Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingPre-Race Notes
GMR Grand Prix – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Round 5 of 17 in the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES
DATE: Friday – Saturday, May 13-14, 2022
PRACTICE BROADCAST: Live on Peacock Premium on Friday from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 – 1:45 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 – 11 a.m. Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis). All times Eastern.
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Live on Peacock Premium, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. ET Friday.
RACE BROADCAST: Live on NBC on Saturday, May 14 from 3 – 6 p.m. ET. And also on Peacock Premium, IRN and Sirius XM 160.
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course
RACE LENGTH: 85 laps / 207.35 miles
2021 WINNER: Rinus Veekay (May 15) / Will Power (August 14)
2021 POLESITTER: Romain Grosjean (126.447 mph; May 14) / Pato O’Ward (124.167 mph)
RLL TOP START / FINISH AT IMS (ROAD): 4th by Rahal in 2020 / 2nd by Rahal in 2015 and 2020; 11 events
RAHAL’S BEST START / FINISH AT IMS (ROAD): 4th in 2020 / 2nd in 2015 and 2020; 11 events
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH: 3 poles – Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit Race 1 (street) 2017 / 6 wins – 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana & Mid-Ohio 2015, Texas 2016, Detroit Race 1 & Race 2 2017
LUNDGAARD’S BEST START / FINISH AT IMS (ROAD): 4th in Aug. 2021 / 12th in 2021; 1 event
LUNDGAARD’S BEST SERIES START / FINISH: 4th / 12th – both at his debut at IMS road course
HARVEY’S BEST START / FINISH AT IMS (ROAD): 2nd in July 2020 / 3rd in 2019; 6 events
HARVEY’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH: 2nd – Indy GP & Road America (2020), St. Pete 2021 / 3rd at the Indy GP (2019)
NEWS & NOTES:
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING & THE IMS ROAD COURSE
The GMR Grand Prix will mark the team’s 12th NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on the 2.439-mile road course. The team’s highest finish is second by Graham Rahal in 2015 and 2020 and he also brought RLL their highest start of fourth in July 2020. In addition to Rahal (2014-2021), other drivers that have competed for the team here include Takuma Sato (2018-2021), Spencer Pigot (2016, 2020), and Oriol Servia (2014). RLL has entered the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda for Graham Rahal, the No. 30 Shield Cleansers Honda for Christian Lundgaard and the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda for Jack Harvey.
RAHAL AIMS FOR ANOTHER PODIUM AT IMS AFTER STRONG RUNS IN 2021
After a second-place finish on the road course at IMS in 2015 and 2020, Graham hopes to build on the knowledge gained from fifth and seventh-place finishes on the IMS road course in 2021 in May and August and finish on the top step of the podium.
“We’re ready to go in the GMR Grand Prix. There was clearly a lot of frustration at Barber. Obviously, everything with Grosjean, we just have to move forward. We’re excited for the opportunity we have here at the Indy Grand Prix. We’ll be back in the Fifth Third Bank car and hopefully get another great result in May. My first race on the Grand Prix track at Indianapolis was in Formula BMW. I quickly came back a couple of years later and raced Indy Lights there on a one-off with the Formula 1 weekend, which was pretty cool. And obviously, I’ve been racing INDYCAR there for many years. I’ve had a lot of success at the GMR Grand Prix. I haven’t won the thing yet, but I finished up front a couple of times, finished second. Clearly, we’d like to get a win. Last year I finished fifth in Race 1 and seventh in Race 2. Overall, we’ve been very competitive, overall had two really good results but we have high hopes. Every time we go to the GMR Grand Prix as a team we expect to be up front. With Jack, with Christian, with myself you have three guys that have been very good at that track. Jack in particular has always qualified right up front there. He’s always had a very fast race car so we are going to lean on him too to try and improve our baseline and make us a bit more competitive.”
CHRISTIAN RETURNS TO AN INDYCAR COURSE FOR THE FIRST TIME
While an FIA Formula 2 driver, Christian Lundgaard, 20, made his INDYCAR debut with the team at the August 14 Grand Prix at IMS. The Danish driver tested an Indy car for the first time with the team at Barber Motorsports Park on July 26 and had plenty of new elements to adjust to during a compressed, two-day event schedule but surprised many when he qualified fourth for the race. He is looking forward to returning to an INDYCAR track he has competed on before for the first time since he joined the series fulltime this season.
“I think coming back to Indy road course, which I raced on last year, is only a positive because we were very competitive at the race last year so that itself is a positive. I come in with no pressure, we didn’t have the performance so far this year that we wanted to, but we know we have a good baseline from there last year which puts pressure on me especially, but I like pressure. The more pressure the better because it’s a positive thing when people expect stuff from you. The experience from last year definitely helps with this year.
“My perspective on the approach from 2021 last year at IMS road course was to come in and enjoy, have fun, and gain experience. Most importantly have fun, because that was my initial thought leaving Denmark before coming over here. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the same this year. We know we have a good baseline from that race last year so when we come in this weekend we have a better starting point, and obviously it’s a good thing to have the experience from last year.
“I think the experience from last year is going to help us start in the best possible position. I think I was P7 in practice last year before heading into qualifying. I’m hoping this year to make it P1 in all sessions, make a grand slam or something like this. But the experience from last year helped us for this season to come in with a better starting baseline.”
JACK RETURNS TO THE SITE OF HIS HIGHEST SERIES START & FINISH
The 2022 GMR Grand Prix will mark the seventh INDYCAR Series race on the road course and 11th overall including four Indy Lights races from 2014-2015. His highest series start is second place and he has accomplished the feat three times, including here (2020 – IMS road course, Road America Race 2; 2021 – St. Pete). The IMS road course is also the site of his highest series finish of third place in 2019. He has three top-three series starts on the IMS road course, which is a personal best of any track on the schedule. In Indy Lights, he competed in four races on the IMS road course and has two poles and two wins, three top-three starts, and three top-two finishes. Last year in the two IMS road course races, he started third and finished 23rd in May and started seventh and finished sixth in August. He is looking forward to a opportunity to improve upon his best series start and finish and get the Month of May at IMS off to a good start.
“The Indy GP is always a track I’ve gone really well at. I’ve always just really enjoyed driving the road course at IMS. Why does it suit me? I don’t want to give that away, I feel like I really understand what that track requires from the team, what it requires from the driving side of things. From the moment I did my first laps at IMS on the road course it’s just really suited me pretty well, and I’ve had a lot of good success there so far but also we haven’t won yet and that is going to be the goal this coming weekend.
“Indy has been probably my most successful track so far, it’s this place where my first INDYCAR podium came. I’m equal to my best start in P2. I think just the momentum that as a team we were able to create from Barber was really great, and hopefully that’s going to just lead into a successful Month of May. I think heading away from Barber and coming towards Indy we were pretty clear on what we want to improve on. This is where I hope in a weeks time we look back at these videos and go – oh it was my best career finish, there’s been a 3rd but now we’ve done better than that. Really excited to get back on track there again, I just always love driving the circuit, I think it’s one that has been traditionally good for me, obviously everyone saw how good Christian was there, and I’ve also had some great battles with Graham at the GP so honestly at this point just looking for a really successful weekend.
“Obviously, it goes without saying, a good GP can lead into what is hopefully the start of a fantastic Month of May. Ultimately, we will take everything as it comes. It’s not my first rodeo, I’ve done a few of these now and I understand the eb and flow of the month and how things can go. But ultimately, I just want to keep a level head no matter what is happening, and just keep chipping away day by day and keep working at it. Really excited for everybody at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, but also really excited for the #45 Hy-Vee Honda and what I think we can achieve this month.”
THE POINT STANDINGS
Graham Rahal is ranked 10th in NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings with 84, Christian Lundgaard is 15th with 57 and Jack Harvey is 22nd with 44.