Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Piers Phillips has joined the team as president. Phillips will report directly to team ownership and oversee operations for the team’s involvement in the IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series. Most recently, Phillips spent the past three seasons at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as general manager.
“Mike, Dave and I are pleased that Piers is joining the team as its first ever president,” said Bobby Rahal, team co-owner with David Letterman and Michael Lanigan. “His past successes speak volumes of his ability in all facets of racing and I look forward to working closely with Piers to take the team to the next level.”
“I was incredibly honored to be approached by Bobby about this opportunity given his experience, success, and stature,” added Piers Phillips. “From the moment I sat down with him to discuss this role, I just fell in love with his passion, drive, and enthusiasm to continue the already impressive accomplishments that RLL has achieved as well as his desire to take the team even further in the future. He is an infectious character that I think I will thoroughly enjoy working with. I also spent some time with Mike Lanigan in Chicago and was equally impressed with his attitude and approach. To be involved at this level with not only the Indy car program but also the sports car program and eTROPHY was a very easy decision for me and one that I know I will thoroughly enjoy.”
In 2018, RLL expanded to two full-season entries in the IndyCar Series for the first time since 2013 and earned one win and three podium finishes. On the sports car racing front, the team worked closely with BMW Motorsport to successfully launch the BMW M8 GTE in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and BMW Team RLL earned two wins, five podium finishes and three poles. On December 15, the team will debut a two-car program in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series at the Ad Diriyah E Prix.
About Piers Phillips
British-native Phillips has over 25 years of experience in both open-wheel racing and sports car racing from both engineering and managerial roles. Phillips graduated from Northumberland College in the United Kingdom in 1991 with a mechanical engineering degree. While completing college, he began working as a junior technician at Dennis Common Subaru in Northumberland. A nine-year stint saw him rise from a junior to a senior technician with a supervisory role, all while competing in a race car he prepared. From 1999-2000 he was a race engineer and team manager of LA Rainbow Racing, an open-wheel ladder series team based in Toronto, Canada. He gained further engineering and managerial experience at British Formula 3 team Fred Goddard Racing (2000-2004) and BTTC team SEAT Sport UK (2004-2009) upon his return to England. SEAT Sport UK finished second in the drivers’ championship with Jason Plate in 2006 and 2007 and earned the manufacturers title in 2006 and teams’ championship in 2007. In October 2008, he moved to Strakka Racing as chief race engineer and team manager but was promoted to team principal and technical director 10 months later. Team highlights during the 2009-2012 seasons include an LMP2 class win at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, six pole positions and fastest laps, four race wins and an outright victory in Hungary to finish second in the Le Mans Series championship in 2010. In 2012, he formed Impact Engineering Services (IES) to provide technical support to sports car and Indy car racing programs. Through IES, he was able to continue the relationship he formed with Honda Performance Development while at Strakka Racing as the chief race engineer and technical director at Level 5 Motorsports in the American Le Mans Series from 2012-2014. While at Level 5 Motorsports, highlights included LMP2 race wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Laguna Seca, Petit Le Mans and a GTD-class win in the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Also from 2012-2015, he was involved in the crowdfunding project to return Brabham Racing to a prominent racing series such as WEC or IMSA. For the 2016-2018 seasons, Phillips was general manager at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman, and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2018, the team will compete in their 27th year of open wheel competition and attempt to add to their 25 wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from the pole with Buddy Rice — their 30 poles, 94 podium finishes and 1992 series championship. The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team, and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the United SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 19 wins, 25 poles and 72 podium finishes as well as a second place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team will enter two cars in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series during the 2018/2019 season. It is the world’s first production-based electric vehicle race series and is a support event to the FIA Formula E Championship.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!