F1 veteran to be Race Engineer for Sato

IndyCar News/Releases, IndyCar team PR — By on March 9, 2012 11:54 am

[Source: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing press release]


SEBRING, Fla. (March 9, 2012) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that Gerry Hughes has joined the team and will be the race engineer for Takuma Sato in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Hughes has 24 years of trackside engineering experience in series such as Formula One, GP2, A1GP, British Touring Cars, Formula 3 and Opel Lotus. The move reunites Hughes with team co-owner Bobby Rahal, Technical Director Jay O’Connell and driver Sato.

“Gerry worked for me when I was at Jaguar Formula One and he worked with our technical director Jay O’Connell as well.” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “I have known Gerry since 2000 and we have always stayed in touch. He went on to bigger and better things and was involved with Takuma at Super Aguri in F1 and when Honda stopped that program they were a bit adrift.  He was looking at making the move to come to the United States long term and so we talked. It is particularly good timing because, since he had worked with Takuma, there was a comfort level there and a level of communication that usually takes time to build up between two people and in this case it is already established.  For Takuma its good to have someone he is familiar with and had confidence in and for us, Gerry is a long term team member for us. He has a lot of experience in a lot of different formulas and that will be of value to us as a team.”

Hughes began his career in racing as a design engineer at Lola Cars Ltd. and over the past 24 years he has held key roles at esteemed organizations such as Williams Touring Car Engineering, Prodrive, Jaguar F1, Jordan Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing, Super Aguri F1, A1GP Team Ireland, Lola Formula One and was most recently at Cosworth where he held the title of Formula 1 Track Support Manager and played a key role in the marquee’s successful return to F1 in 2010. He has held various titles such as head of engineering, head of research and development, chief race engineer and track support manager.

“I would like to thank Bobby for the opportunity to come here and join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for what in essence is a new chapter for IndyCar in America with the new racing package,” said Gerry Hughes.  “After 12 years in Formula One it is a new challenge for me. I have had a good experience at the Sebring test and have learned a great deal.  I think the team is finding its feet learning more about the new car as all the teams are and I feel that we will be competitive going into the first race in two weeks time.”

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing returns to full-time IZOD IndyCar Series competition in 2012 for the first time since 2008. That season saw Ryan Hunter-Reay finish seventh in the final series standings, marking the 11th consecutive year that a RLL driver finished the year in the top-10 in driver points. The winners of the 1992 IndyCar championship as well as the 2004 Indianapolis 500, RLL Indy cars have finished in the top 10 in more than half of its 587 career series starts.


Hughes’ career began with a Masters of Science degree at CranfieldUniversity in 1994. He joined Lola Cars Ltd. as a design engineer in 1994 and later moved to Williams Touring Car Engineering Ltd from 1996-1999 and was race engineer to Jason Plato and 1997 champion Alain Menu. In 1999 he was at Prodrive and worked with the championship-winning Ford Team Mondeo operation before being transferred to Ford’s Jaguar F1 program in the summer of 2000 where he was race engineer for Eddie Irvine.  Bobby Rahal was Team Principal of the program at the time. Hughes then joined Jordan Grand Prix in 2003 as head of race and test engineering until the team was sold to Midland. In 2005, after a brief stint at Red Bull Racing, he joined Honda-powered Super Aguri as chief race engineer and head of research and development and worked with Takuma Sato. When Honda departed F1, Hughes became the technical director of the championship-winning A1GP Team Ireland from 2008-2009.  He was then offered the position of head of engineering for the Lola F1 team in 2009 and concentrated his efforts on special projects. Most recently, Hughes was fundamental to the success of Cosworth’s return to F1 in the role of Formula 1 Track Support Manager, a title he held since 2009 and until he joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

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