Armstrong ready to wrestle demanding IndyCar ‘like it’s an alligator’

Last year, Christian Lundgaard had already tipped Marcus Armstrong for a move to IndyCar. Now, that career switch has become a reality for the New Zealander. He joins Chip Ganassi Racing after three seasons in FIA Formula 2 and is keen to get stuck in with the physicality of the series.

By Jeroen Demmendaal

Marcus Armstrong is only the latest F2 driver to make the switch to the NTT IndyCar Series in recent years, and if history is anything to go by, he’ll find the transition just as smooth as other former F2 stars like Lundgaard and Callum Ilott.

Last summer, Christian Lundgaard told Feeder Series that he saw IndyCar as a viable alternative for Armstrong to further his career. The Danish driver was the Kiwi’s teammate in F2 in 2020 and enthused about the New Zealander’s driving qualities and abilities to “hustle a car.”

Plenty of F2 drivers have found adapting to an IndyCar relatively easy in recent years, helped by the fact that both cars are built by Dallara and (unlike F1) neither car has power steering. Armstrong echoed those sentiments when asked by Feeder Series during a media session this week.

Armstrong drove for DAMS in F2 | Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

“In F2 we don’t have power steering,” he said. “I know that IndyCar is notoriously physically demanding, which again is part of the challenge and cool. Certainly cool to watch on TV when you’re wrestling with the car like it’s an alligator!

Certainly cool to watch on TV when you’re wrestling with the car like it’s an alligator!

Marcus Armstrong on the experience of driving in IndyCar

“It’s something I’m used to. If I’m honest, actually the only time I’ve ever driven a car with power steering is when I did an F1 test, a couple of one-off days in a GT car. I’m well accustomed to not having power steering.”

A good advocate

Moreover, the enthusiasm of Lundgaard and Ilott about racing in American open-wheel seems to have rubbed off on Armstrong as he weighed his opportunities this past off-season.

“Everybody seems to say the same thing,” Armstrong told the media session. “They love it. Christian was very vocal about it actually when he first did his race. We hadn’t finished our F2 season when he did his first race in 2021, I think it was. He was raving about it, wouldn’t stop talking about it. He was a really good advocate for the championship.”

Lundgaard F2 ART 2020
Christian Lundgaard was Armstrong’s teammate in 2020 | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Armstrong’s good friend Ilott has been another cheerleader for IndyCar. “He loves it as well,” he added. “He’s enjoying the competition side, and I can see why. Results orientated, performance orientated. Sometimes those lines are blurred overseas. I can understand why they like it.”

Learning from the best

Another upside for the 22-year-old Kiwi is that he now has the opportunity to learn the IndyCar ropes from arguably the best driver possible. In joining Chip Ganassi Racing, he becomes teammates with his legendary countryman, six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

It’s cool because IndyCar is massive where I’m from because of him

Marcus Armstrong on partnering with New Zealand legend Scott Dixon

“I’ve been watching him on TV since I was a kid, so… literally a kid,” Armstrong smiled. “It’s cool because IndyCar is massive where I’m from because of him, I think. I’ve always been so attracted to this championship. Of course, I spent my entire life chasing F1. You can never say never. If I’m honest with you, I’m happy where I am now. It’s a dream come true.”

Header image credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd


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