Sources close to the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team have indicated that the outfit is unlikely to increase its presence beyond two cars at this year’s Indianapolis 500, triggering concerns that the iconic oval race might not achieve its traditional 33-car starting grid in the late-May race.
The team has a poor recent record when trying to expand to a three-car operation. At last year’s event, its third car piloted by occasional open-wheel racer Michel Jourdain Jr (pictured above) was the only entrant that failed to qualify for the race.
And it’s perhaps with these lessons in mind that the team might not want to repeat the feat.
“I would think that [two cars are] going to be it for now, but you ought to ask dad [team co-owner Bobby Rahal] and see what his plans are,” the team’s lead driver, Graham Rahal, said.
“We as a team learned last year that running three isn’t the wisest thing. But you never know. Our focus is doing the best we can for [new sponsor] the National Guard.”
Until recently, the team looked a distinct possibility of being a one-car operation in 2014, until it confirmed earlier this week that it will run Spanish veteran Oriol Servià on a four-race programme early in the year, expanding the deal to more races if the Catalan can secure more sponsorship.
“We’re not going to do anything to dilute that programme or make it any worse,” Rahal added. “We need to make sure that we have everybody within the organisation focused on Oriol and myself and doing the best we possibly can.”
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