Following its confirmation that it would return to the IZOD IndyCar Series full time next year, hopefully with two cars, Rahal Letterman Lanigan confirmed Thursday that its entries will be running the new turbocharged 2.2-liter Honda Indy V6. The team also further upgraded its management by signing veteran IndyCar and sports car manager Tom Anderson (LEFT) as its president of operations.
“We are pleased to once again be partnering with Honda,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “We have a storied history with Honda and respect its tradition of excellence in motorsports. In putting together our plans for 2012, we felt that having the full support of a proven winner such as Honda would aid us in building a strong program and we intend to represent Honda in the best manner possible.”
The Honda announcement continues a long and successful relationship, as it was Rahal's team (then Rahal-Hogan Racing) that first introduced Honda to Indy cars in CART back in 1994, and Rahal's team was also the first to win the Indianapolis 500 with a Honda engine (with Buddy Rice in 2004).
“Many fans already know that the roots of Honda's relationship with Bobby Rahal and his team extend to our initial entry into American open-wheel racing in the early 1990s,” said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development. “We're looking forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with Rahal Letterman Lanigan as IndyCar begins a new era of multi-manufacturer competition in 2012.”
Anderson brings more than 40 years in the racing world onto the Ohio-based team. Anderson began his career in 1969, but is more well-known for his successes as the managing director at Chip Ganassi Racing beginning in 1990 where he helped guide the team to four consecutive Indy Car championships in the CART series.
“I have known Tom since the Can-Am days in the 1970s and have always respected and admired how he went about his business,” Rahal said. “I look forward to working with Tom and raising the competitive level of all aspects of the team. Also, I want to point out that Scott Roembke remains a valued member of our team and will act as a consultant and advisor to the team in 2012 and beyond.”
Anderson left Ganassi after the 2000 season for Adrian Fernandez and his start-up Indy Car team, where he served as managing director for nine seasons. He has been involved in six CART championship seasons as well as three Indianapolis 500 wins.
“I am extremely excited to be a part of the expanding program at Rahal Letterman Lanigan,” Anderson said. “They have a championship-winning team in the ALMS and what we want to do is to continue that success and build the IndyCar side to enable it to match their sports car prowess. I am looking forward to working with the new car as well as working with the quality people that RLL has assembled on its team.”