Motorsport: Kiwi Marcus Armstrong knows best performances still to come after impressive start to IndyCar career

Even taking to a new way of life racing in the United States, Kiwi IndyCar driver Marcus Armstrong doesn't have to look far for a taste of home.

After making the switch from Formula Two to IndyCar at the start of the year, Armstrong, 22, is two races into his career switch, as one of five drivers for the iconic Chip Ganassi team.

The Christchurch native has also made a solid start to his time in the US. Despite only racing on the road and street courses this season, Armstrong has contested two of the opening three rounds of the championship. 

On debut at the Grand Prix of St Petersburg, Armstrong was the best-placed rookie to cross the line in 11th and followed suit in Long Beach on Monday, finishing eighth. 

Armstrong will sit out of this season's oval races - including the iconic Indy500 - but hopes to make the next step in his career as soon as he can.

Despite missing the oval race in Texas, Armstrong is 17th in the championship with 43 points.

Armstrong is one of three Kiwis on the grid this season, following the example of compatriots Scott Dixon - a six-time champion - and Scott McLaughlin, bidding for a first title, after his move from Australian Supercars. 

Should results continue the way they are, Armstrong is a shoe-in to be named this season's Rookie of the Year, emulating McLaughlin's achievement in 2021

After three seasons racing in the cutthroat world of Formula Two, Armstrong is enjoying a more relaxed approach in the US, surrounded by familiar faces. 

"Both Scotts are very accomplished," Armstrong told Newshub. "Dixon was my childhood hero and Scott McLaughlin doesn't need much of an introduction.

"Kiwis seem to bond well with this culture. It's very laid back here in America, very family oriented.

"This racing paddock is a lifestyle, not a job. I'm happy to have landed here and have my feet firmly flat in America. It's certainly where I want to be racing and challenging myself every weekend."

Armstrong isn't there just to make up the numbers. 

Marcus Armstrong's No.11 Chip Ganassi.
Marcus Armstrong's No.11 Chip Ganassi. Photo credit: Getty Images

If there was any indicator to his ability behind the wheel, Armstrong's first two races have seen him finish ahead of the likes of Pato O'Ward, Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves - twice - and even McLaughlin, all seasoned IndyCar racewinners. 

Helped by a competitive car, Armstrong knows he'll soon start ticking off podium finishes and race wins of his own.  

"There's a lot to learn, but luckily, I have a great team around me that can streamline that learning process," he said.  "I've just got to keep my head down and keep doing what I'm doing.

"I'm in a great environment, in a great team. I'm enjoying it, which is important.

"From a sporting point, the results are going to start to flow, when I get a bit more experience, and start to understand the whole rhythm of the weekend and the car a bit better, and learn everyone's personality.

"It's coming and it's exciting."