Lundgaard to make IndyCar race debut on Indy road course

This weekend’s 12th round of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series will see Formula 2 race winner Christian Lundgaard make his series debut in the third Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda.

Lundgaard, an Alpine Academy program member, tested two weeks ago for RLL at Barber Motorsports Park, alongside Oliver Askew, and today the team has announced that the 20-year-old Dane will take over the #45 car from Santino Ferrucci for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at IMS.

“We were very pleased with the job that Christian did at our recent test at Barber Motorsports Park and are looking forward to seeing him perform at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of RLL along with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan. “It’s going to be a new experience and a big challenge due to the lack of practice time compared to other races.

“[But] the road course is very much like European circuits given that it was designed for Formula 1 and Grand Prix races, so I think it will be less of an issue than going to one of our more traditional IndyCar race tracks.

“Given the lack of test time and practice time, we don’t have any grand expectations of him other than to go out and do a steady job and go from there.”

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Lundgaard, who visited the track while in Indy for his seat fitting at RLL, said: “I’m super excited to try IndyCar next week. I’ve been very fortunate so far in my career to drive some incredible race cars and I’m looking forward to officially adding IndyCar to that list.

“In preparation for this race, I tested the car and it felt pretty awesome and I’m sure it will feel even better at a race weekend in race conditions alongside all the hugely talented drivers in the field.”

Lundgaard, who has won in Formula 3 and Formula 2 for the ART Grand Prix team, added: “There’s been a lot of work to make this happen and prepare as best as possible and I’m feeling ready for the challenge. I’ve actually watched all IndyCar races this year, so to be given the chance to line up on the grid is amazing.

“There will be a lot to learn in a short space of time but trying something new excites me. I can’t thank enough Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Alpine, my sponsors and investors for supporting me with this opportunity. It’s a unique chance and I can’t wait to give it my all.”

Davide Brivio, Alpine F1 Team racing director, gave Lundgaard’s debut his blessing, commenting: “IndyCar is a brilliant, competitive series with very strong contenders and we are excited to see how Christian converts this opportunity.

“Christian remains an important part of the Alpine Academy as he has shown huge promise throughout his junior career. Now, two seasons into FIA Formula 2, we are evaluating different options for the next stage, but for this particular moment we are just focusing on the present; enjoy a different type of car and environment, work hard and deliver on track.

“I’m sure Christian will enjoy it, and I can’t wait to see the race.”

Ferrucci has raced the #45 RLL entry alongside the team’s fulltimers Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato at five of this year’s races, scoring best results of sixth at the Indy 500 and Detroit Race 1.

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