Sato finding new ways forward with Coyne

Michael Levitt/Motorsport Images

Sato finding new ways forward with Coyne


Sato finding new ways forward with Coyne


Takuma Sato has been one of the better storylines this season after moving from the resource-rich Rahal Letterman Lanigan team to the more modest Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing outfit.

The last two races have come with a few lumps in the No. 51 Honda, but if you consider a pair of poor finishes have him sitting 15th in the drivers’ championship — just six points shy from Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud in 12th — there’s a reason for optimism in the DCRwRWR camp.

“It feels quite good with this team,” the two-time Indy 500 winner told RACER. “It’s very different than anything before, but I quite like it. Dale’s team is more like a family team. It’s maybe not as big as the other [teams], but it is very good. All of the people work very hard and they are supported by Dale and Rick Ware to be their best, even if we don’t have everything the big teams have.”

Sato says he’s enjoying being in a situation where he can lend more than his driving skills to the program.

“It’s very different, but I like it because I can help more if the team needs some direction in an area,” he added. “I’ve been in many different situations like the Andretti team with many cars and maybe even a smaller team when we were one car with Foyt, and I liked a lot what we had with both; I wouldn’t mind having all the Andretti resources for the Indy 500 again! But I also liked when it was just the one car with A.J. and we made some very good results. So I’ve been where it was both ways, and this is another different one with Coyne where I’m the experienced driver and I have a rookie teammate with David [Malukas]. It’s one more difference to experience, but I like it.”

Working with young DCR race engineer Ross Bunnell has been another boost for Sato, who raves about his counterpart’s capabilities.

“Ross, he’s like a genius,” he said with a big smile. “He’s so fast and works so quickly with all the computers and all the data. I feel like we have a really good chemistry so far, and we haven’t done many races together this year. This is something we will make better every time we have another session. I think with Ross, it’s very promising what we are doing at the moment.”