until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


The next four breakthrough IndyCar wins that need to happen

by Jack Benyon
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

In Toronto last weekend, Christian Lundgaard became the second driver to tick off a maiden IndyCar win this year, with Kyle Kirkwood having done so earlier at Long Beach.

That got us thinking – who’s next?

The Race has done this before. Just after Scott McLaughlin’s breakthrough in 2022 we predicted the next four drivers we thought could or should take a first victory next.

Lundgaard was among them. We won’t mention the fact that two of our other picks aren’t even in the series full-time anymore…

Anyway, we’ll try this again, with a twist. Rather than picking who is the most likely to take a maiden win, we’ve asked who needs a ‘first’ win most. We’ve taken some liberties with the definition of ‘first’ in an IndyCar context, but hopefully you’ll forgive us and enjoy the ride.

Marcus Ericsson (on a road course)

Marcusericsson Hondaindy200atmid Ohio By Travishinkle Largeimagewithoutwatermark M85721

Yes, I know, Ericsson is a four-time race winner including an Indianapolis 500 and there are people that you may think need a win more than him, but hear us out.

All of Ericsson’s wins have come on ovals and street courses, and despite his career background, he’s yet to win on an IndyCar road course.

If he wants to win the championship this year it’s reasonable to expect he needs another two wins as he trails Ganassi team-mate Alex Palou by 142 points.

And with three of the seven races remaining being on a road course, it would certainly make his title challenge easier if he can get one over the line.

Felix Rosenqvist (for McLaren)

2023 Honda Indy 200

Yes, Rosenqvist is also a past winner like his fellow Swede. But with McLaren looking ever likely to a) get Alex Palou and b) not expand its number of cars, Rosenqvist is likely to be the casualty in its current line-up.

There are lots of teams looking for a driver and there are lots of drivers looking for teams, so a first McLaren win might help elevate the position Rosenqvist finds himself in bargaining for next year.

And fans of his may have been interested to hear his take on where he is at heading into the last seven races.

“I think there’s probably no chance for us to win the championship,” he said in Toronto.

“I’m mentally more in a head space where I want to, if I can, go for a win. I’ll try all in, and I think a lot of us are in the same position because Alex is just taking off in the standings.”

Romain Grosjean

Romaingrosjean Chevroletdetroitgrandprixpresentedbylear By Jamesblack Largeimagewithoutwatermark M84382

The top 12 in the IndyCar standings are race winners, so Grosjean is the first one outside of that bracket.

And for all of the criticism he gets for his attitude and mistakes, he fundamentally should have won a couple of IndyCar races by now and it’s a bit ridiculous he hasn’t.

Lots of his lost opportunities were out of his control, and in his defence the super-highly-rated Colton Herta has been in a similar situation this year although Herta has made fewer errors generally.

But Kirkwood is the only Andretti Autosport driver to get a victory in 2023, even though Herta and Grosjean have both had two poles this season.

With every passing day Grosjean isn’t announced at Andretti for 2024, pressure mounts from the outside. The perfect way to shut out that noise and put his future in a safer position would be to win.

He’s been really strong at Gateway and Laguna Seca in the past, so there are some obvious places he can do well among the remaining rounds.

Callum Ilott

2023 Honda Indy 200

Ilott would have no business winning an IndyCar race given he drives for Juncos Hollinger Racing, which is always improving but isn’t quite ready to challenge up there yet.

But Ilott is every bit as good as Lundgaard and while recent races haven’t shown that in terms of the results on paper, he’s constantly delivering performances above what the team is capable of and impressing people within the paddock.

He’s earned the chance to drive for one of the top teams next year, and whether he gets that chance or not, he’s been impressive.

A win, if he could somehow miraculously pull it out of a hat, would cement the fact he deserves a top seat.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks