Indy Lights champion Pigot to run part time in IndyCar with RLL Racing

Spencer Pigot will run three races with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series.

Scott R LePage

The Mazda “Road to Indy” ladder system was designed to help young drivers get to the top run of the ladder with a ride in the Indianapolis 500. Spencer Pigot, the 2015 Cooper Tires Indy Lights champion, will get to take that next step with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2016.

Pigot will compete in three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2016 including the 100th Indianapolis 500 on May 29. The other two events for the 22-year-old from Orlando, Florida, are the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“I’m very excited and honored to be starting my career in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” Pigot said. “It’s always been my goal to be an IndyCar driver and be in the Indianapolis 500. I can’t thank everyone at RLL and Andersen Promotions enough for this opportunity. I think it’s a great place for me to be as a rookie because of all the experience within the team. The team is coming off a great 2015 season and hopefully we can build on that success. The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is going to be a very special moment for me and the highlight of my career so far. It’s what I’ve been working towards ever since I started racing. It’s the biggest race in the world and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Pigot won back-to-back championships the past two seasons. In 2014 he won the Pro Mazda championship with six wins, five poles and seven podium finishes as well as the Winterfest Championship. In 2015 he earned six wins, four poles and 10 podium finishes en route to the Indy Lights Series title. Both seasons were with Juncos Racing. Pigot drove an Indy car for the first time at a one-day test at Sonoma Raceway in August with Team Penske.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had a fantastic season and was a championship contender entering the season finale of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series with Graham Rahal, who was ranked a career-best second place entering the double-points race at Sonoma Raceway and the highest Honda-powered driver. He was hit from behind late in the race and ultimately finished fourth overall in the series standings.

“All of us at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing are very pleased that we were able to work with Dan Andersen and the IndyCar Series to bring Spencer to our team for these events,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan. “I have gotten to know Spencer over the years and have been impressed with his progression through the various series, being champion in Pro Mazda and the Indy Lights Series. Clearly the Indy Lights platform is a very good one for young drivers trying to reach IndyCar and I am confident that Spencer can shine with our team.

“At RLL, we have a track record of bringing young drivers in to the IndyCar Series like Danica Patrick, and giving experienced drivers new opportunities to recapture their past success like Ryan Hunter-Reay and Buddy Rice did with the team. We’re looking forward to having Spencer, another young American driver in the series, alongside Graham and are excited about what the future holds.”

A day at the races: Skip Barber Summer Series hits soggy VIR

The young prodigy began his racing career when he was 9 and Pigot won his first championship a year later. After claiming four state, one regional and two national championships, he made the transition from karting to race cars in Skip Barber Regional series with a victory in his second-ever Skip Barber race at the famed Sebring International Raceway.

Pigot won four of six races in the Skip Barber Summer Series, finished third in his Skip Barber National debut and finished first in class at the SCCA 13 Hour Endurance Race at Virginia International Raceway. After a highly successful entry into the sport, Pigot drove for Andretti Autosport’s USF2000 team in 2011 and finished second in the championship with three wins, four poles, eight podium finishes and one track record. He drove for Cape Motorsports and finished second in USF2000 in 2012 with eight wins, five pole positions, 11 podium finishes and two track records out of 14 races. He finished second in the championship despite winning twice as many races as the eventual champion.

In 2013, Pigot moved up the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with Team Pelfrey and claimed one win, five podium finishes and finished fourth in the final points standings. He rejoined forces with his old karting team, Juncos Racing, in 2014.

He went on to win the overall Pro Mazda championship with six wins, five poles and seven podium finishes earning his third Mazda scholarship. 

In 2015, both Pigot and Juncos Racing joined the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship and earned six wins, four poles and 10 podium finishes en route to back-to-back driver titles. Pigot’s champion’s crown came with a scholarship package to advance to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016.