Graham Rahal is set for the first test in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing IndyCar next Tuesday (27 November) following the announcement on 14 November of a multi-year contract with his fathers team.

The move has been long-anticipated and will see long-term sponsor TBC Retail group move to the team with Graham as the title sponsor along with Valvoline as a major associate sponsor.

 “It’s extremely exciting for me to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing fulltime,” said Graham Rahal.

“It’s something that I thought really wouldn’t happen this early in my career but, at this point, it absolutely makes the most sense for us. For me, this is probably the most excited I have been to join any team because I see the potential behind what my dad and the rest of the team have been able to accomplish over the last year with Takuma.

“Knowing the development and other things that the team will now have the time to do to prepare for the season makes me more than thrilled to be here.  I can’t wait for the whole process to begin – the testing and obviously going racing!  It’s really an exciting time for me.”

The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season sees Rahal reunited with Michael Lanigan who co-owned the Newman/Hass Lanigan Racing team which gave him his debut in 2008 at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at the age of 19, becoming the youngest winner in an impressive first race in the series.

Bobby Rahal, co-owner of RLL said “I think this is a great moment for our family, for the team and for the sport and I thank TBC Retail Group and Valvoline for making it possible.  Of course, for me, the pressure is really on us to deliver the goods so that Graham can realize all the potential he has.

“I think we can create an environment that will allow him to fulfill that potential. The last time Graham was the leader of the team was when he was with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing in 2009. For only a 20 year old kid, he won a couple of poles, had a number of very good races, was very competitive and finished seventh in the championship. 

“If we give him that level of focus I think he can do even better than that so I am quite excited about the potential although, as I said, the sense of commitment that we now have to make sure we deliver the goods has probably never been higher.  I think it is great for the team and I really look forward to seeing Graham’s helmet in our car.  As a team, having both him and I here is like a two-for-one special for ourselves, our sponsors, and the potential sponsors we are talking to.”

David Letterman, co-owner of RLL added “Very excited to have Graham Rahal on the team.  Honestly, this will be our best chance yet to win the championship, the 500 and Dancing with the Stars.”