IndyCar rookie Christian Lundgaard says adapting to the rougher nature of the series’ tracks will be crucial for him after moving to the series from Formula 2.
But he expects a tougher time when he tackles some of the series’ notoriously bumpy street circuits for the first time this year.
“I’m happy that the Indy road course was the track that I drove,” said Lundgaard. “I know I tested at Barber but the track is very European and I’m used to the European tracks. So for me to start there was a good benchmark.
“But once we get to Nashville, Detroit, those kind of circuits, I wouldn’t say I’m going to struggle more but I’ll probably need more time compared to the others because they’ve been there.”
He has already tested for the team at the Sebring road course, which has a more punishing surface, ahead of the season-opening race on the streets of St Petersburg next month.
“It was good to spend the time with the team and learn a bumpy track,” said Lundgaard. “I know that it’s not the worst but it replicates as much as we can the real tracks. I think for me just to get a feel of how it actually feels in the car, how the car handles on bumps was very beneficial for me. I was very satisfied and happy with the tests.”
Another key difference in IndyCar racing which Lundgaard will have to adapt to is ovals. The second round of the championship will take place at Texas Motor Speedway in March.
“I’ll have a test at Texas before which I think will come in quite handy,” said Lundgaard. “At the moment I don’t know what to think of it.
“I drove my home sim at Indy the other day and it fell a bit easy. But I might also have had a bit too much downforce.
“So I think once we go to Texas and I actually get a real go in the car, I’ll have a feel of how loose the car is and how stable it is as well. At the moment, it’s quite difficult to tell for me, but I’m looking forward to get out and race at high speeds.”
Lundgaard hopes that by the latter stages of the season he will have moved beyond understanding the cars’ behaviour and be able to show more of what he can do.
“To be honest, in terms of expectations, it’s a little tricky one because everyone would say, ‘okay, he’s new, he needs to learn’,” said Lundgaard. “But at the same time, I have the same feeling. I still want to do well, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.
“Whatever pressure the team or sponsors or everyone behind the scenes put on me, I don’t really mind because pressure is a good thing. It means that someone knows you can do it, so they’re expecting you to.
“I’m here to learn. I’m here to use the beginning of the season to prove myself and to learn. But I don’t want to spend the whole season trying to learn and then see where I’m at after that. Obviously, I compete to win, and that’s my goal.”
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