Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to receive a promotion from Indy Lights IndyCar for next season, as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed on Wednesday that he will be part of its 2023 lineup.
Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season driving the entire Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen clinched his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from pole at Portland.
Pedersen also drove four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back second places on his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague,” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.
His rise to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.
“We’re really looking forward to having Benjamin on the team,” said Larry Foyt. “His enthusiasm is contagious and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing and doing his best to win races.
“It was great to have him integrated into the team last season and everyone is looking forward to hitting the ground running at the start of testing. It’s also great to have a multi-year program that will help him and the team grow together.”
Foyt did not name a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14, but Kirkwood is making the switch to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season and a third car for Tatiana Calderon has been withdrawn from competition after seven races for non-payment of sponsorship. Close Calderon’s team removes the only semi-regular driver from the IndyCar area.
However, Pedersen was signed an agreement that Foyt says will “spanning multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned with a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”
Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but grew up in Seattle and currently resides in Indianapolis. He said his time accompanying the IndyCar team gave him a boost in his rookie preparations.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with AJ Foyt Racing this season learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar, and it’s been really nice to be able to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” said Pedersen. “Ever since I started open wheel racing in 2016, IndyCar has been my goal. The race, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks etc. are all great.”