Interview with Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist

Interview with Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist

23 January - 11:11

I'm pleased to welcome 2022 Indy Lights Champion Linus Lundqvist to you our GPBlog readers. Linus, after coming off a fantastic season, was happy to have a chat with us about his season, his introduction to what we love, racing and what he likes to do to unwind.

- What is your earliest memory of motorsport?

My earliest memory of motorsport was before I ventured into go-karting and stuff like that. I was probably about 4 and my dad had a farm, and my stepsister had an MX bike that she rode and I got to ride on the back of it. When I was 6 I started playing go-karts and that's when my interest really started. That was the same year I started watching F1. It was 2007 which was Hamilton's rookie year. Ever since then I've always been a Hamilton fan because he raised a few eyebrows in his first year and then my interest slowly grew. After that I started racing go-karts at national level to begin with. Pretty soon I started to realise the joy of winning. Motorsport for me was a way for me to achieve the feeling of winning and competing, so some 17 years later here we are.

- You have competed in many different countries and with different cars. Is there anyone you have competed with in different formulas over the years? Like Rivals?

You always have a couple of rivals. It's different year by year. A lot of the people I raced in the first or second year I haven't met since because my path wasn't linear. But I had a couple of rivals when I was in Formula 4 in the UK and then I drove British F3 the following year which was a natural progression, so I had a couple of rivals then. Also here in the US. I've been here for 3 years already so you're getting your rivals up, which is also funny because I think that was one of the big differences I noticed when I went from Europe to the US. Over here you can be rivals on the track and you can cut it off the track. You can still be friends and hang out even though you might have had an incident or a crash together on the track, it doesn't really matter that much. Which is nice because in Europe it's a bit more competitive in the sense where you can't really separate the two.

- Of all the series you've competed in, which was the hardest to adapt to?

The hardest to adapt to I would say was the Indy Lights the lights car because it was so unlike anything I've ever driven before every other single seater, you kind of drive it I wouldn't say under the limit but you just know to the extreme because you can't really afford to scrub your tires that much and it usually had more downforce than it had power so like say the formula three car both the British F3 and then the euro formula and the euro formula is probably the nicest car I've ever driven, it's so well balanced that they have three but I think it was a bit different because this one has more power than it has downforce and it's a car that you really have to attack and get comfortable with a bit of a monitor and you can really afford to drive under the limit at any time because you're losing far too much time so it's going to be uncomfortable all the time and you have to be comfortable with it being uncomfortable and that took a while to get used to and just make sure you're running all the time, it's very easy for me to get back to what I was doing before, which was very successful you know it's like I've won several races and championships in the past but going into the light you just have to know that I had to bring out that little extra attack in myself and I had to remind myself to keep doing it so yeah, I would say that the big part was definitely the hardest part.

- So, your last season threw you some curveballs like a puncture during qualifying and still finishing pole or a wet to dry race winning. Do you think your previous experience with different formulas helped you achieve success throughout the season?

Every bit of experience is always good. The more you have, the better it gets. Everyone was pretty much in the same boat, though. What I had going for me as well was that I was the highest returning driver to the championship. I did the year before where we finished third which was great. I got a couple of wins, but we didn't really have the consistency to really take on a championship challenge, so when we went back our goal was. We knew that on our day we would win a couple of races. We wanted to control our lows and make sure that you know on a bad day we're 4th and 5th instead of 10th and I think at the end of the day I think that's what won us the championship. It was never easy like you said it wasn't. It wasn't easy, we had a few problems along the way but I'm very proud and happy with the year that both myself and the team had. We showed that we were fast and we could win no matter what track, what circumstances what street tracks, road tracks, ovals whatever it may be. So yes, I think we showed that we deserved to win.

- What is your favourite song?

Detroit and Nashville are my favorite songs. I love street tracks so anything you can tighten and twist and short narrow will be up there. Detroit is partly because of the results. and I've done 4 ever in my life so two of them are on the top two list.

- Is there any track you want on the calendar that isn't on there yet?

I would love to race in Macau. You have the F3s going there so you know my dream scenario is if Lights went there. I'm not sure if IndyCar goes there because I think the cars might be a bit too big for Macau but Lights would be a perfect scenario.

- The road to the top of motorsports is never that easy. Especially in a place like a big country sometimes you don't get noticed do you think there is something that can be done to make it more accessible or something like that, for example I was thinking in the sense that like they'll both go up 10 kids on the street like what sport would you like to be a part of, many of them would say other sports to motorsports. What do you think can be done to change that?

I think one thing that's helped over the last few years, and you've probably noticed is that just like the availability and like the promotional value of motorsports like say the impetus to survive series. on Netflix. I think that's helped tremendously because for the first time in forever my friends have actually tuned me in because they know I have. You know I'm into motorsports. I'm a race car driver but they've never really had an interest over or more than you know taking an interest in me, but for the first time ever they turned around and it started asking me questions about F1 and what about motorsport in general, so I just think about bringing up awareness generally. Things like that are key.

Secondly, I think we need results, I think that's one thing, but what made Finland so good and why they had so many good drivers is that they always had someone in this series and F1 who won championships or fought for wins etc. and that just keeps interests for whatever genre it is in the country no matter what sport it is. As soon as you have someone good, it brings awareness and attention to it and people catch on and find it interesting. Then younger kids start doing it, so I think if you combine those two you'll have a pretty good recipe for success. I think for sure motorsport is so hard because you need a lot of money just to get started. In go-karting it's like that and if you want to compete in karting at a high level it's expensive and then to take a step to run single-seaters or any kind of GT racing you have to focus so much of your attention on sponsorship and unless you have a very rich family and so it's super hard to even be able to take the next step and that's where I feel a lot of people just fall out, you know it's not even a reality to start with but then take the step from karting to cars that that's huge.

- What hobbies do you have outside of racing?

I've been doing martial arts for almost 10 years now off and on. I've kickboxed Thai boxing and taekwondo. The kind of training it is and doing some sparring is the side of it that I enjoy. Other than that, I enjoy reading, hiking and that's something I have time to do outside of racing. A lot of it is the driving side, but more so with stuff outside of driving like the business side is where I spend most of my time actually, but I try to find time to do other things as well.

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