Stefano Sordo, who has more than 20 years of engineering experience with top Formula One teams, will join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as the team’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES technical director starting Oct. 1, team officials announced Sept. 8.
Sordo spent the past six seasons with McLaren Racing F1 as head and director of vehicle performance. Before that, he was with Red Bull Racing F1, among other teams. He will oversee a multitiered engineering structure at the team’s new headquarters in Zionsville, Indiana.
“I’m very excited to be joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s team in the INDYCAR SERIES,” Sordo said. “It is a very challenging and very competitive series where I think every competitor can have a chance at winning every time they participate in a race, providing you get all the ingredients right.
“The excitement of this new role for me is to challenge myself and see if with the experience and methodology developed through many years spent in F1 I can help the team moving forward in becoming a consistent, front-running team. This is the clear challenge and target that I set for myself, and I look forward to getting started. I would like to thank Bobby (Rahal) and Mike (Lanigan) for this opportunity and their trust in my abilities, and I hope I can repay them with successes at the track.”
Sordo earned a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic University in Milan, Italy. He started his professional racing career as a design and performance engineer at Tatuus F3 in 1996.
In late 1996, he moved to DC Cook Motorsport’s F3 and F3000 team as a race engineer for the 1997-98 seasons. He joined McLaren as a race engineer with their F3000 program for 1999-2000 before he got his start in Formula One with Arrows as a race and test engineer for the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He then joined Jaguar Racing F1 for the 2003 and 2004 seasons as race engineer.
At the end of 2004, Jaguar Racing F1 became Red Bull Racing F1, and he stayed on until 2016 working first as race engineer and then moving into the aerodynamic department from 2007 for the subsequent 10 years in the position of head of aerodynamic performance.
While Sordo was at Red Bull, the team won four consecutive Drivers and Constructors championship titles with Sebastian Vettel between 2010-2013. He then joined McLaren F1 in October 2016 and has been head and then director of the vehicle performance department until joining RLL as technical director.
“I'm so please that Stefano will be joining the team as technical director,” team co-owner Bobby Rahal said. “He is well respected in the industry, and his track record speaks for itself having worked with organizations like McLaren and Red Bull in Formula One, among others. I'm confident that Stefano will bring to us a perspective that will raise our game against our competition and work well with our existing engineering staff.”
Said co-owner Mike Lanigan: “Stefano has shown he is capable of leading large groups of engineers at the top level of motorsport, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have him join our team. His depth of experience, combined with his knowledge of the various areas to maximize the performance of a race car, will be a tremendous asset to us going forward.”
RLL fields three cars in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES this season, for veterans Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey, and Rookie of the Year points leader Christian Lundgaard.