Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has signed NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Spencer Pigot, who made three starts for the team in 2016, for two Indianapolis Motor Speedway races in the 2020 season.
Pigot will compete in the GMR Grand Prix on May 9 and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 24 in a Honda-powered car entered by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Citrone/Buhl Autosport (CBA).
CBA was formed in early 2020 by former Indy car driver Robbie Buhl and his brother and business partner, Tom, and Robert Citrone, founder of Discovery Capital Management and the largest minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his son Nick, a Data Analytics Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL team. Robbie and Tom own Buhl Sport Detroit, a motorsports marketing company that operates a rallycross team and an advanced driver training program called Teen Street Skills.
Pigot, 26, earned back-to-back season championships in the Road to Indy development program with the 2014 Indy Pro 2000 and the 2015 Indy Lights titles. He made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut with RLL in 2016 in the St. Petersburg season opener and also competed in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 with the team. He made an additional seven starts for Ed Carpenter Racing that year and joined ECR fulltime from 2017-2019 with a career best start of third place in last year's Indianapolis 500. He finished a career-best second at Iowa Speedway in 2018.
“I'm very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Citrone/Buhl Autosport for this year’s GMR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500,” Pigot said. “I ran my first INDYCAR SERIES race and Indy 500 with RLL in 2016, so it will be nice to return to a team with some familiar faces. I can't thank everyone at RLL and Citrone/Buhl Autosport enough for their efforts in putting this deal together and the opportunity to compete in another Indy 500. I can't wait for May!”
“I'm very pleased to have Spencer back with us again for the month of May," team co-owner Bobby Rahal said. "There is no question in my mind that he can contribute to the overall performance of the team based upon his strong performance last May and at other events throughout the season. Spencer is a team player and has a bright future in my opinion. We are looking forward to working with Citrone/Buhl Autosport on this entry. It is an exciting time for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and having a new team enter the sport is proof of that.”
Pigot began racing at the age of 9 and won his first championship when he was 10 after quickly becoming a presence in the national karting scene. He continued to progress and won the Skip Barber Karting (car) Shootout scholarship in 2009 and a fully funded ride in the Skip Barber National series as an Official MazdaSpeed Development Driver. With three wins, five poles and a total of 11 podium finishes, the American captured the 2010 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda championship and was also awarded the prestigious Team USA Scholarship and the opportunity to take part in the Formula Ford Festival, where he started from pole, and Walter Hayes Trophy in England.
In 2011 he competed for Andretti Autosport in their 2011 USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda program and won three races, four pole positions, eight podium finishes and one track record en route to a second place standing overall in the USF2000 Championship. He also won the Team USA Scholarship for the second consecutive year and was given the chance to race in the Duratec class of the British Formula Ford Festival.
In 2012 Spencer returned to the USF2000 National Championship with Cape Motorsports and won the USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship with five wins in six races. Driving the No. 2 car in the USF2000 National Championship, Pigot ended the year with eight wins, five pole positions, 11 podium finishes and two track records out of 14 races. Ultimately, he finished second in the championship despite winning twice as many races as the eventual champion.
In 2013, Pigot moved up the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with Team Pelfrey and claimed one win, five podium finishes and finished fourth in the final points standings. He rejoined forces with his old karting team, Juncos Racing, in 2014. Success came immediately as he won the Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Winterfest Championship with two wins and four pole positions out of the four-race championship. He later won the overall Pro Mazda championship with six wins, five poles and seven podium finishes earning his third Mazda scholarship. In 2015, both Pigot and Juncos Racing joined the Indy Lights championship and earned six wins, four poles and 10 podium finishes en route to back-to-back driver titles. Pigot’s champion’s crown came with a scholarship package to advance to the IndyCar Series in 2016 where he made his series debut in three races with RLL then went on to run seven races with Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) that year before driving fulltime for the team from 2017-2019 with a career best start of third place at the 2019 Indy 500 and career best finish of second at Iowa Speedway in 2018.
“Nick, myself and our whole family are excited to be part of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team and to have Spencer as the driver is incredible," Citrone said. "We have been lifelong Indy car fans and we have wanted to get involved in the sport for many years. We thought this was the best way to learn and gain experience at the highest level and have been incredibly impressed with all of the people we have met at RLL. Bobby and my family share a Pittsburgh connection with his dealership group based there and with my family’s involvement in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Being involved in sports and knowing how enjoyable, challenging and tough that is and how the quality of the organization is really the key. I think the Steelers have that with the quality of the organization with the Rooney family and we have that same feeling with the Rahal family and RLL.”
“Rob, Nick and I love Indy car racing," Buhl said. "We all want to win and this set up allows us to learn in an accelerated way. Getting to see more of how the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team operates and getting to see the depth of both the engineering and commercial side is exciting. We feel great about our partnership. You obviously look back at your own experiences as a driver and with Spencer having come up through the ranks leading to Indy car and winning the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights championships like he did shows that he can win. He knows his way around the INDYCAR SERIES and he knows how to be fast at Indy. You just have to have a little bit of luck and have a good team behind you. In addition to that, what Takuma and Graham offer to the program is invaluable. We’re excited.”