IndyCar: Hawksworth, Sato to run full time for Foyt in 2015

Takuma Sato leads Jack Hawksworth through a turn during the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 3, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Just because A.J. Foyt turns 80 in January, don’t expect the IndyCar legend to slow down. In fact, he may just be warming up.

Foyt expanded his Verizon IndyCar Series team to two drivers on Wednesday with the official announcement that 23-year-old Jack Hawksworth would join the team. Takuma Sato of Japan will return to Foyt’s operation for a third season in 2015. In addition, the team’s home base will remain in Waller, TX., but Foyt has also purchased another race shop just a few blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hawksworth is from Bradford, England and teams up with the American racing legend as the driver of the ABC Supply Dallara/Honda No. 41.

“Running two cars is nothing new for me but it’s been a while,” said Foyt, who hasn’t run a second full-time entry since 2002. “I always said we wouldn’t do it again unless we had the proper people and support to do it right. We’ve got two drivers who love winning – almost as much as I do – and our sponsor ABC Supply, whose support is only outdone by their loyalty.  I’m looking forward to next year being the best one yet.”

This past season, Hawksworth drove for team owner Bryan Herta and had a fairly successful rookie season. He qualified in the top six in three of his first six races and posted his best finish of the year – third – in the second race of the Houston doubleheader.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Hawksworth said. “Ultimately, I want to win races and I feel that this is the place I can do that. We’ve got everything in place, a great sponsor in ABC, and good people who build quick cars, so we have the potential to build something really special. That’s what excites me. It’s a growing project and I want to grow with it, be a part of it and be a part of its success.”

Sato, who won two pole positions in 2014, is ecstatic about the expansion to a two-car car team.

"It is absolutely fantastic news that AJ Foyt Racing is expanding to a two-car team,” said Sato. “I really feel positive about it and welcome Jack in joining us. I am thrilled to continue racing in IndyCar for a sixth season and being with the same team for the third straight year. The continuity of working with my engineer, Don Halliday, and the same crew gives us a strong momentum in learning and more confidence overall.

“We had some very successful race weekends but we need more improvement,” Sato continued. “That is just the nature of racing. So as a two-car team, it should boost these things massively. The track time is very limited nowadays but there are always tons of things to try. That will be especially true with the new bodywork that’s coming. To have quality testing and maximized running time to evaluate the car is essential. I am very much looking forward to starting winter testing right away.”

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Team Director Larry Foyt promoted Raul Prados, who for the past three years worked with Halliday, to chief engineer on the 41 car after Prados’ successful debut in that role at Indianapolis in May.

"It’s hard to express in words how thrilling it is to be expanding our operation,” Larry Foyt said. “It has been a goal of mine for years, and to finally see it become reality … all I can say is that it has already been a special and busy offseason. I can’t give enough gratitude to ABC Supply for their continued support of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program. How quickly 10 years goes by. There have been many ups and downs, but they have stuck with us and helped us grow into a team that will be a force to be reckoned with next year.

“It’s great having the continuity of Takuma Sato and Don Halliday working together for another year. We know Takuma can win on any given weekend in the 14 car; I’m looking forward to putting what we’ve learned together the last couple of years to good use. As well, having who I feel is a future superstar – Jack Hawksworth – join the team gives me twice the reasons to be excited. I appreciate the commitment he is making to the team by moving to Texas, and I think the combination of him and young engineer Raul Prados will produce some stellar results.

“And I can’t end without giving a Texas-sized thank you to my dad. At nearly 80 years old, he certainly doesn’t need the stress and concerns of a multi-car race team, but he has been supportive and behind me 100 percent. Now we have to put the finishing pieces in place and produce because you know with A.J. only one thing matters: Winning.”

ABC Supply extended its sponsorship agreement with the team through 2016.

“With ABC’s 10th Anniversary with Foyt Racing in 2015, and the 100th running of the Indy 500 coming in 2016, this is the perfect time for us to add a second car to the ABC Supply Racing team,” said Keith Rozolis, President and CEO of ABC Supply Co. Inc. “We are excited to have Takuma Sato back driving the No. 14 car, and we look forward to watching Jack Hawksworth show us what he can do in the No. 41 car.”

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