The 2023 Indycar season was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL). As we look back on their performance, it's clear that this team had its highs and lows, leaving fans and pundits intrigued about their prospects in the coming year.
The season brought new hope to RLL, thanks in large part to the impressive performance of Christian Lundgaard. The Danish driver secured his first-ever IndyCar Series win, but it was not just the victory itself that turned heads. Lundgaard's cerebral performance in Toronto, where he led an astounding 54 of 85 laps from pole position, showcased his potential as a future star of the sport. He remained calm despite the chaos of cautions and accomplished this feat just before his 22nd birthday. Although his win was the standout moment, Lundgaard also collected three fourth-place finishes. His eighth-place finish in the championship, ahead of drivers from Andretti Autosport and not far behind Team Penske's Will Power, sets the stage for a promising 2024 season.
Graham Rahal's 2023 season had its share of ups and downs. Missing out on the Indianapolis 500 qualification was undoubtedly a low point, but there were glimpses of a resurgence. Rahal's pole position at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course was a highlight, and he pushed Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing to the limit that day. While Rahal couldn't convert his poles into podium finishes at times, Mid-Ohio stands out as a race that got away. Starting on the front row, Rahal showed early pace and was in contention with Colton Herta until strategy shuffled the order. Despite the missed opportunities, Rahal displayed flashes of his past podium-worthy performances, giving fans hope for the future.
For RLL, the 2023 season had its share of mixed fortunes. Christian Lundgaard's triumph at Toronto marked the team's return to the winner's circle after nearly three years. The Dane played a pivotal role in RLL's campaign, finishing eighth in the championship standings.
Graham Rahal's multi-pole season was noteworthy, but the elusive victory remained just out of reach. However, Rahal led more laps in 2023 than he had in any season since 2017, showcasing his consistent competitiveness.
On the other hand, Jack Harvey faced a challenging season and was eventually replaced near the end. Pietro Fittipaldi is set to take over the ride in 2024, providing fresh hope for RLL.
One area where RLL faced significant challenges was on oval tracks. This weakness became glaringly apparent during the Indianapolis 500, where three out of four RLL Racing cars found themselves in last-chance qualifying. The team had to watch in disappointment as Jack Harvey bumped teammate Graham Rahal from the field. To remain competitive in IndyCar, RLL needs to focus on improving their performance on ovals in 2024, or they could encounter another nightmarish experience at the sport's crown jewel event.
As we reflect on RLL's 2023 IndyCar season, it's clear that the team has potential and room for growth. With a mix of promising performances and areas that need attention, RLL is poised to continue evolving and striving for success in the exciting world of IndyCar racing.