INDIANAPOLIS —Takuma Sato, a veteran of seven Formula One seasons, will join KV Racing Technology for the full IZOD IndyCar Series season this year.
“We are very excited to have been able to put this deal together with Takuma and his group,” said team co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “I can’t wait to see what I know will be a extremely fast pace by Taku on the road courses and look forward to working with him and getting him up to speed on the ovals. I have no doubt that Taku will be right on the pace immediately. Taku’s knowledge and experience will be a great asset and his great sense of humor and easy manner will add positive energy to our team.
Sato began his career racing bicycles and go-karts in his native Japan. In 1998, Sato moved to Europe to race cars. Over the course of the next three seasons, he competed in several European series, most notably British Formula 3.
Sato placed fourth in the British Formula 3 National Class B championship in 1999, third in Class A in 2000 and won the Class A championship in 2001. His 16 wins in British Formula 3 over the 2000 and 2001 seasons is still a record. Sato made the jump to Formula One in 2002 competing for Jordan-Honda.
He ran 17 races that first season, earning one top-five finish, placing fifth and earning his first Formula One championship point in the season finale in Suzuka, Japan. In 2003, Sato moved to the British American Racing (BAR)-Honda F-1 team where he spent the next three seasons serving first as a test and third driver before again competing full-time.
His best Formula One season was in 2004 when he placed eighth in the championship with 34 points on the strength of 10 top-10 finishes, including five top-five showings and one podium, placing third at the United States Grand Prix. In 2006, Sato joined the new Super Aguri-Honda F-1 team. He spent the next two plus seasons with Super Aguri until the team withdrew after just four races in 2008.
“This is a very exciting time for me and all my supporters,” Sato said. “I have really missed racing last year and can’t wait to get started in this new challenge with such a great team. To me, KV Racing Technology is a team with massive potential and great team spirit. With such a great champion as Jimmy leading the team, I am really confident that we will soon be a strong combination. I am also really motivated by the chance to be fighting at the front of the field, something I have missed in recent seasons. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has continued to support me through difficult times and look forward to enjoying success together very soon.”