An interview with Christian Rassmussen

Interview by Tom Evans, Edited by William Stephens

Credit: Gavin Baker photography

1 - TE: After multiple successful years in Karting, coming in the top 3 of multiple championships, you decided to compete in Formula Ford Denmark. Straight away you were on the pace, finishing in front of some credible drivers like Frederick Vesti, with 5 wins and 15 podiums by year's end. Did you expect pace like this right out of the gate considering it was your first year in cars?


CR: I’ve always believed very much in my own ability, that being said I have also always believed that you need to be ready for the level you are competing at. After I won the Danish and Northern European championship in karting in 2015, we felt like it would be more beneficial to go into open wheel racing instead of continuing in karting. You never really know how competitive you are going to be when you join a new series. To say that we were expecting us to be that competitive right from the first weekend would be a lie.


2 - TE: Then in 2017, you decided to move into Formula 4 Denmark. These cars are much faster, with much more aerodynamics than formula ford cars since they have front, rear wing and slick tyres. Was it difficult to adapt to this new style of racing?


CR: I think I adapted fairly well to the F4 car. On the small Danish tracks, because the F4 car really couldn’t take advantage of the downforce, lap times compared to the Ford were very similar. I joined Magnussen Racing Experience who hired great mentors, and I really learned a lot that year. Even though we “only” got 3rd in the championship it was still a really good season when it comes to development.


3 - TE: The following year you moved to the United States to compete in Formula Four US. How was the move to a completely different environment and country, and was the dynamic of racing any different?


CR: It was a pretty crazy experience for a 17 year old kid to go to the other side of the world to go race. Even though my parents were with me a few times, I also had a lot of time in the country by myself. But when the racing is going well, it makes everything easier. I remember my first ever race weekend in the US, I won 2 out of 3 races and set a new lap record. The next weekend I set another lap record and I believe both of them stand till this day.


4 - TE: Then you moved to the Cooper Tires USF2000 championship for the next 2 years. What was the main draw/influence to moving to a championship like this?


CR: Having raced in the US for a year you start to pick up more about where you need to be to succeed within open wheel racing in the US. The Road To Indy is a truly great platform with great people behind it. It gives young drivers like myself the chance to advance from the lower open wheel categories into the higher and all the way into the top level through the scholarships who are available to the winners. So when Jay Howard suggested running USF2000 with him, we didn't think twice about it.


5 - TE: You won the championship in your second year, with an array of pole positions and wins. Was there a particular reason that you stayed in the championship for a second year despite having a very successful first?


CR: I was in a position in my career where we couldn't afford to advance into Indy Pro 2000. We thought we would be in a good position to win the championship if we came back. And that's what we did. Because of that I would get the $300k+ to take with me into Indy Pro 2000. That was really the reason I got the opportunity to move on to the next level.


6 - TE: In 2021 you won the Indy Pro 2000 championship in your first year, with an incredible display of talent over the year. How great was it to have finally won a major championship after your time in cars, and then do it again in Indy pro?


CR: It was awesome to back my USF2000 title up with another championship win in 2021. Mostly because that would mean that I could take my career another step further towards the goal of getting into the IndyCar Series. I have been very fortunate to have met the people that I have during my years in the Road To Indy, including the different engineers and mechanics I have worked with. Jay Howard put together an amazing program to put me in a position to win races and championships for 2 years in a row. He is part of the reason why I am where I am today.


7 - TE: This year you are doing Indy lights with Andretti Autosport. How helpful has the incredible road to Indy package been in helping you progress to different series?


CR: It’s very simple. Without the first scholarship from USF2000, I wouldn't have been able to get into Indy Pro 2000. Same thing the year after, without the scholarship from Indy Pro 2000 I wouldn't have had the opportunity to get into Indy Lights.