Marcus Armstrong completes Indy 500 rookie test

Marcus Armstrong successfully completed his Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program. Image: IndyCar

Marcus Armstrong was one of three drivers to complete the Rookie Orientation Program to become eligible for the 108th Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2024.

New Zealander Armstrong will contest the full 2024 IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing and was joined by new team-mate Linus Lundqvist in addition to Tom Blomqvist of Meyer Shank Racing.

Each of the three drivers completed the Rookie Orientation Program before the lunch break.

A necessity to contest the Indy 500, the Rookie Orientation Program consists of three speed phases gradually introducing rookie drivers to the high velocity and unique nature of the rectangular, low-bank 2.5-mile oval. The first phase is set at 205-210mph for 10 laps followed by 210-215mph for 15 and a further 15 at more than 215mph.

“I’ve enjoyed it a whole lot more than I expected,” Armstrong said.

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“I’m not saying I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but I think the intensity of it is pretty special and watching (in-car) onboards and on TV is one thing, but actually feeling how the car moves and how the wind affects you and the tiny details of this place – and Texas – has kind of given me so much enjoyment.”

All three drivers also took the opportunity to complete further testing in the afternoon for a combined 285 laps for the day.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lundqvist said.

“With the speeds that you’re going, it feels so fast. With the history and legacy around this place, it just feels magical. Even though the grandstands are empty, I can only imagine what it will feel like when they’re full. Even now it’s very, very special.”

Armstrong and Blomqvist are aiming to make their IndyCar oval debuts at the 108th Indianapolis 500, with the former contesting 12 road and street course rounds this year as the New Zealander scored Rookie of the Year. Blomqvist made three road and street starts as a substitute this season, while Lundqvist did likewise where he made his oval debut at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Next up to complete his Rookie Orientation Program will be motorsport all-rounder Kyle Larson, who is set to be the next driver to contest ‘double duty’ on Memorial Day by racing the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 following the likes of Tony Stewart.

More testing will take place for IndyCar’s hybrid 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine as well as a variety of drivers including Will Power are set to sample the package.

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