Tag Archives: Sebastien Bourdais

INDYCAR SERIES

FLORIDA FRESH. FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG.

BOURDAIS AND COYNE RACING ARE HOT ON A COOL BREEZY DAY.

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series got off to a great start with the opening round won by Sébastien Bourdais over French countryman and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud. Scott Dixon was third, the Kiwi still not successful here after 13 attempts.

Penske-star Will Power started from his seventh St. Pete pole position, next to him was Dixon, the Ganassi team now powered by Honda. Josef Newgarden, the man from Tennessee, qualified on the second row in his first drive for Penske. Sato-san was fifth, having jumped from Foyt’s stable to Andretti Autosports.

Setback & Comeback

Sébastien Bourdais crashed his Coyne operated car in qualifying and was relegated to the back of the grid. Compadre Pagenaud also did not fare well, qualifying only 14th.

Power led the first few laps before the Mayor, James Hinchcliffe, laid down the law and took the lead. This was just the beginning of Power’s problems; a puncture, running over air hose and fuel-feed issues led to his retirement.

Bourdais avoided tangle with other competitors and on lap 37 passed Pagenaud for the lead. The Penske driver started his charge in the closing stages of the race but the ex-Toro Rosso F1 racer kept his cool and gave Coyne racing team a well deserved win, a very happy reunion not only for the two and but also for the driver and crew chief Craig Hampson – the last time they worked together was in their glory days at Newman-Haas.

Behind Dixon in third, Florida native Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato completed the top five.

Victory for Le Mans-native & St. Pete-based Bourdais was 36th of his stellar career on this side of the pond and elevates him to 6th on the all time wins list.

Look back

Paul Tracy was the winner of the inaugural St. Petersburg event in 2003, then held under the CART umbrella. Helio Castro Neves is the only three-time winner of the event, 2006/7 & ‘12. And, surprisingly, Graham Rahal is the only American winner.

Penske has been the dominant team here with eight wins, but their winner from the past two years, Juan Pablo Montoya, was missing in action but will be activated by the Captain and self ‘percolated’ during the merry month of May.

American heavy weights in Indy Lights

The future of IndyCar racing is bright as two young Americans won their first race in the series in dominating fashion. The season opening race was led from start to finish from pole position by Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz. Last season he won the Pro Mazda (formerly Star Mazda) championship.

F1Weekly will feature an exclusive interview with this young talent in an upcoming podcast.

On Sunday, second generation and 16-year-old driver Colton Herta took victory after a race long duel with Santiago Urrutia, the Uruguayan driver is in his second year in the series. Colton made papa Bryan proud by becoming the youngest ever winner in Indy Lights history.

— Nasir Hameed

Photo: IndyCar.com

24 Hours at Daytona

Photo By: Rolex / Stephan Cooper
Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais wave their country flags
WINNERS REWARDED FOR WELL EXECUTED PLANS—
 

The 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona maintained tension right to the finish as a yellow flag 20 minutes from the end shrank the gap between the leading cars. In a race of attrition that saw several top teams fall by the wayside in the closing hours, the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP snatched overall victory by a mere 1.461 seconds. In the PC class, the ORECA FLM 9 of CORE autosport took the class victory, while in GTLM and GTD, it was #911 Porsche 911RSR of Porsche North America and #555 Level 5 Motorsport’s Ferrari F458 that topped the podium in their respective classes.

As their opponents licked their wounds following an intense 24 hours, the Action Express driver line up of Portuguese native Joao Barbosa, Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastian Bourdais from France celebrated. A winner ten years ago, Fittipaldi hoped his third victory would not take so long. For Bourdais, born in Le Mans, this was his first 24-hour race win: “It’s one of those big races that you just want on your résumé. The guys were prepared. Everybody knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and the execution was perfect. It’s a heck of a feeling and I couldn’t be any happier.”

Team principal Bob Johnson, celebrating his second overall win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona was quick to praise the efforts of second-placed Wayne Taylor Racing: “If we didn’t have competitors like the #10 car it wouldn’t be as much fun.” For Johnson, though, overall victory and his second car finishing third was proof of a job well done: “It sounds arrogant to say I expected to win, but I knew the resources, talent and assets we had, how hard they had worked, how well our drivers had gelled. We had run every session of every test and for the most part were the fastest. That gave me every indication we had something going here.” Joao Barbosa, member of the 2010 overall winning team, was clear too that this win did not happen overnight: “It took a lot of preparation.”

In the PC class the battle was hard fought even if the gap to the next car was over one lap. Driver Colin Braun felt the win was also down to the team’s preparation in the off-season: “We worked really hard to come up with a plan that we wanted to stick with. We came prepared and executed our plan. We were able to stay out of the pits and just stopping for tyres, gas and changing drivers.”

Porsche celebrated a 76th class win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with success in GTLM class. The margin of victory was under one second and British driver Nick Tandy seemed in shock at the post race press conference: “We were all strangers more or less when we came to the Test, but now at the end of this weekend we’re the champions. It just goes to show what a good job everybody has done within the team.”

GTD winners Level 5 staked an early claim to their class title, hitting the front in the fifth hour of the race. The team looked relatively secure until dawn this morning when the challenge of #45 Flying Lizard became a real threat. For the next six hours the two cars traded places. Over the final two laps the pair raced side-by-side, neck and neck. For Townsend Bell in his first 24-hour race it was overwhelming: “I’ve never done a 24-hour race. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a day without at least three hours sleep. I didn’t realize how much really goes into it. It’s quite spectacular. What an unbelievable finish.”

The enormity of the winner’s achievement may take a while to sink in, but the validation came as always at the final prize giving with the award of the Champion’s Trophy and the traditional Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

Provisional Top Three in Class
Pos/Car no./Team/Car/Laps/Fastest Lap/Best Ave. Speed (mph)

Prototype
1/5/Action Express Racing/Corvette DP/695/1:39.180/129.220 (Overall Winner)

2/10/Wayne Taylor Racing/Corvette DP/695/1:39.850/128.353
3/9/Action Express Racing/Corvette DP/695/1:39.830/128.373

PC
1/54/CORE autosport/ORECA FLM09/678/1.43.610/123.695
2/25/8Star Motorsport/ORECA FLM09/677/1:43.962/123.276
3/38/Performance Tech Racing/ORECA FLM09/669/1:43.582/123.728

GTLM
1/911/Porsche North America/Porsche 911 RSR/679/1:44.914/122.157
2/55/BMW Team RLL/BMW Z4 GTE/679/1.45.648/121.308
3/91/SRT Motorsport/SRT Viper GTS-R/675/1:45.147/121.887

GTD
1/555/Level 5 Motorsport/Ferrari 458F/662/1:47.301/119.440
2/45/Flying Lizard Motorsport/Audi R8 LMS/662/1.47.261/119.484
3/58/Snow Racing/Porsche 911GT/662/1.48.856/117.734