Racing veteran Takuma Sato will take the wheel of the No. 26 Honda-powered machine as he joins the Andretti Autosport stable for the team's 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series effort. Sato's open-wheel experience, paired with the veteran driving force of Andretti, position the four-time championship team as top competitors amongst the IndyCar field.
"I think joining the team will be a new and positive opportunity for Takuma," said Michael Andretti, CEO, Andretti Autosport. "He's not yet had the chance to be part of a larger team where the drivers collaborate; our four drivers and team of engineers working together has bred success for us in the past and has helped many drivers develop on track. Takuma has strong racing experience and we are looking forward to providing a team atmosphere where he can continue to grow, develop and be successful."
Before joining the American-based open-wheel circuit in 2010, Sato made 90 career race starts in Formula One, finishing on the podium at the United States Grand Prix in 2004. Now with 118 IndyCar Series starts, the Japanese driver holds five IndyCar podiums, five pole positions and one race win.
"I am extremely excited that we were able to work out a deal with Michael and Andretti Autosport," said Sato. "With Honda an integral part of Andretti Autosport, it seemed like a great fit. The team has proven year after year that they are ultracompetitive on all types of circuits. Particularly the speed that team has shown in recent years at the Indy 500 were just incredible. I am also very impressed on how aggressively they have addressed their needs for 2017, and am really looking forward to working with my new environment and can't wait to get started."
Added Andretti, "One of the things I am looking forward to the most about working with Takuma is his open personality. He is very friendly and encouraging to work with, his personality will be a strong addition to the team and I think he will work very well alongside Ryan, Alexander and Marco."
Sato completes the four-car Verizon IndyCar Series field for Andretti as he joins Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda), Alexander Rossi (No. 98 Honda) and Marco Andretti (No. 27 hhgregg Honda). The 2017 season goes green on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, March 12.