Sato and Viso sign with KVRT-Lotus for 2011 IndyCar season
KV Racing Technology co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser announced today that Takuma Sato and E. J. Viso will contest the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season for the KV Racing Technology – Lotus team.
“We are very excited to have Taku and E. J. back with us for 2011," said Vasser. "The fact that both drivers are returning for their second year with the team gives us continuity in the cockpit. I believe that having a second season with the same driver and engineer combinations will be beneficial to our team and will produce some very positive results.”
Sato, 34, known as “Taku”, will pilot the #5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry. A veteran of seven Formula 1 seasons, Sato, one of the most recognized stars in Japan, will be contesting his second IndyCar season. Last year, despite minimal testing and having never driven an IndyCar or any of the circuits, he earned one top-10 finish placing ninth at Edmonton. Sato qualified in the top-10 eight times reaching the Firestone Fast Six, the final round of road/street course qualifying, on three occasions with a best starting position of third at Mid-Ohio. His top oval finishes came in the final two races of the season including a best showing at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan.
“I am very excited to be driving for KV Racing Technology - Lotus for a second year,” Taku said. “This is a team with tremendous potential. Everyone back in the shop worked really hard to push the performance up over the winter so I am very motivated and ready to challenge in my second IndyCar season. I want to thank all my sponsors for their support and look forward to sharing success together very soon.”
Viso, 25, will be behind the wheel of the #8 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus Honda/Dallara/Firestone car supported by PDVSA, Herbalife, CANTV, SBA Airlines and team partner Plantronics. The personable and outgoing Venezuelan will be contesting his fourth IndyCar season. In 2010, his first year with KVRT, Viso ran in the top-five in several events and earned his first career podium finish, a third at Iowa. He also led eight laps at St. Petersburg before retiring with a mechanical problem. Viso qualified in the top-ten five times and made the Firestone Fast Six at Edmonton, qualifying a season high sixth.
“I am really happy to be back with KV Racing Technology,” Viso said. “Last year was very successful even if the results don’t necessarily show it. We worked very hard to develop the car and I think we showed we could be competitive. I believe the progress we made last year combined with the continuity we have with personnel will be a key to our success in 2011.”
Viso went on to say, “I am also very excited about becoming a part of the history of Lotus racing. Looking towards 2012 when we have the new chassis and engine rules, I think having a strong relationship with Lotus will benefit the entire team and will be important for the future. I want to thank my sponsors. I really appreciate their support and I just want everyone to know that I will keep working hard knowing that things are looking so good for the future.”
Lotus Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro said, “For us last year was all about learning, this year we would really like to achieve some podium finishes – we want to start to contest with some of the front runners.
“What we’re doing with IndyCar is very similar to the way we tackle all our race involvement, first we test the water with an established team, we then explore ways in which to expand our involvement – increasing our commitment to KVRT is one such step as is our intention to supply engine and aero body kits from 2012 onwards.”