Listen up, ladies: Arie Luyendyk Jr., the dreamy former Bachelorette contestant and racecar driver, is hosting a viewing party for the season premiere of The Bachelor tonight at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, starting at 6:30 p.m. Fans will get to ask Luyendyk their long-burning questions during a 7:30 p.m. Q&A session and then watch the first episode of the new season with him at 8 p.m.
From an appearance by a former Bachelor star to one of the new contestants stepping out of a limo in a wedding dress, the upcoming season holds plenty of surprises, Luyendyk tells IM. “There are definitely a lot of twists and turns,” he says. “And I am so stoked to be hosting the premiere party because I love the atmosphere in Indy.”
Luyendyk is a friend of Sean Lowe, the new “bachelor,” and the best friend of Jef Holm, the contestant who stole Emily Maynard’s heart in the last season of The Bachelorette. Luyendyk describes his time on the latter program as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience,” reassuring fans that although he didn’t win Maynard over, he did find a good bud; his friendship with Holmes was seemingly inevitable, as the two distinguished themselves from the so-called “football team” of buff co-contestants on the show. They were more interested in music than in their athletic skills, a characteristic that made them the last two men standing.
Despite his popularity, Luyendyk admits that finding love after being on a reality series has been a challenge. “Dating is more difficult now,” says Luyendyk (who shared some of his tips for IM‘s recent Best of Indy issue). “I feel like some girls know too much about me already, just from watching the show.”
Besides, racing remains his first love. The 31-year-old IndyCar driver says he would rather be recognized for his career on the racetrack than as a Bachelor contestant, and he is tirelessly preparing for the upcoming season. “You need to want to win,” Luyendyk says of the driver mentality. “For me, it was never about the money or the fame, but that feeling I got when I was racing.”
For now, Luyendyk is focused on two things: making it back to the Indianapolis 500 and, yes, finding his “dream babe.” You might say he has a two-track mind.
6:30 p.m. $20 (advance purchase only). 4000 N. Michigan Rd. Tickets and information available at BachelorPremiere.com.