Christian Lundgaard will race IndyCar for Rahal in multiyear deal starting in 2022

IndyCar Christian Lundgaard Rahal
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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F2 driver Christian Lundgaard will race full time in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing full time in a multiyear deal announced Wednesday.

Lundgaard made his IndyCar debut with RLL in the Aug. 14 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, qualifying an impressive fourth and finishing 12th. He is a member of the Alpine Academy, a youth driver program tied to the F1 team previously known as Renault.

He becomes the latest European transplant to race full time in IndyCar next season, joining F1 veteran Romain Grosjean (who excelled in a partial schedule last year) and Callum Ilott.

Lundgaard, 20, will be teamed with Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey, who recently was announced as the No. 45 Dallara-Honda driver. The Danish driver is ranked 11th in the F2 standings this season with the Alpine F1 team.

“I’m very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in IndyCar,” Lundgaard said in a release. “They are a fantastic team who made me feel very welcome earlier this year when I made my debut in the series. They are the perfect choice and I’m happy to join them on this next chapter in my career. I was very much open-minded when I raced at Indianapolis in August and the experience then only grew my hunger to give it another go, so to have the opportunity as a full-time professional racing driver is a privilege.

“I can only thank Bobby, Piers and the team, as well as my investors and Alpine for putting it all together. I’m determined to repay that faith with on-track performances beginning when the season starts in February. Of course, this will be a completely new challenge for me, especially with oval racing, which I’ve never done before. I’d like to think I’m a fast learner, so taking this on is going to be an awesome experience. For now, I’m not setting too many expectations other than working hard and enjoying the racing and hopefully the results will follow. For now, though, my focus is on finishing the Formula 2 Championship before fully committing to taking on IndyCar. I can’t wait for the experience to begin.”

Said team owner Bobby Rahal: “I’m very pleased that Christian will be joining us for the next several years. His performance on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway certainly surprised everybody. For him to do the job he did was tremendous and certainly beyond our expectations. With a little more time under his belt, I think the performance would have been even stronger.

“Everyone within the team was very pleased, and it created a lot of excitement and positive reactions from the fans on social media and online as well as a positive buzz in the paddock. Some may not know, but he had food poisoning so he wasn’t feeling 100 percent that day and yet to have the kind of weekend we had was great. I look forward to a long relationship with Christian. He’s a great young man who fit well with the team immediately and we are all excited about what we can do together.”

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.