Indy Lights: 3 takeaways from the 2022 season

Lap 1 of the 2022 Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

As the IndyCar season comes to a close, the Indy Lights season ends along with it. Linus Lundqvist ended the year as champion, but there are plenty more storylines to discuss.

Not only did Linus Lundqvist come away as the champion, he did it in dominant fashion. With 5 wins and 9 podiums, the 23-year-old Swedish driver was just under 100 points clear of championship runner-up Sting Ray Robb.

Let’s break down some of the big takeaways from the 2022 Indy Lights season

1. Stacked competition

While Lundqvist ran away with the title after a sweep of Detroit, the fight for second place in the championship raged on until the final race of the season at Laguna Seca. As mentioned, Sting Ray Robb grabbed the runner-up spot for Andretti Autosport, with teammates Matthew Brabham and Hunter McElrea close behind in the third and fourth spots.

Benjamin Pedersen, who was recently announced for one of the open seats at Foyt, was just 40 points off of the runner-up spot in fifth, with fellow Dane Christian Rasmussen picking up a win on his way to sixth in the championship. With only 11 full-time drivers competing in the series in 2022, the level of competition is even more impressive. Look for the competition to heat up even more in 2023, with the grid possibly expanding to 20 entries.

2. IndyCar readiness

If there was just one thing to take note of from the 2022 Indy Lights season, it would be the fact that there are multiple drivers that are more than ready to make the next step to IndyCar.

Starting with Linus Lundqvist, who, as we know, dominated the Indy Lights field the past season. Lundqvist obviously has the skills to sit in a full-time IndyCar ride for 2023 but has yet to sign a deal with a team in any capacity. This may be due to financial issues within the organization of the series resulting in the champion’s scholarship being cut from its’ usual $1.2 Million to $500,000, making Lundqvist less attractive to IndyCar teams.

However, the skill doesn’t stop there. Benjamin Pedersen is locked in with A.J. Foyt Racing for next year and is the only Indy Lights driver with IndyCar plans at the time of writing. Clear arguments are there for drivers like Sting Ray Robb and Matthew Brabham in the coming years though, especially if another seat opens up at Andretti Autosport.

3. Small field, big problems

If an unfamiliar or curious fan tuned in to any Indy Lights race from the past year, it is certain that they would notice one thing above all else: The fact that at most, there were just 13 cars on the grid. While this isn’t much of a change from the last couple of seasons before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, that number is concerning to many, considering that IndyCar regularly sees 25+ drivers per race.

Another issue that Indy Lights now sees itself up against is international drivers coming and taking IndyCar seats after competing in Formula 2 or 3. Recent examples include Christian LundgaardCallum Ilott, and Tatiana Calderon, all of whom came over to compete in the IndyCar Series directly from the European feeder series.

With the recent news of F2 stud Marcus Armstrong seeking IndyCar opportunities for ’23, and Jamie Chadwick getting her feet wet in a recent Indy Lights test, the entire Road to Indy ladder is becoming more and more diverse as this article is written.

 Featured Image Credit: James Black/Penske Entertainment