IndyCar 2023 season review: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

IndyCar 2023 season review: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing


#45 – Christian Lundgaard, 8th in the championship standings (390 points) – 17 races

1 win, 1 podium, 4 top fives, 9 top 10s, 2 poles, 6 Fast Six Appearances
Best Finish: 1st (Toronto)
Best Start: 1st (IMS Road Course – Race 1, Toronto)

#15 – Graham Rahal, 15th in the championship standings (276 points) – 17 races, 16 w/ RLL

0 wins, 1 podium, 1 top five, 5 top 10s, 2 poles, 3 Fast Six Appearances
Best Finish (w/ RLL): 2nd (IMS Road Course – Race 2)
Best Start (w/ RLL): 1st (IMS Road Course – Race 2, Portland)

#30 – Jack Harvey, 24th in the championship standings (146 points) – 14 races

0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 poles, 1 Fast Six Appearance
Best Finish: 13th (Long Beach)
Best Start: 4th (IMS Road Course – Race 1)

#30 – Juri Vips, 33rd in the championship standings (18 points) – 2 races

0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 Fast Six Appearances
Best Finish: 18th (Portland)
Best Start: 13th (Laguna Seca* – qualified 7th)

#30 – Conor Daly, 25th in championship standings (134 points) – 11 races, 1 w/ RLL

0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 poles, 0 Fast Six Appearances (* w/ RLL)
Best Finish (w/ RLL): 16th (Gateway)
Best Start (w/ RLL): 11th (Gateway* – qualified 15th)

#44 – Katherine Legge, 37th in championship standings (5 points) – 1 race

0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 poles, 0 Fast Six Appearances
Best Finish: 33rd (Indianapolis 500)
Best Start: 29th (Indianapolis 500* – qualified 30th)

Joey Barnes: While there were frustrations on ovals, RLL was a force to be reckoned with on road and street circuits. The organization’s mark of four poles tied Team Penske for second-most on the year.

It wasn’t a surprise to see Christian Lundgaard capture his first-ever IndyCar Series win, but manner in which he did so certainly was. The Dane was a delight with a cerebral performance, leading 54 of 85 laps from pole at Toronto, keeping calm despite the calamity of cautions; and just a week prior to turning 22 years old. While that was his only trip to the podium, he collected three fourth-place results, too. Finishing eighth in the championship in only a second full-time season, ahead of every driver of Andretti Autosport and only 35 points behind Team Penske’s Will Power, is certainly something to build on moving into 2024.

For as demoralizing as it was for Graham Rahal to not qualify for the Indianapolis 500 (later replacing for the injured Stefan Wilson at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing), there were glimpses of resurgence during the year. The pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course was impressive, and was the only one pressing Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon for the win that day.

Although not converting pole into a podium – or top 10 – at Portland was likely maddening, the one I keep thinking of as the one that got away was Mid-Ohio. He started on the front row and was pushing pole-sitter Colton Herta, especially the further a stint went on, but both ultimately lost out to strategy as Alex Palou jumped both from fourth. Rahal’s early pace at Mid-Ohio was stout and likely would have only been enhanced with clean air and consistent time out front, but it didn’t come to be.

Still, there were flashes of the version of Rahal that routinely fought for podiums and wins not that long ago. So, definitely something to build on for next year.

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Nick Degroot: For the most part, things moved in a positive direction for the Rahal team in 2023. They returned to the top step of the podium for the first time in nearly three years with Christian Lundgaard taking victory at Toronto. The Dane led RLL’s efforts this year, ending the year eighth in the championship standings.

Graham Rahal had a multi-pole season for the first time since 2009, but couldn’t quite snap that pesky winless streak. Still, he was in contention and led more laps in 2023 than he has in any season since 2017.

Things didn’t go as well for Jack Harvey, who was replaced near the end of the season. Pietro Fittipaldi will take over that ride in 2024 as he gives IndyCar racing another shot.

RLL was far weaker on the ovals than they were on road and street courses, and that was extremely apparent at the Indianapolis 500. Three of the four cars forced into last-chance qualifying were from RLL Racing, and Harvey ultimately bumped team-mate Rahal from the field. They certainly have some work to do on the ovals in 2024, or else they may face another nightmarish experience at IndyCar’s crown jewel event.

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