KV Racing Technology appears ready to establish itself as one of the "big three" in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010, fielding three full-time cars for Takuma Sato, E.J. Viso, and Mario Moraes.
They were the top former Champ Car team in 2008, bringing over Oriol Servia and Will Power to IndyCar and winning the final Champ Car race with Power at Long Beach. While most transitioning Champ Car drivers were declared rookies in IndyCar, Servia's consistent performance led the series to declare him a veteran about halfway through the season. Last year, Moraes took over the team's lead car, and ended the year with four consecutive finishes of seventh or better as he began to establish himself as a legitimate contender.
This year, team owner Jimmy Vasser took the money from longtime Honda Formula 1 driver Sato and Venezuelan oil-backed Viso, and put them in cars that were already fast. The results were two cars that were often near the top of the charts in testing, with Sato challenging some of the top teams in the series in his first IndyCar experience.
Moraes did not test for the team, as James Rossiter was briefly in the seat, but when his funding fell through, Moraes was brought back for the duration. Vasser's tutelage last year helped calm the young driver, who often raced like a dart without feathers and actually wrecked Viso after the checkered flag fell in Toronto last year. Viso, for his part, was no star either, failing to finish each of the first seven races for some reason or another and finishing last in the standings of full-time competitors. He, too, should benefit from the 1996 CART champion's expertise. Given the quality of the equipment that will be furnished for them, they should each contend for their maiden wins in 2010.
Sato, Japan's most successful F1 driver of all time, should contend for victories on the road courses as well. His lack of oval experience and total lack of a ride last year, however, will be the two things that may keep him from the upper echelon of the standings. He will have four races to score a lot of points before the series' first oval stretch, but his only pseudo-oval experience came at Indianapolis in F1; to his credit, he scored his only career F1 podium at the track.
As for a potential fourth car, Rossiter is working to sort out sponsorship issues to return to the team. Paul Tracy will run Indianapolis and likely the Canadian races for the team in a similar program to the one he had with the team last year.
KV has the lineup and the equipment to win races this year, and to fail to do so will be nothing short of a disappointment. It may be too much to ask to put all three drivers in the top half of points, but given the team's driver development record as of late, it isn't out of the question.