By: Ashley McCubbin
After placing fourth in the 2021 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire standings, Benjamin Pedersen returns to the series this year for a sophomore campaign. The Denmark native shared his thoughts recently with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts going into the upcoming Indy Lights season?
BENJAMIN PEDERSEN: Just excited to get going. Obviously we’ve had a lot testing here in the pre-season. Our last test was at Homestead and Sebring, which went really well. This coming week, we’re headed to Laguna for two days which is our last two days of pre-season testing. Then we go racing later this month at St. Petersburg which is coming up quickly.
ASHLEY: I was just going to say, testing has gone pretty well for you with pacing both Homestead and Sebring. How much does that help your confidence going into the season?
BENJAMIN: It’s a lot of confidence. We’re trying a lot of things with the car and set-up things that we can to check off the list; but at the end of the day, I’m just always working at betting myself first and foremost, so every test is a better opportunity to do that.
Honestly, I’m not relaxed, but I’m confident in how we go about things for the season. So as long as we keep pushing ourselves and moving the bar, we’ll be in good shape. I have a fantastic group of people around me helping me get those things accomplished, so I’m honestly enjoying it and taking advantage of each moment.
ASHLEY: What surprised you the most last season in your first Indy Lights campaign?
BENJAMIN: I don’t know if necessary had any surprises, but it was more so new things. New to street races – never done that before, so getting that under my belt. Ovals – never done that. So obviously you learn things with new experiences, but honestly there were no surprises. It was just gaining experience in these new formats of race weekends.
ASHLEY: So what do you feel that you can improve upon as a driver to be better this season?
BENJAMIN: Just trying to better myself in every area, to be honest. There’s so many things that you can get into detail about from a driver’s perspective. We definitely have some stuff that we’ve worked at during the pre-season that we’ve gotten better at and there’s some other small things as well that you try to make it slightly better, even if you’re at a high level to start with.
We’re always looking at ways to better ourselves, whether in the car or out of the car, fitness, mentally in how you go about things. There’s always ways to get better, so I’m excited for the process.
ASHLEY: What track are you most excited to get back to this season?
BENJAMIN: I’m obviously very excited to get back street circuits and ovals, being that I know what it’s like now. But also the new events like Iowa and Nashville. We haven’t been to before – the teams have been there in the past, except Nashville, so looking forward to those new experiences. But honestly looking forward to going back to places where it wasn’t my first time as last year, because now it’s a completely different approach to it knowing what it’s like.
ASHLEY: Knowing what you accomplished this past season, what are your goals for 2022?
BENJAMIN: I mean, goal number one is to win the championship, but if you just have that goal in mind, then it’s very hard to achieve it. You have to look a little deeper into that and if you can achieve those goals, then you can win the championship so that’s what I’m focused on right now. I’m not going to tell you what those goals are because they are things that we keep private between myself, engineer, and my coach so we have a competitive edge.
But we’re more so focused on individual things that we can better ourselves to win the championship – but big term the goal is that championship.
ASHLEY: So if you were to get that championship and move up to the IndyCar Series, what would that mean to you?
BENJAMIN: It would be huge. It’s what I’ve put so much time and effort and pride into. There’s a lot of people that think outside of the car, we’re out of a race weekend, we go home and relax. But we put so much time into it from a training perspective as I spend two days every day with my trainer and then I get onto the SIM with my coach for two hours.
There’s just a lot of effort that goes into it and for me, I find a lot of joy in achieving goals that you work really hard for. That’s really why I do this and something that I have a lot of passion for. I’m just so excited to get going and I love every part of it.
ASHLEY: Outside of open-wheel, is there something that you’d like to get behind the wheel of?
BENJAMIN: I’d love to have a go in some SportsCar racing in IMSA but more so in the longer races. Daytona 24, I’d love to have a go in that and start to get involved with that as many IndyCar drivers are doing. So that would be the biggest thing in terms of another car.
To be completely side track, dirt cars look pretty fun if you want to step outside of your comfort zone; so a midget car or a sprint car would be a really cool side experience. I’m pretty open to most things.