Arie Luyendyk Jr. was announced as the new star of...

Arie Luyendyk Jr. was announced as the new star of ABC's "The Bachelor" on "Good Morning America," Sept. 7, 2017. Credit: ABC / Lou Rocco

Arie Luyendyk Jr., the 2012 runner-up on ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” has been named the next star of “The Bachelor.”

“Good Morning America” announced Thursday that race car driver and real estate agent Luyendyk, who turns 36 on Sept. 18, would headline season 22 of the dating competition when it premieres in January.

The call informing him “was pretty recent,” he told “GMA,” adding that he and the producers “kept in touch over the last few years but . . . the timing of this really fit for me.” He said, “I was a little skeptical just because we’ve been in talks for a few years about doing it, and so I just kind of went in with an open mind, open heart, and yeah, it just kind of hit me right now that I’m here.”

Luyendyk, namesake son of the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, came in second behind Jef Holm on “The Bachelorette” season 8, starring Emily Maynard. He told Us Weekly later that year that he subsequently had been offered “The Bachelor” but, “I passed on . . . [it] this season, just to concentrate on racing.” In 2015 Sean Lowe, who was the second runner-up in Maynard’s season, told the syndicated program “Dish Nation”: “I was campaigning for my racecar-driving buddy Arie” for that year’s season 19, and though the show’s producers wanted Luyendyk as well, he contended, new network executives felt “Bachelorette” fan-favorite Chris Soules was a safer choice.

“And so they actually told Arie he was gonna be the Bachelor,” Lowe said. “They then flew [him] down, had a camera crew, filmed him telling his family he was gonna be the next Bachelor, [and] then they pulled the rug out from underneath him and made Chris the Bachelor.”

“I’m not nervous,” Luyendyk told People magazine Thursday. “Now that I’ve had some time and distance away from it, it feels like the feeling I had before I went into it the first time. I think sometimes when you’re on ‘The Bachelorette’ and you jump right into being the Bachelor, for me it would’ve been too soon. This feels more natural. I’m not concerned what people think. I’m just focused on the outcome. I want to find my person and will do whatever it takes!”

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