Friday, September 24, 2021

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Takuma Sato looks to build on last season’s success

Last year, Takuma Sato kicked off the season with a solid first half, including a win at Long Beach. However as he got into the second half of the year with A.J. Foyt Racing, the results weren’t as hot.

“We had a little up and down.  There was some unfortunate things,” Sato said. “Like you said, first half the season was really competitive, going everything well up until May.  Then after we had some unfortunate.  

“I think this year obviously trying to be competitive on as many circuit as possible and try to keep up all the points.  That’s our target.”

Sato added that he knows they can win races and be competitive with the lessons that they learned last year. Going into his second season with AFR, he feels the results will be better.

“It has been very successful winter,” he continued. “We tried many different things that we couldn’t do during season in terms of test items.  Not always is come out as what we wanted, but it’s all about learning.”

Sato is working once again with Don Halliday, which he feels good about going into a second year with him due to having more trust and confidence.

“The whole team is really working well,” Sato commented. “We have a very, very good communication inside the team.

“Over the course of the winter test program was twice as many testing going as last year.  Same as everyone else, of course.  But I think for us it’s a very beneficial as a one-car team.  Very, very strong winter.”

Sato will kick off the season at hte end of this month with St. Petersburg, in which he says he likes to go there with the combination of high-speed sections, and the tight corners.

“The back of the track is very, very complex.  Very narrow.  So it’s a good combination,” he commented. “Obviously St. Petersburg, I think it’s a great place to start the season.  I always enjoyed it.

“Then, yeah, I think a lot of teams started catching up as the season went along.  We weren’t maybe as fast as we could have been.  That was a tough part of our first year.  This year we continue working, should be better.”

Looking back on last year, Sato says the win at Long Beach was huge for not only his career, but for his sponsor ABC. He added that it had an enormous impact as well with the fans as he picked up some new followers afterwards.

“I immediately flew back to Japan after that and had a winning press conference at Tokyo,” he added. “It was a big moment.  No, it definitely is one of the best day of my racing career.”

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