One of the worst kept secrets in auto racing is now confirmed; Graham Rahal is leaving G2 to join his father’s team at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Graham will pilot the #15 TBC Retail Group Honda/Dallara in 2013. Valvoline also joins the team as a major associate sponsor.
Graham came up through the Formula BMW/Star Mazda/Formula Atlantic/Indy pro Series ladder system to make his Champ Car debut in 2007 with Newman-Haas Racing. he stuck with Newman-Haas as they transitioned into the IZOD Indycar Series, winning his first race at St. Petersburg in the reunified series in 2008. After losing his ride at Newman-Haas at the end of 2009, Graham drove for four different teams in 2010 before landing a permanent home at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams in 2011. After two less than pleasing seasons in the ganassi stable, Graham announced this past August that he would be leaving the team after the 2012 season.
Rumors began to fly that Graham would move to his father’s team, but there was no confirmation until today. 1986 Indianapolis 500 Winner and Three Time Series champion Bobby Rahal stressed to his son early in his career that he needed to create his own destiny in racing. Both father and son knew however, that the time was right for Graham to return to the family team and create a future. Bobby Rahal acknowledges that even without the father-son aspect of the deal, Graham is simply one of the best available drivers on the circuit right now.
Well, I think he’s one of the best drivers out there. If we take away the father‑son aspect, I think any team would want him driving their car. We got back into IndyCar Racing a year ago now, and with the intent of really rebuilding the IndyCar side of the team to one of the major teams in the series.
Graham is looking forward to getting started as a driver with his father’s team and has an interesting outlook on the history of the team.
For me, I think that’s one of the most exciting aspects of this program is that we touched on it briefly. But if you look back on the history of this team, you go back to guys throughout the ’90s, of course, but even given guys their first big chance, guys like Max Papis, of course, Buddy Rice, Michel Jourdain in the early 2,000. Guys that, as dad would say, probably their careers were looking like they’re coming to an end and next thing you know they’re winning races on a consistent basis and always a contender each and every weekend.
So that’s where I want to be and where I need to go as a driver. And that’s what I think this team is going to allow me to do. Of course, for me, the people that I’ll be working with here, many of whom I’ve known for many, many years there’s a lot of advice and lot of learning to be done. But I’m surrounded by the best group of guys that I see out there.
So I know that being that they’ve known me so many years they’re not going to give me any bad advice and we’re all working towards the same goal. So I’m looking forward to that part of it. And we’re going to start off here pretty soon, going testing in Barber on the 27th, so that will be the kickoff our 2013 season.