Ex-Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen will make his IndyCar debut at Road America this weekend, standing in for Felix Rosenqvist at the Arrow McLaren SP team.
Roseqnvist suffered a heavy crash in the first race of last weekend’s Detroit double-header after the throttle opened on his car and sent him into the tyre barrier.
He had an overnight stay in hospital as a result and though he suffered “no loss of sensation anywhere” and “no loss of function”, and was in good spirits after being released, he is not sufficiently recovered to race again this weekend.
Arrow McLaren SP has drafted in IMSA SportsCar Championship driver Magnussen, scored his first IMSA win in Detroit last weekend, for Road America.
He has been released by Chip Ganassi Racing “on a temporary basis” to drive for Arrow McLaren SP.
Magnussen has expressed an interest in racing full-time in IndyCar and named it as one of his options when he lost his Haas F1 seat for 2021.
The opportunity to replace Rosenqvist reunites Magnussen with McLaren, who he made his F1 debut with in 2014 after years as a protege in junior categories.
Magnussen was dropped by McLaren after just one season and though he remained as a reserve driver for 2015 he then cut ties with the team completely.
Rosenqvist “will continue to be supported by the team” during his recovery, says Arrow McLaren SP, and further updates about his conditions “will be shared in due course”.
Magnussen will be the second different driver to deputise for Rosenqvist in as many races.
Ex-Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar driver Oliver Askew, who is substituting for Rinus VeeKay at Ed Carpenter Racing at Road America this weekend, stood in for the Swede in the second Detroit race.
Magnussen’s F1 career ended last season with a difficult fourth and final year at the struggling Haas team – his IndyCar move will reunite him with his long-time Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean, who races in the US with Dale Coyne’s team.
He secured the Ganassi/Cadillac drive for the 2021 IMSA series and has also been named one of the drivers for Peugeot’s Le Mans 24 Hours return when its new World Endurance Championship campaign begins next year.
Magnussen will also race at Le Mans this season alongside his father Jan in the LMP2 category.
Making my @IndyCar debut this weekend in the @ArrowMcLarenSP! Standing in for @FRosenqvist while he recovers from his crash last week. Big challenge to go straight into a race having never driven an Indycar before but I couldn’t say no to the opportunity 🤩 Get well soon Felix 🙏🏻
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) June 16, 2021
THE LAST TIME A MAGNUSSEN WAS AN INDYCAR STAND-IN
Magnussen’s stand-in call-up has parallels with his father Jan’s CART Indycar World Series cameo in 1996.
As part of the Mercedes family at that point through his DTM/ITC touring car drive and McLaren Formula 1 test/reserve role, Magnussen was invited to America when both Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi were injured at Michigan, Fittipaldi’s crash ending his career.
Magnussen drove for Penske in the Mid-Ohio round before moving across to the affiliated Hogan team to take Fittipaldi’s place for the remaining races at Road America, Vancouver and Laguna Seca.
With Penske and its self-designed chassis, Mercedes engine and Goodyear tyres package sliding off the pace in the latter part of that season, Magnussen had little chance to impress.
But at Road America, he qualified a superb 10th on his first appearance at the daunting track and was fastest in the race day warm-up. Sadly, he was then taken out on lap one.
Eighth at Laguna, eight places ahead of Penske’s title contender Al Unser Jr, ended up being his best result.
He reappeared in the series in the second half of 1999 at Patrick Racing when it first dropped PJ Jones and then lead driver Adrian Fernandez was injured, but struggled to make an impact and ended up committing fully to sportscars for his post-F1 career.