Magnussen considered IndyCar, DTM moves for 2016

© Renault

Kevin Magnussen has revealed that he considered moving into IndyCar and DTM for 2016 before being handed a lifeline in Formula 1 by Renault.

Magnussen was dropped from his McLaren race seat after just one year at the end of 2014 to make way for Fernando Alonso, resigning the Dane to spending 2015 in a reserve role.

McLaren released Magnussen from his contract for 2016, allowing him to test Porsche’s LMP1 car and for Mercedes in DTM as he evaluated his racing options.

Following Pastor Maldonado’s loss of backing from the Venezuelan government, Renault approached Magnussen about returning to F1, with his arrival being confirmed at the beginning of the month.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Magnussen said that he considered moves into both IndyCar and DTM for 2016, and came close to signing a deal to race in the latter.

“Of course Formula 1 was top of my list and of course you knock on every door,” Magnussen said.

“I always saw possibilities, but a possibility is not really what would make my day – just being there. So I also risked a look at DTM and IndyCar.

“In fact I was very close to DTM. As an alternative I found it pretty tempting. I always had sort of a crush on DTM.

“And believe me: I am just glad that none of this happened, that I didn’t panic and sign a contract that was not my absolute choice, that I had the guts to sit quiet and wait for something better.

“And I can say that now I am exactly where I wanted to be.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”