Get To Know: Takuma Sato
He may see it when he makes the drive from Carmel. There, just off the interstate, perhaps Takuma Sato sees his past, while on the way to his present.
A bicycle track. The Major Taylor Velodrome, is right on the path. Right there for the Tokyo native to see as he commutes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Takuma Sato, Japanese bicycle champion. Indianapolis 500 winner.
Born January 28, 1977 in the world’s largest city, Sato first got a taste of racing using 2 wheels, not four. Riding a bike is a means of clearing his head and keeping conditioned these days, but as a 14 year old, he was a High School cycling champion. Soon thereafter, he began racing karts, and by the age of 20 he won a Honda Suzuki Racing School scholarship that facilitated an opportunity in the Japan Formula 3 Championship series.
He eventually joined the British F3 series, which is why his second language comes with a strong British accent.
In 2002, the past again crossed with what would become his present. Opportunity arose with BAR Honda of Formula One when Jacques Villeneuve, Indy 500 champion, abruptly quit the team. Enter Takuma Sato. He stayed with the team for 3 seasons, and, in 2010, joined the IndyCar series. As an IndyCar driver, he’s twice been champion of the Indy 500.
The number of milk swigs could be 3 for Sato, one of the most liked guys in the paddock. In 2012, he entered Turn one of the race’s final lap alongside Dario Franchitti. “No attack- no chance” has always been Sato’s motto. He lived it in that moment, and tried putting his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda in a spot that was a littel too tight. He ended up in the wall.
After breaking through and winning with Andretti Autosport in 2017, Sato picked up his second Indy win in 2020. The encore came while again running for Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Takuma Sato paid back what he’d lost. Now, he runs car number 11 for Ganassi Racing.
An avid listener of U2, Sato is a father of two and splits residences between Tokyo and the north suburbs of Indianapolis. He regularly face times with his kids, while also joining them in video game competitions.
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