By Breanne L. Heldman
September 07, 2017 at 08:21 AM EDT

Arie Luyendyk Jr. is the star of season 22 of The Bachelor, ABC revealed Thursday morning on Good Morning America.

The 35-year-old race car driver, who was the runner-up vying for Emily Maynard’s heart in season 8 of The Bachelorette in 2012, said he “was a little skeptical” when he got the call to be the man of many women’s dreams, but he’s been in an “ongoing conversation” with the show for years about leading a season. Still, he’s going in with “an open mind, open heart.”

If you thought you were in the dark about this announcement, so were Luyendyk Jr.’s parents. They found out with the rest of America during his appearance on GMA.

ABC's "The Bachelorette" - Season Eight
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images

“This is pretty surreal,” Luyendyk Jr. told PEOPLE. “It doesn’t really feel real yet, but I’m taking it step by step. The timing is just so perfect in my life. I could not be more excited for this journey I’m about to embark on.”

So, what’s he looking for? A woman who’s “independent, strong but then still gentle,” the “kissing bandit” told Michael Strahan on GMA.

Luyendyk says his occupation will help him on his journey when it comes to “making quick decisions.” We’ll see if that holds true when season 22 of The Bachelor premieres in January 2018.

Good Morning America

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