Bobby Rahal’s long-held dream of expanding the Rahal Letterman Lanigan NTT IndyCar Series team to three full-time entries is about to come true.
RACER understands the two-car effort led by Graham Rahal in the No. 15 and Takuma Sato in the No. 30 will be joined by the part-time No. 45 entry transitioning to a full season program after the team recently reached its fundraising goal to field three cars at every round for 2022.
Midwestern grocery store Hy-Vee has been the primary sponsor for the car at most of its appearances this year, and it’s believed the relationship will continue in an increased role. A press conference involving RLL, Hy-Vee, and IndyCar is scheduled for Thursday, but the No. 45’s promotion to full-time status is not believed to be part of that announcement.
Calls seeking comment from multiple RLL representatives were unsuccessful.
RLL has evaluated two drivers so far this season for the No. 45 entry, with Santino Ferrucci piloting the car for five races, and Alpine Academy driver Christian Lundgaard stepping in for a one-off appearance last weekend at IMS. One or more drivers are expected to drive the car at the three closing races in September as the team owned by Rahal, David Letterman, and Mike Lanigan narrows in on the right fit for the program.
Although it remains unconfirmed, RACER wrote in July of the upcoming change anticipated with the No. 30 Honda where Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey is slated to replace Sato, the two-time Indy 500 winner, as RLL retools its lineup.
With Rahal having held firm to his position of only adding a third car if the team was able to hire its preferred driver, it would appear his mandate has been met, which could lead to increased interest from known and soon-to-be free agent stars. The team’s longstanding interest in international driving talent could also play a role in who reaches the final selection stage.
Leaving last weekend’s race on the Indianapolis road course, the No. 15 Honda holds sixth in the championship while the No. 30 fell out of the top 10 and holds 11th entering Saturday night’s event at World Wide Technology Raceway.