Felix Rosenqvist has achieved success everywhere he has raced. The 25-year-old Swede would like to add the Verizon IndyCar Series to that list.
For the second straight year, Rosenqvist tested an Indy car with Chip Ganassi Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Sharing the car again with Scott Dixon on Thursday, Rosenqvist turned valuable laps and provided essential feedback as Dixon prepares to defend his three-point championship lead in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 30.
INDYCAR grants teams an extra test day to evaluate current Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires drivers – defined in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Rule Book as drivers who have competed in the current or previous Indy Lights season. Rosenqvist turned heads in 2016 when he won three Indy Lights street-course races in an abbreviated 10-race schedule.
Rosenqvist shared Dixon’s car at Mid-Ohio a year ago and was eager to climb into the No. 9 NTT Data Honda on Thursday. By rule, Dixon could run no more laps than Rosenqvist over the course of the day on the 2.258-mile permanent road circuit in Lexington, Ohio. Rosenqvist is hopeful the test could lead to more; he just doesn’t know when.
“After my year last year in Indy Lights, I told myself that I would probably come back here someday to drive,” Rosenqvist said. “When that day comes, it’s at the moment unsure, but it’s definitely one of those championships that you want to drive as a professional race car driver. Hopefully one day.”
Rosenqvist won the 2015 European Formula 3 championship for Prema Powerteam with 13 wins and 24 podiums in 33 races. He is also a two-time winner of the prestigious Macau Grand Prix and Masters of Formula 3.
In addition to competing in Indy Lights last year with Belardi Auto Racing, the Swede drove in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, teaming with former Verizon IndyCar Series driver Tristan Vautier for one win. They also finished second in the 24 Hours of Spa, losing by less than two minutes despite serving a five-minute stop-and-hold penalty during the event.
Rosenqvist joined Formula E competition for the 2016-17 season with Mahindra Racing, collecting his first win last month at Berlin. He also finished runner-up in the second Berlin race and equaled that result July 16 when the series raced in Brooklyn, New York.
In addition to driving in Formula E, Rosenqvist is competing this year in Super Formula, Japan’s top open-wheel series, and Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia, where he won from pole in both races he’s driven.
“He’s a huge talent,” said Dixon, the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion shown at right. “Right now, I think he’s got a lot of options, whether it’s Formula E or racing in Japan or throughout Europe. Hopefully he can make it to the (Verizon) IndyCar Series at some point.”
Maybe, but for now, Rosenqvist was just savoring the chance to test again with a top-notch team.
“Whenever you get an opportunity to test with a team like Chip Ganassi, it’s obviously something you want to do,” he said. “It’s a good chance to learn something as well, especially when you’re testing with Scott. To be there and just see how it goes and how the communication is between him and the team is something that always can benefit you as a driver. In that sense, it’s been really useful for me to be here.”
Rosenqvist added that the tenor of this year’s test was different from a year ago. This time, he felt more like a contributor to the team’s efforts toward success in the Honda Indy 200 as opposed to being under the spotlight in 2016.
“I think we had a really good test last year where it was probably more easy to evaluate my performance because there were more cars on track and so on – and it went really well,” Rosenqvist said. “This year they entrusted me to do the test with Scott to get the free test day that the team gets.
“I think it was probably more for the preparation of the Mid-Ohio race. What I wanted to do was to prepare physically to drive, which I think I was, and just give good data, good feedback and constant lap times. Yeah, I think it worked really good.”
Verizon IndyCar Series track activity for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio begins with a pair of practices on July 28, at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. ET, with a third practice set for 9:55 a.m. July 29. All practice sessions will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Qualifying, consisting of three knockout rounds concluding with the Firestone Fast Six, airs live at 2 p.m. July 29 on NBCSN. Live race coverage starts at 3 p.m. July 30 on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with NBCSN airing an encore telecast at 7 p.m.
Ticket information for the race weekend is available at midohio.com.
For more information about Honda Racing, visit http://hpd.honda.com/.