Takuma Sato and EJ Viso have been re-signed by the KV Racing Technology team for the 2011 IndyCar season, with Group Lotus also confirming that it has extended its sponsorship to both cars for the upcoming season.
Former Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri F1 driver Sato had a generally competitive rookie season in the IndyCar series, taking one top-ten finish and finishing 21st in the Championship standings. However, the Japanese driver seemed to resurrect his reputation (certainly stemming from his early years in F1) of being rather accident-prone, retiring from half of the season’s races.
In fairness to Sato, however, his team-mates Viso and Mario Moraes were equally crash-prone, although both finished higher in the overall 2010 standings, with Viso – who had a Friday test driver role outing with the Spyker team in 2006 – taking a podium finish at Iowa Speedway.
“This is a team with tremendous potential,” Sato is quoted with the announcement being made.
“Everyone back in the shop worked really hard to push the performance up over the winter so I am very motivated and ready to challenge in my second IndyCar season.”
Viso added: “Last year was very successful even if the results don’t necessarily show it. We worked very hard to develop the car and I think we showed we could be competitive. I believe the progress we made last year combined with the continuity we have with personnel will be a key to our success in 2011.”
Team owner Jimmy Vasser is hoping that results will improve in 2011 given that there is driver continuity.
“I believe that having a second season with the same driver and engineer combinations will be beneficial to our team and will produce some very positive results.”
Vasser has not confirmed, as yet, if he will run a third car for the 2011 season with different sponsorship backing, but he has expressed an interest in retaining Moraes for the upcoming season.
[Original images via LAT]