There will be a different version of Rasmus Lindh on the grid in INDY NXT by Firestone for 2023.
Lindh, 21, is finally back on the full-time path to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES after enduring a roller coaster last few years. He will drive the No. 10 entry for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing next season.
At one time, Lindh was the rising star ascending the development ladder. He finished championship runner-up in successive campaigns (2018, 2019) in USF2000 and USF Pro 2000. The Swede was set to race for the now-defunct Belardi Auto Racing for the 2020 INDY NXT season, but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic saw the season canceled, sponsorship backing quickly fell apart, and the opportunity quickly washed away.
“It was very difficult for everybody,” Lindh said. “The thing that happened with me was I signed with Belardi for 2020, we were fastest in every test that I did in NXT. Also, the 2019 season was very strong (finished two points behind Kyle Kirkwood for the USF Pro 2000 title). So, I lost the sponsor that I had through COVID. it was very difficult to recover from that.”
Lindh was forced to alter his route and compete in sports cars, primarily in the LMP3 prototype class with Performance Tech Motorsports in IMSA.
“It's just been very difficult to kind of get back with all the sponsors and all that stuff for this year,” Lindh said. “We've been working hard on that. So, it has just been a very emotional journey since 2020 for me.”
There was a glimmer of hope as he found his way on the grid for the final six races of the 2021 INDY NXT season, reuniting with team owner Ricardo Juncos for the first time since 2019. Lindh scored top-10 results in every race, with a best of fifth in the opening race of the doubleheader weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“Yeah, I think I learned a lot through sports cars to mature a little bit faster like you need in this sport,” Lindh said. “When I came back with Ricardo in 2021, I did not drive the NXT car for one and a half years … the speed is always there. It is just getting the whole season together. I feel like through from COVID to now, I've matured a lot faster than I would have expected.”
A full-time return for 2023 helps minimize the pain of not racing in 2022 in the top development category for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. While the journey has been anything but smooth, Lindh credits fellow Swede and driver-turned-manager Stefan Johansson in helping continue his racing career.
The two first met in 2009, which saw Lindh best Johansson, winner of the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12-time podium finisher in Formula One, in a racing video game at a car show in Sweden.
“He’s been helping me a little bit on and off really since then,” Lindh said. “But four years ago now, we started it officially to be the manager for me. He has been helping me. Through all the USF days, 2019 also through Covid, he helped with the sports cars to get something to drive, also with all the sponsorship. I cannot thank him enough. I mean, I could not do it without him.”