Linus Lundqvist became the fourth driver from the 2021 Indy Lights season to conduct his first NTT IndyCar Series test in recent weeks, and after spending a few hours in Andretti Autosport’s No. 29 Honda, the Swede says he was blown away by the experience.
“It lived up to every bit of my expectation and more,” Lundqvist told RACER. “The whole experience has just been amazing. I find it a little bit difficult to actually put into words how cool it actually was. It’s one of those things where you’ve watched IndyCar since you were a little kid, and especially now, the last two years being here in America, this is the big dream to get your chance in an IndyCar and all of a sudden, you are sitting in a car with Andretti, at Indianapolis. I don’t know what to say.”
Lundqvist’s test came as a reward for finishing third in the Indy Lights championship where he won three races for the HMD/GRG team. He was joined on Monday by Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood, who piloted the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda (79.94s), and HMD/GRG teammate David Malukas, who drove the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy (80.15s). With Kirkwood making his third IndyCar test outing and Malukas completing his second, Lundqvist’s IndyCar debut (80.23s) closed with a best lap that wasn’t far from his rivals.
“I’d like to say I got comfortable fairly quickly,” Lundqvist said. “We had three hours of running, which meant that I had to get up to speed immediately. So I was always able to be within a second in 10 laps, and then after 20 laps within half a second, and then towards the end of the day, after 30 laps, within a couple of tenths. The progression was definitely good, and I knew that I didn’t have that much time, so my approach was to get out there and get on with it.
“And I’ve got to say, I think Indy Lights has done a great job at preparing you for what’s to come with IndyCar. The braking with carbon fiber brakes, that made a huge difference, especially when you’re arriving faster to the corners but you’re also able to brake later. That was just crazy to me.”
My first INDYCAR test ✅ Somebody pinch me!!🤩 Enjoyed every minute of it and I can confirm, it’s a real beast! Cannot thank @IndyCar and @FollowAndretti for this day enough 🙌 #INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/lpNyxV7cCL
— Linus Lundqvist (@L_Lundqvist76) November 2, 2021
The talented 22-year-old isn’t sure what his future holds; if he’s able to make a return to Indy Lights, he’d be an instant title favorite. Progressing to IndyCar is another goal.
“I’d like to say there’s a chance that I’ll be in on the IndyCar grid next year; maybe it’s slim, but as long as there’s a chance, I’ll fight like hell to get it,” he said. “But if that doesn’t happen, then obviously I want to do Lights for another year. But the big question mark there for me is to be able to raise the funds. I think it’s going to be quite tough, but at least I’ve got an IndyCar experience on my side. So we’ll keep talking to teams, and if it’s Lights for me, I should have a pretty good chance of winning the championship if I do return.”