Christian Lundgaard is entering his second IndyCar season, and has ambitions to spend a lot of his time up near the front of the field in 2023.
After coming over from Formula 2 to race in America full time, Lundgaard immediately showed that he had a considerable amount of natural talent. His consistent driving style led to him feeling comfortable in the cars after just one race on the Indianapolis road course.
Even before the 2022 season had begun, when he only had that solitary IndyCar race under his belt, the young driver was focused on fighting for a championship.
In a recent interview with IndyCar, Lundgaard laid out which aspect of this upcoming season is going to require the most improvement over last year.
“One is pretty obvious: Ovals, for sure,” said the Danish driver. “Put in quite a lot of work from my own side, not necessarily data, analysis, but more just understanding where and what I did wrong in 2022.
“We didn’t have a very strong oval car in 2022, so I think from a team’s perspective we also need to improve that. I know we have. The only question is how much have we really improved?
“Coming in from the European culture, not doing ovals and being thrown at it straight in basically in the second race of the season at Texas, which will be again this year, for me just to understand and have a car beneath me where I trust the car. That’s what’s really tough.
“I have a lot of the European drivers that ask me, ‘How are the ovals?’ And the only example I can think of is Monza in Italy. It’s basically like going down the street and then by the time you would brake into Turn 1, you just turn hard left. You really got to believe and trust the car, trust the equipment and the mechanics behind you.”
It’s not like Lundgaard was particularly poor performing on the ovals last season, though, even earning a top 10 finish in the first race of the doubleheader weekend at Iowa.
But top 10s are not the only ambitions that the 21-year-old has, and he is working hard to up his game across all aspects of the season.
For 2023, Lundgaard is remaining at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing but has been shifted from the #30 entry to the #45 car in order to maximize the team’s high-profile sponsorship deal with Hy-Vee.
He will get behind the wheel of his new car at IndyCar’s preseason open test from The Thermal Club next week, where he is expecting to find that his team has worked just as hard as he has in the offseason.
“I’m looking extremely forward for Thermal in a couple of weeks where we finally get to get let loose and see where we are at,” said Lundgaard. “But I feel like we have a good feeling.
“Personally, I have a pretty good feeling now I know what IndyCar is all about, been to all the tracks, experienced all the events. So, I feel like 2022 has been a long learning journey, but a good one, as well.
“You only have one shot at the rookie title, got that. Now, it’s time to show yourself on the big stage. In terms of my own expectations, I think that is the only expectation.”