IndyCar’s third Swede Linus Lundqvist eager to start racing with Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment - Chris Jones
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Following a handful of stand-in performances after almost a year on the sidelines, Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist is eager to start his fulltime IndyCar rookie campaign. The 2022 Indy Lights (now Indy NXT) champion has had the best off-season of his career, he told the media during the IndyCar content days.

“I’ve been sleeping a lot better than I have for the last 15 years of my career, because usually this time of year is extremely stressful, trying to find sponsorship and trying to find a team and a ride.

“So going into this, having it done so early, as well, helped because obviously the last few races I spent with Chip Ganassi Racing at Portland, at Laguna, and then I’ve been to the shop basically every single day during the off-season trying to learn, trying to get accustomed to everybody.

“I’ve been enjoying this. I’m enjoying it a lot.”

The 24-year-old is one of three Swedes on the grid, and takes over the #8 Chip Ganassi entry from compatriot and Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, as a reward for standing in for the injured Simon Pagenaud. His performances over the three races for Meyer Shank Racing were enough for Chip Ganassi to pick up the phone.

“Yeah, I’d say it was essential [the three races]. Without those races, I would not be sitting here today. I don’t think so at least. But obviously I was doing my best to even be in some contention during the year, talking for 2024. But yeah, it was basically that Nashville race, everything kind of changed for me.

“When Chip called sometime after that and said that we can make this happen, it was a no-brainer. It’s a dream of every driver to be able to race for this team. I’m trying to make it one better by winning for this team.”

In addition, he believes last year’s sneak peek into IndyCar gives him some advantage over his fellow rookies, such as teammate Kyffin Simpson.

“100 percent,” he explains. “Obviously I’ve done three races more than I would have done before. Not only the races themselves, because they’re fairly straightforward I would say, but the whole INDYCAR weekend concept. What I need to get in the right zone to be as efficient as possible, how practices and qualifying works. We basically just cut everything a little bit smoother, I would say, by doing the three races.

“Like you mentioned, to be able to do a street course, road course, and an oval, as well, that was like the cherry on top. But I also know that it’s going to be a huge challenge going into next year. But that’s what I feel so great about being part of this team, that I know they’re going to guide me through it.”

Driving for arguably the best team in IndyCar at the moment, wins and podiums are always in sight, but Lundqvist doesn’t have a specific target for himself.

“Yeah, I don’t have like a specific target, saying I want to win X amount of races or finish in this position, but I want to maximize my own performance. Because I know at the end of the day, this team and this car is going to be capable of winning the Indianapolis 500 and winning the championship. So if I do my part correctly, that’s where we should be.

“Like I said, we’re here to fight for wins and podiums. That’s going to be the target. But I don’t have to set myself a target saying I have to win X amount of races, for example.”

The 2024 IndyCar season kick’s off with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida on March 10th.

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