father to the first Formula 1 race in Suzuka, Japan in 1987. Takuma never forgot the excitement of that first race.

He began his competitive career racing bicycles and did not turn his attention to driving machines until the age of 20 ... late by most standards in motorsports.

After a competitive season in All-Japan Formula3, Sato kept his sights on racing in Formula 1 which he was able to do full-time beginning 2002 to 2008.

After a short hiatus, Takuma Sato was able to transition to the IndyCar Series in 2010. The last three seasons, he has been driving for A.J. Foyt Racing with a major highlight being winning the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

This year, Takuma Sato's results have been star-crossed at best, while starting the season's first race qualifying well, mechanical and incident issues have rotated his car to the lower half of the running order at race's end. He currently sits just outside the top 10 at P13 in the season championship points race.

A.J. Foyt Racing's Takuma Sato as he gets ready in the pits. Image Credit: Chris Owens (VICS)

2015 highlights include, setting the fastest lap average speed recorded by a Honda-powered car at INDY 500, registering a P2 podium finish in the second race at the Duel in Detroit, and is P4 of 21 drivers to drive Honda-Powered cars this year.

Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt's ABC Supply team both posted their best start of fourth ... and best finish of sixth at Auto Club Speedway's MAVTv500 last year.

Perhaps the greatest factor in Sato’s success is not his quickness behind the wheel as much as it is his optimism or his perseverance in the face of adversity. Those are qualities he shares with his team owner A.J. Foyt whose career is distinguished as much by the comebacks as it is by the victories.

TAKU sits in his Honda-Powered Dallara while in the pits checking out information imparted through his steering wheel. Image Credit: Richard Dowdy (VICS)

<<<  A.J. Foyt Racing's Takuma Sato Shares IndyCar Thoughts Pre #MAVTv500  >>>
--  I N T E R V I E W  -- 

Welcome, Formula 1 and IndyCar driver, Takuma Sato ...


First, welcome back from a weekend off after a run of 9 to 10 straight weeks of racing, and testing. I understand you were able to go back to Japan to visit family and do promotional and awareness appearances. Please give us an idea of some of the more interesting appearance activity that impressed, or entertained you most.


It is no secret, after 10 races, that with the use of the new aerodynamic body parts to the Dallara DW12, Honda was found to be generally underpowered for long straight-aways on road/street courses and somewhat unstable when encountering trailing turbulence.

Scott Dixon, who drives a Chevy-powered and aerodynamics DW12, stated after the INDY 500, that if he found himself more than a couple of cars from the front, the combined trailing turbulence was too much to overcome to drive back to the front.

What has been your primary experience of change over the last year's version of the DW12 - First - On Road/Street courses vs Oval courses?

Second - Major factors of Power vs Trailing Turbulence?


IndyCar has scheduled two one-hour practices with the last one ending at 1:30pm PT on Friday ... before a late afternoon qualifications session beginning at 4:15pm PT.

With the race due to be run in a predicted 95 degree plus heat on Saturday June 27th, is there enough afternoon, hourly conditions drive time, to effectively set the car up for a race, which is set to be run from 1:30pm to 4:45pm PT in the afternoon?


When you have been able to gain positions on the track during a race, on Road/Street courses, you averaged a gain of 6.75 positions whereas, on Oval courses, you averaged a gain of 11 positions.

Would you say that you are more of an Oval course specialist or a Road/Street course specialist in light of this view of the year's results?


We are facing an end of season, at this point, before the MAVTv500, with six races to be run ... [note: this was cut-out due to time - and four of the races are on tracks that are classified as Oval courses - the superspeedway at Auto Club Speedway, the flat track "bullring" of The Milwaukee Mile, the classic oval at Iowa Speedway, and the tri-oval superspeedway of Pocono Raceway].

Please give us a flavor on how your driving and team strengths match up to each of the challenges ... First, next weekend's Auto Club Speedway, The Milwaukee Mile on July 12 - Iowa Speedway on July 18 - & Pocono's Tri-Oval on August 23.


Any final thoughts on this weekend’s 500 mile / 200 lap MAVTv500 from Auto Club Speedway?


Well, Takuma Sato, thank you for sitting down with us and we wish you consistency and great success through the rest of the season.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: MAVTv 500, #MAVTv500, Auto Club Speedway, June 27, Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Racing, ABC Supply, The Milwaukee Mile, July 12, Iowa Speedway, July 18, Pocono's Tri-Oval, August 23, The EDJE, 

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