Sato relishes crack at Indy 500
Takuma Sato has already stepped one place where most drivers have never achieved at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Sato, 33, has visited the famed victory podium at the world’s most famous racing facility. On the 2.6-mile road circuit, the Japanese racer finished third in the United State Grand Prix in 2004 and climbed to the Brickyard podium.
It is every racer’s dream, to stand in the Indy winner’s circle.
That podium trip is Sato’s goal again this year when he comes to the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie in the 33-driver field set to compete on Sunday, May 30.
Driving the No. 5 Lotus — KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry, Sato hopes to experience another podium visit as he drives the fast Turn One on the 2.5-mile oval in the opposite direction from his past.
The Indy 500 will be Sato’s sixth start in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010 and just his second on an oval track. Two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway, Sato made a sensational oval debut when he raced through the field and battled for fifth with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Unfortunately, Sato’s day ended prematurely when his car was forced into the wall with 14 laps remaining in the 200-lap race.
But Sato’s impressive first oval performance caught the eye of many in the IZOD IndyCar Series paddock, and KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser, a many-time oval track winner, believes the personable Sato could be very competitive in his first Indy 500.
Sato will have the advantage of a strong KVRT engineering staff (with the likes of John Dick, Garrett Motherseed, Iain Watt and Bill Pappas) and Indy 500 veterans Paul Tracy, E.J. Viso and Mario Moraes as his teammates.
Sato’s first Indy 500 action will be this Saturday (May 15) in “Rookie Orientation.”
TAKUMA SATO, No. 5 LOTUS - KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: " "Indianapolis is going to be a very special weekend. I have a lot of new things to experience and the track will be a whole new challenge - a very exciting one. I have great memories of Indianapolis, having raced there four times in Formula One and got my first podium in 2004. The place holds a special place in my heart but then I drove only a part of the famous banking in the opposite direction.......... After working together with Jimmy (Vasser) when learning the Kansas Speedway oval for the last race, we have developed a great understanding so I am really looking forward to getting onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week and finding out all about it."