Harvey: RLL enticing because it’s “very good across the board”
He will join Graham Rahal at the squad, while the departure of RLL’s 2020 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato was announced last week – with Christian Lundgaard tipped to take his place in the #30 car.
Harvey remarked that he had been impressed with the squad’s “hunger and desire”, explaining that after watching playbacks of the races, Rahal’s form had convinced him that he should join the team co-owned by Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan in the Hy-Vee-backed machine.
“I look at our season, and it was filled with a lot of potential, but too many coulda-woulda-shouldas,” he said.
“I would look every weekend and watch the races back, and I always felt like Graham’s race pace was exceptionally strong, and as a team [RLL] always found a way to get their drivers to the front. There’s definitely been a few races where I was envious of that.
“You look at their season, and the cars always run really well at Indy, which is evident because they’ve won it extremely recently and Graham has been very strong this year.
“I thought the #45 at the end of the year was running pretty strong, as well, and ultimately I think the team expanding to three cars is a great move for everybody. But their consistency, and when you see all three cars be quick and have the opportunity to be quick, that’s what you want to be a part of.
“I feel like what I can bring to the team is keep our qualifying performances going, but also be able to improve on our race pace, which I feel like between me and the team, we should be ticking a lot of those boxes.
“There’s just a lot of really great things that everybody at RLL is doing, which made that such an enticing opportunity. Again, like I said, it wasn’t one particular thing, it was just the team is very, very good across the board.”
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Photo by: Art Fleischmann
Harvey added that he believed being with RLL would raise his own level of performance, citing Rahal’s ability to save tyres as a skill he wants to improve on.
“I was particularly impressed with Graham’s tyre degradation throughout the races,” he said.
“We for sure had good tyre deg at some tracks, and I thought our fuel saving was strong, but there were other tracks where I think we burnt the tyres off a little bit more.
“I just want to go make myself better. I want to elevate myself, to elevate Graham, elevate the team, and then inherently elevate myself again because all the other people have raised the bar.”
Harvey said that he would be happy to add the IMSA endurance races to his schedule should the RLL team earn the deal to run BMW’s new LMDh prototypes from 2023.
“I’m pretty free on them weekends, so if he wanted to maybe make that happen, I would be pretty excited about it!” he said.
“That being said, my first focus obviously is to make sure the #45 Hy-Vee Honda is running at the front, and in my experience in racing so far, good results on track make other things happen.
“So before we get carried away on thinking and dreaming about other championships, my number one focus, my only focus is the IndyCar Series.
“To answer the question, yes, I would definitely be interested in doing it. I think LMDh is going to be an absolutely awesome program. Who knows what’ll happen in that department in the first place?
“But my focus of course is to stick to IndyCar until we’re getting the job done there.”
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October 12, 2021 at 06:10PM