The 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot has confirmed he has signed a deal with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to take on at least three rounds of the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016.
22-year-old Pigot, who won six of the 16 races in the 2015 Indy Lights season, will race alongside this season’s title contender Graham Rahal as part of the deal in the Honda powered RLL machines.
The three races the young American will take part in initially is the season opener in St Petersburg and then the month of May with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis leading into the 100th running of the Indy 500. It is hoped that should sponsorship allow, Pigot will continue to drive in the seat for other races in 2016.
This comes as part of the $1 million Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship achieved by Pigot when he won the Indy Lights championship with a clean sweep at the last round of the year at Laguna Seca.
“I think it’s a great place for me to be as a rookie because of all the experience within the team,” Pigot said of RLL. “The team is coming off a great 2015 season and hopefully we can build on that success. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is going to be a very special moment for me and the highlight of my career so far. It’s what I’ve been working towards ever since I started racing.”
Indeed, that racing career has taken in every rung of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder from his two seasons in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Series before moving onto the Pro Mazda Championship where he won the title in his second season in 2014. This season saw him race for Juncos Racing in the highest step on the ladder, and Pigot has praised the ladder for his success.
He said: “The Mazda Road to Indy has been vital for my development as a driver. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be going into the Verizon IndyCar Series without the experience and support I gained from each level. Each car teaches you something new and racing at the same tracks as IndyCar throughout my Mazda Road to Indy career will only help my transition. It’s the place to be for anyone trying to make it to IndyCar.”
RLL Team Owner Bobby Rahal was delighted to add Pigot to the team, praising the Californian racer for his successes: “I have gotten to know Spencer over the years and have been impressed with his progression through the various series, being champion in Pro Mazda and the Indy Lights series. Clearly the Indy Lights platform is a very good one for young drivers trying to reach IndyCar and I am confident that Spencer can shine with our team.
“We hope that this isn’t limited to just three races. Obviously funding plays a role for any team, but we’ve already received a lot of interest in Spencer (from potential sponsors). The goal here is to run Spencer as much as we can in 2016.”