Lundgaard: “I don't see a reason why we can't be competitive”

Christian Lundgaard is confident that the improving Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda IndyCar team is already in a stronger position than it was in 2022.

Lundgaard: “I don't see a reason why we can't be competitive”

Lundgaard, who finished the first test day at Thermal, CA. in second place, said that in 2022, “We followed a lead that we didn't investigate enough that put us on the wrong track. Now… I'm pretty sure we know where to go and take baby steps forward.

“We have a better package already. Where we ended 2022, across the three cars, is already way better than we started. We were competitive. I don't see a reason why we can't be competitive this year.”

Lundgaard won IndyCar’s 2022 Rookie of the Year award and even grabbed a second-place finish at the season’s second race on the Indianapolis road course. But he recognizes that as well as RLL’s improvements, there are some changes he has to make to his own driving philosophy.

“It's something I've been looking at throughout the off-season,” said the 21-year-old Dane. “I've rewatched all races, written down notes on X, Z and Y, trying to figure out what I can do personally to improve. I think that's what my second season in IndyCar will be all about – get rid of all the silly mistakes and get the basics right.”

Lundgaard said he was also aware that it would be unrealistic to expect the best car all the time, and so being able to extract the maximum from the car in all circumstances was vital.

“Having raced six or seven years in cars now, I've driven bad cars, I've driven good cars,” he commented. “It's not like you get the best one every time. It's not like you get the worst one every time. It's up and down. It's what you make of the material you have. I think last year it was a tough year overall for the team. The beginning of the season we had was not at all where we wanted to be.

“I remember we went to Barber where we had three cars, started with three different setups, went to three different setups again in the middle of the session. We all came in and said one thing across six different setups. That was just how confusing it all was. One might be half a second quicker than the other, but it all felt the exact same across three cars! That's something we struggled to understand.”

“It's always making the best of what you have. That's a principle. You’ve got to have an extremely high, high level, but your low level has also got to be competitive enough. It's basically just being consistent. If you're winning every race, every second race, but finishing last in all the others, then you're not going to win the championship…

“I'm not expecting to win every race. I'm expecting to have three cars to fight for the win. That's a journey the team is on. I'll do everything in my power to help with that… Looking at how the second end of 2022 ended, I'm not at all in doubt that I've got what it takes: I’ve just got to do it. I guess that's what the team expects from me as well. I’ve just got to deliver that.”

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