The 2021 Indy Lights grid is arguably one of the most competitive in years. There are 13 cars currently entered, with potential for more to join later in the season, and there is plenty of strength in depth with several experienced drivers and multiple champions. We chart Linus’ opposition ahead of his series debut…
Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports
For a start, there is Linus’ own team: Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports. The merged squad – managed by Global’s Christian Pedersen and HMD’s Henry Malukas – is fielding a quartet of cars in 2021, taking on Linus and Nikita Lastochkinalongside the owners’ sons Benjamin Pedersen and David Malukas.
Interestingly, Malukas was Linus’ main opponent in Formula Regional Americas last year, finishing second in the standings and winning the only two races not claimed by Linus.
Previous to that, Malukas had worked his way up the Road to Indy ladder, racing in both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 (then named Pro Mazda) before finally entering Indy Lights in 2019. In his first year in the championship, Malukas picked up two podiums and finished sixth overall, making him the most seasoned driver in the team at this level.
Lastochkin is another experienced Road to Indy competitor, spending two years in USF2000 (2015-2016) and three in Indy Pro 2000 (2017-2019) ahead of his Indy Lights progression this season.
Pedersen, meanwhile, has also attained plenty of seat time in U.S. single-seater racing, both in F4 and F3/FR Americas – taking second in the latter in 2019. Adding to that, the Danish-American has also partaken in the BRDC British F3 Championship in each of the last two seasons, winning a race for Double R Racing – with which Linus clinched the British F3 title in 2018 – last year.
Linus is entered with start number #26.
The other four-car team on the grid is Indy Lights powerhouse Andretti Autosport, the junior offshoot of the race-winning INDYCAR operation.
Inevitably, a lot of people would expect Andretti’s line-up to be spearheaded by Kyle Kirkwood – already a multiple scholarship winner and champion at every previous level.
After winning the F4 U.S. title in 2017, Kirkwood started out on the Road to Indy platform in 2018, immediately dominating USF2000 with 12 wins from 14 races. For the avoidance of doubt, he also wrapped up the F3 Americas Championship (later rebadged as Formula Regional Americas) in that same year, setting a record of 15 wins that few believed would ever be matched until Linus did so in 2020.
For 2019, Kirkwood stepped up to Indy Pro 2000 and won nine of the last 11 races en route to a fourth title in just three years. Kirkwood was originally set to debut in Indy Lights last year, but shifted to a partial IMSA sportscar campaign when the series was put on hold due to COVID-19.
Lining up alongside Kirkwood at Andretti are Robert Megennis (who already has an Indy Lights victory to his name from the Indianapolis road course in 2019), Singapore’s Danial Frost, and Italian-Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco. DeFrancesco and Frost finished second and third respectively in last year’s Indy Pro 2000 standings, beaten only by…
…Sting Ray Robb. The reigning Indy Pro 2000 champion remains with Juncos Racing for his step up to Indy Lights, and is the third scholarship driver on the grid alongside Linus and Kyle Kirkwood thanks to his $600,000+ bonus for last year’s IP2000 title win.
Juncos Racing’s second car will be driven by Englishman Toby Sowery, entering his second Indy Lights season after clinching one win back in 2019.
2021 will be the year in which Linus resumes his rivalry with Trevor Carlin’s famous operation, with which he constantly battled in Europe in 2017-2019. The British team is returning to Indy Lights this season after winning the title with current INDYCAR racer Ed Jones in 2016.
The two Carlin machines are set to be raced by Christian Bogle – who makes a big step up from USF2000 – and Australia’s Alex Peroni, whose career in Europe over the past five seasons included a Formula Renault Eurocup victory on the streets of Monaco in 2018.
A one-car team for Antonio Serravalle, Canada, will also take to the grid this season.
DOWNLOAD: Entry List (per 1 April)