Less than two weeks after RLL Racing announced the signing of Jack Harvey, the team today named the driver of their third full-time entry for next season. Christian Lundgaard, a two-time race winner in F2 and a member of the Alpine Academy, signed a multi-year agreement with the team that will put him in the seat of the No. 30 Honda.
Lundgaard tested with the team at Barber Motorsports Park last season and then drove the No. 45 Honda back in August on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, where he dazzled everyone in his debut. The 20-year old qualified in fourth place and finished 12th despite suffering food poisoning overnight and having no practice time in the car. The full press release from today is below.
[Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Press Release]
After an impressive debut in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that FIA Formula 2 Championship driver Christian Lundgaard, 20, will join the team as the driver of the No. 30 Honda-powered entry beginning in 2022 in a multi-year agreement. Further details for the racing program will be announced at a later date.
Lundgaard, who is a member of the Alpine Academy, a program originally created by Renault F1 in 2002 to support young racing drivers through their careers, 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.
“I’m very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in IndyCar,” said Lundgaard. “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 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.”
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.
Team co-owner Bobby Rahal commented on the team’s third full-time driver. “I’m very pleased that Christian will be joining us for the next several years. 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.”
Mike Lanigan echoed those same sentiments about the young driver. “The team is very excited to have Christian on board beginning with the 2022 season. 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 and currently races 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 Lundgaard 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.
The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 25-27. The 17-race schedule includes the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 on Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 on Sunday, July 24 – both at Iowa Speedway. Team partner Hy-Vee will provide broad support for the doubleheader event through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, located near their headquarters in Des Moines, after a one-year hiatus.