Kevin Magnussen is set to make his IndyCar Series debut this weekend at Road America, and has revealed that he’s never had less preparation for a race in his career.
The Danish driver is filling in for a recovering Felix Rosenqvist at Arrow McLaren SP, reviving a partnership with McLaren that goes back to the 2014 Formula 1 season.
Magnussen continued in Formula 1 until the end of the 2020 season, when he left to pursue a career IMSA sports car racing.
But this weekend’s relief drive has only give him a few days to prepare to race a car he has never even sat in before, and he has spent a lot of that time getting comfortable in his seat.
“This doesn’t really compare to any other experience I’ve had,” said Magnussen ahead his debut. “This is certainly the least prepared I’ve ever been to step into a race.
“The priority was to first get fit in the car. Get the seat done, the pedals right, steering wheel, all that, to make sure I can drive it today.
“I went to see Romain [Grosjean] yesterday just to hang out a bit, and of course we were talking about this weekend. He was actually very helpful, giving advice and letting me know the obvious things that are different from IndyCar to F1.
“But, at the end of the day, it’s not the greatest circumstances when you’ve got a driver out. Luckily he’s recovering very well and he’s going to be fine.
“I’m really here just to experience and enjoy it. Hopefully I’ll have a good result on Sunday, but most of all I’m here to learn and enjoy.
“When you get an opportunity like this – I’m a racing driver, a passionate one, and when an opportunity comes to go drive an awesome racecar like an IndyCar, I have to take it.”
Magnussen is coming off his maiden IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win last weekend when the series shared the Detroit GP weekend with IndyCar.
He will be team-mates this weekend to the most recent race winner, and current points leader, Pato O’Ward.
O’Ward has offered to be an open book and help Magnussen with any questions he has, though the mild-mannered 28-year-old seems ready to get out on track and learn for himself.
Luckily for Magnussen, there are three practice sessions scheduled for this weekend, although changing wind conditions and the threat of rain on Sunday will give him more than his share of challenges.