Tag Archives: Sebastien Bourdais



The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver, seriously injured in an Indianapolis 500 practice crash nearly two years ago, recorded his first Verizon IndyCar Series win since the incident by taking the checkered flag at the prestigious Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Driving the No. 5 Arrow Honda, Hinchcliffe crossed the finish line 1.4940 seconds ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, the winner of last month’s season opener.

Hinchcliffe’s last win came at NOLA Motorsports Park in April 2015, a month before the crash caused when a suspension piece on the car broke at 220-plus mph on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. Hinchcliffe returned to racing last season and captured the Indianapolis 500 pole position, but had yet to win another race until today.

“To finally do what was goal No. 1 when we set out at the start of the season, to get back into winner’s circle, to do so as early in the season as we have, as convincingly as we did, was great,” said Hinchcliffe, who recorded the fifth victory of his seven-year Verizon IndyCar Series career.

The Canadian and “Dancing with the Stars” Season 23 runner-up took the lead for good on the 63rd of 85 laps around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit that hosted Indy cars for the 34th consecutive year. A full-course caution on the same lap to tow in the disabled car of Alexander Rossi helped Hinchcliffe save enough Sunoco E85R fuel to make it to the end and he held off Bourdais in a three-lap dash to the finish following another yellow when Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had been running second, stopped on course with an electrical issue.

“After Indy and personally me for Toronto, this is the biggest one to win,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve had a lot of luck here. We’ve been really quick here in the past and to finally get to victory lane here is more than I can put into words.

“This place has a lot of history, that’s what drivers really care about. The greatest of the greats have won here. Toronto, Indy and this place were on my bucket list to win before I die, and it’s nice to check one off.”

Bourdais, driving the No. 18 Trench Shoring Honda, recovered from rear wing damage sustained from debris when the cars of Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball made contact on Lap 1. Coupled with his win March 12 in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, it gave Bourdais a 19-point lead over Hinchcliffe in the championship after two of 17 races.

“The fuel saving we could achieve today with the performance we had on the Honda was amazing,” said Bourdais, the four-time Indy car champion who won three straight Long Beach races from 2005-07. “I’ve always been pretty comfortable saving fuel and that one sort of came to us today.”

Josef Newgarden finished third in the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet, earning his best Long Beach result and first top-three finish since joining Team Penske this season.

“It’s always good to get the first podium out of the way for the Captain,” Newgarden said of team owner Roger Penske. “It was a pleasure to drive this weekend. Verizon gives us great tools at Team Penske. It’s nice to get this one out of the way. Hopefully now we can hunt down some wins.”

Last year’s Long Beach winner and Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, charged from last on the 21-car starting grid to finish fifth. Bourdais’ teammate at Dale Coyne Racing, Ed Jones, placed sixth to notch his second straight top-10 finish to start his rookie season.




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

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)

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

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

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

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