SEBRING, Fla. -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk donned a headset and joined team owner Dale Coyne on the pit stand to watch his son, Arie Luyendyk Jr., get acquainted quickly with the nuances of the IndyCar and the Sebring International Raceway short course.
"It's important for him to come out here and show what he can do," said Luyendyk, an INDYCAR driver coach and race steward.
The younger Luyendyk, 32, a former Firestone Indy Lights competitor, is intent on competing in the 2014 IndyCar Series season.
“I would have done it a lot sooner, but economically it was tough for a few years to raise the funds to go racing,” he said. “But now I feel like I’m in a situation where I’m very marketable and I’ve always wanted to be back in an IndyCar. The goal is to run next year, hopefully a full schedule if we can find the partners, and if not I would love to be back for the Indy road course race and the ‘500.’
“I’ve never lost the passion for IndyCars. I’ve always stayed close to INDYCAR, driving the two-seater or being in the TV booth. When I went to Indy this year I mentally told myself I’d be back the following year. This is a good first step.”
Luyendyk began racing in go-karts in 1992 and has competed in various series from Formula Ford to USF2000 and the A1GP. He finished second, third and fourth in the Firestone Indy Lights championship. The test was his first time in an IndyCar on a road course. He logged 138 laps on the 1.65-mile course.
“It’s my first opportunity with carbon brakes and paddle shifting since I did A1GP so there’s a lot to get used to because the last time I was in an open-wheel car was 2010,” he said. “Physically, it’s a lot tougher than I accounted for, but I’m learning every lap, the crew has given me a great car and it’s a great start to a relationship.”