Benjamin Pedersen’s promotion to the NTT IndyCar Series from Indy Lights will mean a closer involvement with IndyCar for Global Racing Group, as the American Lights team seeks to follow in the footsteps of its partner HMD Motorsports.
By Jeroen Demmendaal
It was a big day for Benjamin Pedersen earlier this week, the Danish-American was announced as an IndyCar driver for 2023. Fresh off his sophomore Indy Lights season, in which he finished fifth overall and won his first Lights race, the 22-year-old will make his IndyCar debut with AJ Foyt Racing next year.
The multi-year deal for Pedersen also paves the way for Global Racing Group (GRG) to take its first steps into the NTT IndyCar Series. GRG is founded and headed by Pedersen’s father Christian, a former senior executive at Microsoft and SAP with a strong track record in global business.
With Pedersen junior, GRG finished fourth overall in the 2017 US Formula 4 championship. A year later it moved into the US Formula 3 championship (since renamed to Formula Regional Americas) and took the championship with Linus Lundqvist in 2020. In 2021 it made the move up to Indy Lights.
F1 Feeder Series has learned in recent weeks that as part of the deal that takes Benjamin Pedersen into IndyCar, GRG will be actively involved in AJ Foyt Racing at a management level as of 2023. It is expected that Christian Pedersen will leverage his wealth of experience in management, brand building and marketing to try and help the team back to its former IndyCar glory.
That mirrors the trajectory followed by HMD Motorsports in recent years. HMD, a partner of GRG in its Indy Lights programme, took a more active role in the IndyCar Series when it graduated to the highest level of American open-wheel racing with David Malukas at the start of the 2022 season.
HMD’s IndyCar partnership with Dale Coyne Racing has had a successful first year, as Malukas was the best rookie at the Indianapolis 500 and finished on the podium at Gateway. The collaboration was also formalised in HMD’s Indy Lights programme, which is now run in partnership with Coyne.
More smart people
While stopping short of confirming a formal cooperation with Global Racing Group when asked by F1 Feeder Series, AJ Foyt Racing Team President Larry Foyt did explain that GRG will be more involved with his team.
“Right now [there’s] nothing super formal I’d say in that, but obviously Global Racing has had a lot of success, and we definitely like the players in there,” Foyt said. “We talk a lot, and if we can get — we’ll certainly be working together from a high point of view I guess you would say, because I always think the more smart people you can have in the room, the better you’re going to be. So certainly from that aspect, there will be collaboration on that side.”
Foyt added that the successful HMD-Coyne model of collaboration in IndyCar and Indy Lights might indeed be one to emulate going forward for his team and the GRG organisation.
“You’re exactly right,” he said. “You see some of us smaller teams, if we can do a collaboration that’s successful like that, it can definitely help, because as these other teams, McLaren continues to grow, and we already know the strength of the Penske and Ganassi groups. Yeah, like you say, the more smart people in the room, I always like that, and I’m really looking forward to seeing some of their input, as well.”
Header photo credit: James Black, Penske Entertainment
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