All signs were pointing to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and popular NTT IndyCar Series free agent James Hinchcliffe coming together for the Indianapolis 500, but the team says its search for a third driver to join Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato continues.
“We were excited about the possibilities of running Hinch, but that didn’t end up happening,” RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal told RACER. “We are still looking to do a third car, but time is running out. And we’d only do it with the right driver. We all agree that if we can’t find a driver that can add to our Indy 500 program, we’d rather be the best two-car team we can be with Takuma and Graham.”
It’s believed a clash of associate sponsors led both sides to end negotiations late in the process. A longtime favorite of Honda, Hinchcliffe is tipped to join Andretti Autosport for the Indy 500 where a vacancy recently opened up after an engine supply deal for former McLaren-Honda Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso was nixed by the manufacturer.
RLL’s practice of adding an extra car for the Indy 500 has been rather consistent over the last decade. Catalonia’s Oriol Servia has been the most frequent addition to the team’s month of May plans, having driven for the RLL in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Spencer Pigot and Michel Jourdain also filled the extra-car role for team, and most recently, Jordan King (pictured above) joined Rahal and Sato in 2019, when he started 26th and finished 24th.