Photo Credit: Motorsport
Takuma Sato, 39, has signed with Andretti Autosport to drive the #26 Honda-powered car that has been driven by Carlos Munoz for the past three seasons, as Munoz could not come up with the funds needed to secure a ride with the team, and will likely drive for AJ Foyt Enterprises, Sato’s prior team, in Sato’s #14 car, which will be powered by Chevrolet next season instead of Honda like it has been.
Sato has driven in 118 races in his 7-year IndyCar career for three different teams. He was with KV Racing for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the 2012 season, and AJ Foyt Enterprises from the 2013 season to the 2016 season. He has one career victory in the Verizon IndyCar Series, and that came in the 2013 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Sato is currently the holder of the 2nd longest win drought in the series having gone 66 races without winning a race,
Sato’s career high Indianapolis 500 result is 13th place, which he earned in the 2013 and 2015 races. He may have won the race in 2012 had he not attempted a super aggressive move on race leader Dario Franchitti with less than a lap to go and crashed into the wall. His career best finish in the IndyCar championship standings is 13th place, which he earned in the 2011 season.
Sato is coming off of a 2016 season during which he placed 17th in the final championship standings with his top finishes being 5th place finishes at Long Beach and Toronto. He crashed in this past season’s Indianapolis 500 and finished in 26th place.
Sato is known for his aggressive driving style, but unfortunately that has cost him more times than it has helped him. In the 2010 season, Sato’s rookie year, he finished only eight of the 17 races. In the 2012 season, Sato opened up the season failing to finish six of the first eight races. In the 2013 season, Sato ended the season having failed to finish nine of the final 10 races, with his only finish being an awful 22nd place result. In the 2014 season, Sato had a six-race streak of races during which he did not finish one. However, in the 2016 season, Sato only failed to complete three of the 16 races, so despite past struggles, he has that to build upon looking towards the future with Andretti Autosport, his new team.