Takuma Sato says joining AJ Foyt Racing put him in position to become the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race.

Sato returned to Japan on Friday to speak about his historic win last Sunday in the Grand Prix of Long Beach, just his third race with the team.

Sato said, “Motorsports is a team sport and you can’t win without complete effort from the team.”

The win at Long Beach came in Sato’s 52nd career start in IndyCar, but was the first for AJ Foyt Racing since Airton Dare won Kansas in 2002.

On the last lap of last year’s Indianapolis 500, Sato wrecked while trying to pass winner Dario Francitti.

Sato entered IndyCar in 2010 after seven seasons in Formula One.

Sato’s victory pushed him up to second in the overall standings, six points behind Helio Castroneves. It has also raised expectations of a first ever win in Indianapolis 500, the fifth leg of championship on May 26.

“It will be a higher level race than last year,” said Sato, who raced as an F1 driver between 2002 and 2008 and had his best finish of third in 2004.

“I want to go into the race with the right intensity. I hope I can make a challenge and enjoy myself.”


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