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2024 IndyCar form guide: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING

No. 15 Honda: Graham Rahal (15th in 2023 championship)

No. 30 Honda: Pietro Fittipaldi (did not compete)

No. 45 Honda: Christian Lundgaard (8th in 2023 championship)

How soon is now

The chronicles of RLL in 2023 are well known: Stumbled hard out of the gates; miserable Indy 500 where Graham Rahal failed to qualify; hardcore rebound that delivered Christian Lundgaard’s first IndyCar win and an impressive close to the season across all three cars — including Juri Vips, the late replacement for Jack Harvey — which gave rise to optimism for how the team might launch its 2024 campaign.

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It’s overstating the obvious, but Bobby Rahal’s head would explode if the new season starts like the last. For all of the additional money invested by RLL’s owners and sponsors to hire more people and pursue more speed, this truly is the one team in the series that needs to make an immediate impact for its own sake.

The good news is that based on what they’ve done during the offseason, the investments should pay off.

Smart change

Veteran RLL mechanic-turned-team manager Ricardo Nault had the look last season of a man who hadn’t slept for a year, and it was for a good reason: He was leading the team’s IndyCar and IMSA GTP programs at the same time, which added up to an ugly amount of travel and routine exhaustion.

Although he will be missed in the IndyCar paddock, RLL has taken mercy on Rico and assigned him to manage its factory BMW GTP effort alone, and elevated driver-turned-chief-mechanic Derek Davidson to the role of team manager for RLL’s IndyCar program. Davidson’s a wonderful choice for the position; he’s among the most humble and highly respected people within the organization. Rico leaves a big void, but Davidson will continue what Nault’s built, have the ability to only focus on IndyCar, and forge his own way of doing things that will benefit all involved.

Foyt swap

It’s not uncommon for IndyCar teams to hire personnel from each other’s programs, but it is rare when you get a swap of staff in the same exact roles. That’s the case with race engineer Michael Armbrester, who left RLL and the No. 30 Honda, to join A.J. Foyt Racing and engineer its second car, the No. 41 Chevy for Sting Ray Robb. In his place, Danielle Cucchiaroni, the former race engineer on Foyt’s second car (who moved to its primary car last season), has gone to RLL to…engineer the No. 30 for Fittipaldi.