- Swede targets title in sophomore campaign
- New INDYCAR-promoted era kicks off on streets of St. Petersburg
Linus Lundqvist is ready to commence his second season in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires this weekend, as a raft of changes are introduced to the highest rung of American junior-level racing following a takeover of promotion and operating functions by INDYCAR.
The new Indy Lights campaign kicks off amid great excitement at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, with the Floridian street race a firm favourite among drivers and fans alike.
Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist made his American street track debut in St. Petersburg last year, picking up a podium en route to finishing third overall in the championship in a strong rookie season capped by three race victories.
As the top series returnee from last year, Lundqvist is making no secret of his desire to win the coveted Indy Lights title in 2022, where he spearheads a five-car attack for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing.
“I’m extremely excited to get the season underway this weekend at St. Pete,” says Linus Lundqvist. “It was a great event last year and it will be interesting to get back and see where we slot in. Given everything we achieved last year, the target has got to be the title. I know that this is a very important year for me in my quest to get to INDYCAR, but it’s a challenge I am fully ready to take on.”
Paradoxically, Lundqvist finds himself in an unfamiliar position this year due to the very fact that he is not entering new territory. It marks the first time in the Swede’s international motorsport career that he is not a series rookie, following consecutive steps up the ladder from British F4 (2017) to British F3 (2018), Euroformula Open (2019), Formula Regional Americas (2020) and Indy Lights (2021).
“This will be the first time I’ve ever not been a rookie,” Lundqvist adds. “I’ve always had to make quick steps and take the bull by the horns. Now that I’m at the highest junior level, it’s a bit of a new dynamic, but obviously it should help on paper – especially remaining with the same team, too. I’m so excited to get this new season started and draw on all the lessons I learned last year.”
Plenty of news
With INDYCAR taking over official functions and promotion for Indy Lights this season, a number of changes have been implemented, mainly aimed at bringing the feeder series yet more closely aligned with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
The new set-up includes integration in marketing, race officiating, and relocation of the Indy Lights paddock to within the main NTT INDYCAR SERIES area.
Furthermore, Indy Lights will follow the same points structure as used in INDYCAR, and adopt unified rules for the push-to-pass system that increases engine power for a predetermined amount of time per race.
The most tangible change, arguably, revolves around the event schedule, with eight of the eleven championship rounds now one-race events. Three rounds – at Indianapolis, Detroit and Laguna Seca – will retain the 2021-style two-race structure, giving a total of 14 races.
Meanwhile, race distances have been increased by about 10 %, putting an even greater emphasis on tyre management in 2022.
Like last year, the top three drivers in the final standings will be awarded an NTT INDYCAR SERIES test.
This weekend’s season-opener kicks off on Friday with two practice sessions and qualifying, which will set the starting grid for Sunday’s race. There is no Indy Lights track action on Saturday.
Live timing will be available through racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App, which also provides live streaming in selected markets. For international broadcast details, please visit www.indycar.com/indylights.
All times local (U.S. Eastern)
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Rd. 1 | St. Petersburg (USA)
Friday 25 February
Practice 1: 10:05-10:50 am
Qualifying: 1:40-2:10 pm
Practice 2: 5:40-6:10 pm
Saturday 26 February
No on-track session
Sunday 27 February
Race: 9:30 am
View entry list here
STREAMING & TIMING
UPDATES & RESULTS
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing