MOORESVILLE, N.C. – It took just one race for Christian Lundgaard to claim a full-time ride in the NTT IndyCar Series for 2022.
The 20-year-old was impressive in his only IndyCar race, the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced Wednesday morning that the FIA Formula 2 Championship driver would join the team in the No. 30 Honda in a multi-year agreement.
“I’m very pleased that Christian will be joining us for the next several years,” team owner Bobby Rahal said. “His performance on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway certainly surprised everybody. For him to do the job he did was tremendous and certainly beyond our expectations. With a little more time under his belt, I think the performance would have been even stronger.
“Everyone within the team was very pleased and it created a lot of excitement and positive reactions from the fans on social media and online as well as a positive buzz in the paddock. Some may not know, but he had food poisoning, so he wasn’t feeling 100 percent that day and yet to have the kind of weekend we had was great. I look forward to a long relationship with Christian. He’s a great young man who fit well with the team immediately and we are all excited about what we can do together.”
Lundgaard is a member of the Alpine Academy, a program originally created by Renault F1 in 2002 to support young racing drivers through their careers. He had limited preparation before his Indy car debut at IMS but turned heads when he qualified on the second row in fourth place and went on to finish 12th despite a condensed event schedule.
His ability to adapt quickly will be an asset as he learns the nuances of oval racing and also competes in the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2022.
“I’m very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in IndyCar,” Lundgaard said. “They are a fantastic team who made me feel very welcome earlier this year when I made my debut in the series. They are the perfect choice and I’m happy to join them on this next chapter in my career. I was very much open minded when I raced at Indianapolis in August and the experience then only grew my hunger to give it another go, so to have the opportunity as a full-time professional racing driver is a privilege.
“I can only thank Bobby, Piers (Morgan, RLL President) and the team, as well as my investors and Alpine for putting it all together. I’m determined to repay that faith with on-track performances beginning when the season starts in February. Of course, this will be a completely new challenge for me, especially with oval racing, which I’ve never done before. I’d like to think I’m a fast learner, so taking this on is going to be an awesome experience.
“For now, I’m not setting too many expectations other than working hard and enjoying the racing and hopefully the results will follow. For now, though, my focus is on finishing the Formula 2 Championship before fully committing to taking on IndyCar. I can’t wait for the experience to begin.”
“The team is very excited to have Christian on board beginning with the 2022 season,” said team co-owner Michael Lanigan. “With our current line up with Graham and Jack, I believe the addition of Christian will take our team to the next level in competing for a championship.”
Lundgaard is from Hedensted, Denmark. He competes in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the primary Formula 1 support series. He is also a member of the Alpine Academy, having joined the program in 2017 following an impressive career in European and World Karting Championships. Christian’s first year in single-seaters led to two Formula 4 titles – NEZ and Spanish – before he finished runner-up in the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup as a rookie. In 2019, Christian stepped up to Formula 3, finishing sixth, before progressing to Formula 2 last year.
In 2020 he stepped up to Formula 2, securing two wins. So far in 2021, Christian has three Formula 2 podiums to his name. He finished second in Race 2 at the season opener in Bahrain before claiming third place in Race 1 in Great Britain in July. After his debut in INDYCAR, he made a sensational charge from 19th on the grid to finish third in Monza in Race 1. He has tested the R.S.18 on one occasion this year at Silverstone. The final two races of the championship will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 2-4 and Yas Marina, United Arab Emirates, December 9-11.
“Christian impressed us all in his IndyCar debut earlier this year, on the IMS road course with Rahal Letterman Lanigan,” said Honda Performance Development President David Salters. “It’s great to see a youth movement in IndyCar and high-quality talent transfer from F2 and F1 programs. From Honda’s perspective, it’s delightful to see the upward trajectory of IndyCar with a super competitive field, we relish this as we race to challenge ourselves through competition. We look forward to watching Christian continue to develop and perform in the NTT IndyCar Series in 2022.”