F1 and IndyCar veteran Takuma Sato was confirmed Thursday as the driver of Foyt's iconic No. 14 for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series. Sato will drive the Honda-powered, ABC Supply-sponsored car in all 19 races.
“There were a lot of question marks when the season ended, but I'm happy to put an end to all that now,” team owner A.J. Foyt said. “We chose to go with Takuma Sato because he brings a lot of experience to our team but he has the hunger of a rookie. He's certainly proven he has the desire to win.”
The ex-Formula 1 driver adapted quickly to the ovals and Foyt noted his performance in last year's Indianapolis 500, where Sato hit the wall in an all-or-nothing move for the lead on Dario Franchitti on the final lap.
“I like the fact that he is competitive on both road courses and ovals and that he is a charger,” said Foyt. “I think he has learned quite a bit in the short time he's been over here and I look forward to working with him this year.”
This will be Sato's fourth year of IndyCar competition. In the past three years, he has won pole positions at Iowa and Edmonton (in 2011), claimed five top-5 finishes and 13 top 10s in a total of 49 starts. His career best finish is second, which he earned at Edmonton's airport circuit last year after starting third.
“I am extremely excited to be a part of A.J. Foyt Racing and working with ABC Supply for the 2013 season,” said Sato. “I have seen the potential of the team last year on a number of occasions. I think the team has one of the best engineering staffs in the paddock, led by Don Halliday. I can't wait to start testing next month.
“While I do not know A.J. well yet, it is unbelievable what he did in his career. A.J. has achieved so many wins in every type of car, at every type of circuit, and in every type of situation. That experience can only help in trying to win races this year. I think with A.J. and the team helping me this year, we can be very successful."
Sato replaces Mike Conway in the team's single full-time entry, with rookie Chase Austin having earlier been announced as the driver of a second car at the Indy 500.