Takuma Sato, AJ Foyt Racing
The cast: Race engineer – Don Halliday. Race strategist – Larry Foyt. Chief mechanic – Tom Howatt.
Twitter: @TakumaSatoRacer, @AJFoytRacing
The car: No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Honda
The driver: Turned 38 on Jan. 28. … From Tokyo.
Season finish: Placed 14th in Verizon IndyCar Series standings, which is up four positions from 2014. … Completed third season with AJ Foyt Racing (four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt the team owner and his son, Larry, the team director).
Video: Takuma Sato reviews his season
Season stats: Sato recorded a best finish of second at Belle Isle-2 after starting 15th. Other top 10s were posted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (ninth after qualifying 22nd), Toronto (10th), Pocono (sixth) and Somona Raceway (eighth). The latter two were at the tail end of the season. … Average finish of 10.8 on street courses, 16.0 on road courses and 14.3 on ovals. … Led three races for total of 46 laps. … Was running at the finish in 12 of the 16 races (out by contact in four races) and completed 2,139 of the 2,232 total laps. … Twice reached the Firestone Fast Six of qualifying, with best start of fourth at Belle Isle-1. Qualified fifth in opener at St. Petersburg.
Year over year: 2015 best qualifying fourth at Belle Isle-1 (14.0 average), best finish second at Belle Isle-2 (13.8 average). 2014 best qualifying first at St. Petersburg and Belle Isle-1 (12.6 average), best finish fourth at Sonoma Raceway (15.5 average).
The gist: Sato placed 18th and 17th in the championship his two previous seasons. This past season was his first with the Foyt team with a teammate – second-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver Jack Hawksworth. … Both are expected back for 2016 season. … Sato was among the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers who tested in late September at Road America. … The season finale was the final race with the team for Don Halliday as chief engineer for the No. 14 entry. Raul Prados, who worked with Halliday for three seasons as performance engineer on the No. 14 car, is the chief engineer on Hawksworth No. 41 car. ... George Klotz, most recently team manager at Andretti Autosport, has joined AJ Foyt Racing as team director, according to Larry Foyt, who is president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises.
The chart (below): Looking at how Sato finished relative to his qualifying position in the 16 races: