This rumor is upgraded to ‘fact’ today.
Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that Marcus Armstrong will drive the No. 11 Honda in road and street course races across the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
“I’m ecstatic to be a part of the INDYCAR SERIES, but especially with Chip Ganassi Racing because it is such an iconic and successful team. I have an extraordinary opportunity in front of me to learn from people that have been performing at the absolute highest level in this sport,” said Armstrong. “As a Kiwi, I’ve always watched Scott Dixon succeed in the championship with this team, so on a personal level this is quite special for me. I am a hard worker that looks to improve every single day. With the knowledge and personnel that this team has, I’m very excited to take on this new challenge.”
“Marcus driving the No. 11 car for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2023 is exciting. As a 22-year-old, what is in common to others who have climbed into INDYCAR with CGR is that at that age he already knows how to win,” said Mike Hull, Managing Director of Chip Ganassi Racing: “That’s been repeatedly proven at the highest global level. Besides talent, the intangible that he brings creates measurement through opportunity. Bring on 2023!”
Armstrong, 22, is set to make his North American professional debut after competing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship from 2020 to 2022 where he earned four wins and eight podiums. Armstrong scored his first victory in the series in 2021 at Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia, and then registered three wins across the 2022 campaign in Italy, Austria and the Netherlands. Armstrong also served as a development driver for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team in 2021.
The Christchurch, New Zealand, native launched his racing career behind the wheel of go-karts at 10 years old. He won five go-karting national championships in New Zealand before moving to Europe in 2015 to compete on the world stage. In 2017, Armstrong made the jump to Formula 4 where he won the Italian Formula 4 championship in his first season competing in the series. Armstrong competed in Formula 3 across the 2018 and 2019 seasons, where he tallied four wins, four pole positions and 16 podiums.
Armstrong is set to meet his Chip Ganassi Racing teammates in Indianapolis next week. He will become the first driver in Chip Ganassi Racing history to pilot a No. 11 entry when he races the Streets of St. Petersburg on March 5.
Chip Ganassi Racing will share an update on the driver of the No. 11 Honda for oval races at a later date.
October 18, 2022
Marcus Armstrong tested a Ferrari F1 car, but wasn’t fast enough to make an impression on the Scuderia. So, it was time to lower his expectations.
Christchurch-born Armstrong has long called Maranello home.
Armstrong was part of the Ferrari Driver Academy from 2017 until just last year and spent much of his junior career living in Italy and racing for Prema.
In that time, he won the Italian Formula 4 Championship, was second in the German Formula 4 Championship and claimed second on debut in the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
The step-up to the FIA Formula 2 Championship came in 2020. A podium in his first race bode well for the future, but it’s been anything but easy since then. He did win a F2 Sprint race in Saudi Arabia last year.
With the end of a tough three-year tenure between three teams coming to an end, Armstrong has yet to crack the top 10 in the championship.
IndyCar could soon have another flying Kiwi on the grid, one who was long destined for the heights of Formula 1.
Marcus Armstrong may become the third full-timer from New Zealand in the North American series next year alongside Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin if all goes to plan.
It’s Dixon who has been the driving force behind Armstrong’s ambition to take on IndyCar.
“Certainly, IndyCar is the thing I want to do – there’s no secret,” Armstrong told RACER.
“I’ve always been attracted to the championship from a young age because I am a Kiwi and I’ve been watching Scott Dixon kick ass since I was about two years old.
“I’d love to come, and there’s obviously nothing official, but it’s certainly my first choice. I’m working towards it.”
Recently, he tested with Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring International Raceway, marking the first step towards a full-time drive.
“That was a lot of fun,” Armstrong said of the test.
“Coming into the day I was aware of how intense IndyCar is, and certainly the identity of an IndyCar is different to every category with how the car feels through the steering wheel and the kick-back and how hard you need to drive it.
“So I was aware of that coming into the day, and it certainly lived up to its expectations just in the sense that you do have to drive it hard.
“The weight distribution is quite a lot of different and it just seemed very powerful out of corners, and then obviously, corner entries, it’s got quite a lot of grip compared to what I’m used to.
“And it was a lot of fun because you can push hard and not suffer any consequences on a corner exit. So from my point of view, it’s a lot of fun to drive.”
As for 2023, team owner Dale Coyne said Armstrong is an attractive option for the team should it add a third car to its program.