By: Ashley McCubbin
After experiencing success in Formula 2 with multiple podiums to his name, Christian Lundgaard makes the move to the United States for 2022 as he will partake in the NTT IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The Denmark-born competitor recently spoke with NEWS FROM THE PITS about his thoughts on the opportunity ahead.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts going into the IndyCar Series season?
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD: To be honest, it’s going to be a long season. I’m looking forward to just getting started, to be honest, to get on-track and see where we are. I am confident that the car and the team is good enough for consistent podiums so if we can achieve that, I will be more than happy for our first year.
ASHLEY: What factored into your decision to want to go IndyCar racing for 2022?
CHRISTIAN: To be honest, it’s not really a clear answer. There’s a lot of different aspects into that decision, considering my season in F2 finished in December and we signed the deal earlier than that. Normally, you would always wait until the end of your previous season to consider what you want to do for the next year, but we didn’t have time to do that. In the end, there’s not really a clear answer. I can’t really tell you exactly why, but in the end, it’s the right decision. Now looking back, I wouldn’t do anything different.
ASHLEY: What are your goals and expectations?
CHRISTIAN: It’s a good questions. Goals and expectations are always on the higher list of questions, but to be honest, I get the question but I never race to finish second, never to race to lose, I want to win. So I’m expecting from myself to win. But the main goal is always to get the most of the material that you have, and now saying I’m confident in the car will be good, I want to win and I’m pretty sure that we can but we need to do on a consistent basis, but I don’t know if we’ll be capable of doing that.
I haven’t done ovals, I haven’t done the street circuits here – there will be a lot bumpier than I’m used to. So we’ll see. It’s going to be interesting, for sure.
ASHLEY: You have the test coming up shortly at Sebring. What are you doing ahead of that to prepare?
CHRISTIAN: Train, train, and train. I just finished my morning work-out. To be honest, the cars are kind of the same physical level of what I’m used to, it’s just doing it a longer period of time. I would say the races are more physical than what I’m used to, but qualifying and practice is the same to be honest. So that’s something that I have to prepare for, and as any driver would say, I’d rather be over prepared than on the limit. I want to have that extra boost of physicality.
ASHLEY: How has being part of the Alpha Academy helped your career to date?
CHRISTIAN: Pretty simple answer – I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
ASHLEY: I know you got your start in go-karting, and we see a lot of young kids doing that as well. What is the biggest thing that you learned from that experience that’s been beneficial since?
CHRISTIAN: I wouldn’t say pure talent, but pure race craft. You’re able to just do laps, because I think the accessibility in go-karting because you can just put the car in the back of your truck, and go to a track, and drive. It’s not quite the same with our racers, so I think it’s the availability in being able to drive 24/7 was the biggest benefactor that you learn at such a young age and you learn the basics. Let’s say the basics would be probably what has helped the most, because I would say it’s all about timing.
Yes, you can be good, but if you’re in the wrong material back then you don’t stand a chance. But if you do well enough in the worst material, then the other competitors, then you look even better than them. I was fortunate enough to do that one year – and that was the year that I won the European Championship. I wasn’t in the best material, and that’s kind of what set me into cars and got my career started.
ASHLEY: Looking at your career, what’s been the most memorable moment of your racing career to date?
CHRISTIAN: I would say there’s a few but I think it’s more topics that I am happy to achieve, which is the European go-karting Championship that set my whole career off. My first win in F2, which is such a high level and always watched these kind of feeder series and wanted to be there. Then once I was there, I had my first victory and it was just relief.
Then signing this deal for IndyCar because IndyCar is so far away from what I was thinking. My dream is always been to go to F1, and now I’m on the other side of the planet racing something fairly equal to it. I wouldn’t say it I haven’t realized it yet because I have, but it’s awesome to be here. it’s something new, completely different, completely new culture so there’s a lot of things for me to learn.
ASHLEY: Depending on how the future goes, and say the roads shift, would you head back down the F1 road?
CHRISTIAN: I’m not going to say I would say no, I am not going to say I would say yes, I would say it depends on whatever scenario it is. The interest will always be there. I think if you look at Pato (O’Ward), it’s the same thing; for him, he would like to go to F1 if he had the opportunity as well. I mean, it all depends on a lot of different stuff. My focus is here now and the opportunity rises in the future, we’ll see if we take it or not, but IndyCar is now.
ASHLEY: Who do you consider your racing hero?
CHRISTIAN: Racing hero – I am the European type, so I will probably say Schumacher. I’m pretty sure the American drivers would say some American driver.