INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A.J. Foyt is willing to run two cars in 2015 — nothing more.
The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner announced Wednesday that Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth will be the team’s No. 14 and 41 cars in 2015. Foyt has done this before, running multiple cars on occasion usually at the 500, but not on a full-time basis since 2000.
”We have two full-time drivers and we’re going to give them 100 percent,” Foyt said when asked if he might add another car to his May lineup in Indy. ”I’m not Chip Ganassi, I’m not Roger Penske. My name is A.J. Foyt, so we’re not looking to run three.”
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One of the biggest names in racing history doesn’t need a reintroduction.
But after the IndyCar series reunified with the rival and now defunct Champ Car circuit in 2008, his one-car teams generally took a backseat to the better financed, multi-car teams run by Ganassi, Penske and Michael Andretti.
A series of announcements Tuesday could change things dramatically.
In addition to naming his drivers, Foyt announced that longtime primary ABC Supply Co. had agreed to sponsor two cars in 2015 and 2016, which is what made the expansion possible.
”At the end of the day, we really felt two cars was the next step for us to compete week in and week out,” team director Larry Foyt said.
The elder Foyt likes the lineup.
Sato, who won two poles in 2014 and became the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race when he took the checkered flag at Long Beach in 2013, is back for a third straight season. The pairing of Sato, longtime engineer Don Halliday and Foyt was worked better than many expected and will not change.
Sato will help mentor Hawksworth, a 23-year-old English native who is coming off an impressive rookie season in which he had five top-10 finishes including a season high third in the second Houston race and was named the series’ Tony Renna Rising Star.
Hawksworth acknowledged he enjoyed his time with Bryan Herta Autosport, but said he couldn’t pass up the chance of a lifetime. Hawksworth will be working with engineer Raul Prados, Halliday’s understudy the past three years after coming to the U.S. from the European G2 series.
”Once this opportunity came about it was what I wanted to do,” he said.
Foyt also said the team would use Honda engines in both cars.
The team announced he has purchased a race shop in Speedway, Indiana, close to the track that turned Foyt into a household name – and that could put his team back in the conversation with Andretti, Ganassi and Penske.
”We never did want to go to two cars unless we could do it the right way and ABC Supply Co. stepped up and said it was time to run two cars,” Foyt said. ”I think we’ve got two boys who can be up front most of the time. So I look it at as you always want to win, just don’t take each other out.”