Busy Start for Takuma Sato and AJ Foyt Racing Team Principals in 2013
WALLER, TX January 31, 2013 – Race driver Takuma Sato had not yet sat in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda that he was hired to drive in this year’s IZOD IndyCar Series when he went on a Caribbean cruise with AJ Foyt Racing’s sponsor ABC Supply this month. Team owner A.J. Foyt did not go on the cruise but his son Larry, Team Director of AJ Foyt Racing, did.
The Holland America cruise ship took Sato and young Foyt on a seven-day trip through the Western Caribbean after first stopping in the Bahamas where they rode horses in the sea. When the ship stopped in Jamaica the next day, Foyt rode ATVs with company executives and Sato chose to ride a zip-line! Visiting Grand Cayman Island the following day, Foyt and Sato went jet-skiing and snorkeling with the Blue Water Beach Parasailing Company.
While the ship was at sea, Sato signed autographs for the customers who could also see the ABC Supply Indy show car aboard the ship which was chartered by the Beloit, Wisconsin-based company.
During the evening hours, the two men joined in the various cocktail parties and dinners that were held aboard the ship which carried over 2000 passengers serviced by a crew of 950 people.
When the cruise disembarked on the following Saturday, Sato flew to Indianapolis for meetings with his sports agent before both men traveled to the Foyt race shop in Waller, Texas Monday morning. In his 28-hour visit to the team’s headquarters, Sato became acquainted with his new teammates while getting fitted for his seat in the cockpit of the ABC Supply Honda.
The following afternoon, Takuma (or ‘Taku’ as he is now known to the crew) traveled with A.J. and Larry to Las Vegas for an appearance at the National Home Builders Association international trade show. Taku and A.J. signed newly printed hero cards for the many visitors who stopped by ABC Supply’s impressive display area.
The next day Sato headed back to Tokyo while the senior Foyt followed through on a promise made a year ago while in a Houston hospital. Selected to be the Grand Marshal of the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car race, Foyt missed the event entirely because of a virulent staph infection that attacked him two days before he was scheduled to leave for Florida. He promised then that if he did recover, he would attend the 2013 race event.
Foyt battled back from the infection (he didn’t stop taking antibiotics until after the Indianapolis 500), and was able to make good on that promise. He attended the Rolex 24’s Grand Marshal Friday evening dinner where he watched this year’s grand marshal Hurley Haywood being honored. Making the rounds on Saturday which included a short but lively press conference, Foyt walked the grid before the start of the race, greeting friends along the way.
Sunday morning he flew back to Texas where his team was preparing the Indy cars for Sebring International Raceway where the team will test on February 19th.
And then Sato can finally do what he was hired to do—drive!