Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that it is scheduled to test reigning FIA Formula E champion Antonio Félix da Costa, 29, on November 2 at Barber Motorsports Park (BMP). It will be the first time for the five-time FIA Formula E race winner to drive an Indy car.
“I have never hidden the fact that it’s a big dream of mine to come try out an Indy car,” said Antonio Felix da Costa, a native of Cascais, Portugal. “I am a big fan of how America, and INDYCAR in particular, goes about the sport and have been a huge fan for many years. I have known Bobby for a few years. We always met at the BMW Christmas dinners and every year I kept saying ‘Come on, let me have a go’ and finally now I got the call to come meet the team and test. It’s very exciting times for me and something I have been looking forward to a lot. The first contact with the team has been very positive and everyone has been friendly. I can see there is a high level of professionalism in the team which was to be expected. I’m excited to get on track.”
With six seasons of all-electric single seater racing under his belt, da Costa is one of the most experienced Formula E drivers on the grid. Coming from a racing family, da Costa started karting at the age of nine, racing in a number of Portuguese championships against more experienced and older competitors. In 2007, he progressed into single-seaters in Formula Renault 2.0 and, after gaining attention in both Formula 3 Euro Series and GP3, he would eventually join the Red Bull program.
After making his Formula One test debut for Force India in 2010, the Portuguese driver went on to pilot four of Adrian Newey’s title-winning Red Bull Racing machines. Moving to Formula E, da Costa started his career in the series as a driver for Team Aguri in 2014, where he raced for two seasons. After securing an early win in Buenos Aires during season one, the top step of the podium proved elusive for the Portuguese driver until a win in the opening round of the 2018/19 season in Saudi Arabia.
In the third season, da Costa, moved to Andretti where he raced for two seasons, benefiting from the team’s technical partnership with BMW in 2017/18. In 2017, the team grew into a full manufacturer works team — BMW i Andretti Motorsport — with da Costa and teammate Alexander Sims announced as the team’s debut driver line up. He finished the season sixth after briefly challenging for the title before moving to reigning champions DS Techeetah where he brought them back-to-back titles in 2019/20. In total, he has earned five Formula E wins and 11 podiums in six seasons of competition.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES was unable to hold the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at BMP this season on April 5. RLL driver Takuma Sato is the most recent race winner at BMP after also having won pole and heading up the first 1-2 start for the team since 2005 with teammate Graham Rahal, who started second. Sato went on to lead 74 of 90 laps en route to victory.
“We were unable to maximize a full team test using one of our three days, since Graham is waiting for the arrival of his first child so this enables us to test a young and very accomplished driver in Antonio Félix da Costa,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan. “Through our partnership with BMW on the sports car side, we have followed his career and are excited to see what he can do in an Indy car.”
“We have heard a lot of great things about this young man’s talent and look forward to good results from our test at Barber Motorsports Park. It always adds value to get another perspective and we are confident he can provide good insight,” added Mike Lanigan, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
A large INDYCAR SERIES contingent is expected at the one-day test at Barber Motorsports Park on Monday, November 2. The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season concludes with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on October 24-25. Live coverage of the race begins on NBC at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 25.