The Kissing Bandit Is in the Building! See Arie Luyendyk Jr. on His First Night Filming 'The Bachelor'

Luyendyk Jr.'s season of The Bachelor premieres on ABC in 2018

Arie Luyendyk Jr. has officially clocked in.

Wednesday marked the first day of filming on the upcoming season of The Bachelor, and Luyendyk Jr. — a 35-year-old professional auto racing driver who was the runner-up on Emily Maynard‘s season of The Bachelorette in 2012 — handed out his very first roses.

Per tradition, franchise creator Mike Fleiss teased a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the evening, sharing a photo of Luyendyk Jr. on his first night in the mansion.

“Night One!!!” he tweeted. “Guess who’s back? Back again. Arie’s back. Tell a friend. #TheBachelor #JanuArie.”

In a follow-up tweet, Fleiss announced that this season boasts a “fantastic group of women.”

“@ariejr has got some tough choices to make tonite [sic],” he added.

RELATED VIDEO: Peter Kraus Is ‘Disappointed’ He’s Not the New Bachelor, Source Says

Thus far, Bachelor Nation remains divided over the new leading man. Between outspoken ex-girlfriends and disappointed fans who were rooting for Peter Kraus to nab the role, Luyendyk Jr. has faced his fair share of backlash since the announcement — but he previously told PEOPLE that he’s “not concerned [with] what people think.”

“‘I’m just focused on the outcome,” said the reality star, who famously earned himself a “kissing bandit” reputation on Maynard’s season. “I want to find my person and will do whatever it takes!”

“Arie has thick skin and he won’t pay attention to any of that negativity,” Bachelor alum (and Luyendyk Jr.’s former flame) Courtney Robertson told PEOPLE exclusively. “And America will get on board.”

Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor premieres on ABC in 2018.

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