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Sebastian Bourdais eyes road race return

Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has been linked with a seat at Dale Coyne Racing and may be signed to compete in the road race events of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.
Dale Coyne Racing announced that they had run a test session with Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais at Sepring on Monday, and may sign the former Champ Car and F1 driver to appear for them at this year's IndyCar road race events.

The possibility of a return to US open-wheel racing on the street and road courses came as a major surprise, as Bourdais had not previously spoken of an interest in such a move.

Bourdais said after the test that "The car was very good and it really felt good to be back in an IndyCar."

"We have talked with Sebastien before and this is an opportunity that has great potential," said team owner Dale Coyne. "We are very serious about moving our effort forward and this, coupled with the continuing Boy Scouts of America program from last season, is one of the most important steps in that direction we can possibly make."

"I really believe in what Dale is doing with his team and it can be a great workable opportunity for both of us this year," said Bourdais, adding that he was "[looking] forward to putting together the pieces to get back into IndyCar racing."

Sebastien Bourdais was completely dominant in Champ Car from 2004 until 2007 when he drove for Newman/Haas Racing, winning 31 races and four consecutive championships. He even managed to clinch third in the preceding CART World Series in his rookie year in America in 2003. His one official IndyCar appearance was the 2005 Indianapolis 500, where he finished 12th.

Bourdais left Champ Car when offered a seat with the Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 team in 2008, where he completed one and a half seasons - initially alongside team mate Sebastian Vettel, who went on to become the 2010 F1 world champion. However Bourdais was abruptly let go in mid-2009 due to disappointing results and was replaced by Jaime Alguersuari.

Since then, Bourdais has been racing in Superleague Formula and in the Le Mans Series for Team Peugeot Total in selected events, as well as two races in V8 Supercar. This week's testing and possible deal with Dale Coyne marks his first return to US open wheel racing since the end of his F1 career.

Dale Coyne's drivers in 2010 were Milka Duno and Alex Lloyd, who claimed the team's best result of the year with a fourth place at the Indianapolis 500. However on Monday the team were testing 23-year-old British driver Martin Plowman, who was third in last year's Firestone Indy Lights championship after claiming his first race victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the AFS-Andretti Autosport joint operation.

"We have tested a lot of new drivers over the years," said Coyne. "Martin is one of the best that we have seen and we look forward to a positive growth curve with this aspiring young talent."

"I am very pleased that everything went exceptionally well today," Plowman confirmed.

With further rumours circulating that Paul Tracy is also set to ink a return to racing with Conquest Racing, the 2011 IndyCar season is starting to develop something of a retro feel to it - but one that should excite both old and new fans of the championship.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Bourdais (FRA), Toro Rosso STR4, German F1 Grand Prix, Nurburgring, 10-12th, July 2009
Marco Andretti in pit lane (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti and father/team boss Michael Andretti at IMS (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti enters Turn 1 during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti in the cockpit (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Rodolfo Gonzalez in the Dale Coyne Racing paddock at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra walks pit lane prior to practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra exits Turn 10 during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais talks with Simon Pagenaud after their crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti waits for the rain to stop for qualifying at NOLA Motorsports Park. Saturday April 11 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
The Andretti Autosport team go to work on Ryan Hunter-Reay`s car on pit lane in St. Petersburg on Friday March 27 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Matt Brabham, Andretti Autosport, Indy Lights [Credit: Matt Brabham]
Marco Andretti navigates the Turn 8-9 Esses complex during Tuesday`s Open Test sessions at Barber Motorsports Park on March 17 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais rolls down pit lane to head out for practice during open testing at Barber Motorsport Park on Monday March 16 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Bryan Herta Autosport 2015 Indy 500 entry sponsored by Green1. (Picture Credit: Bryan Herta Autosport)

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Nanbawan - Unregistered

February 03, 2011 12:41 AM

And he stuck to his policy to be no pay driver, so that was always going to be difficult given his dented reputation and the fact that F1 is always keen to put down a driver coming from the US series. He's had a brilliant career in many series that still goes on but his F1 dream turned nightmare will probably leave a bitter taste. That said, he sounded to be zen about that, he knew STR wasn't the right place, he took his chance as he thought he would never have one in F1 before that anyway. Good luck, I hope he'll have some more enjoyable moments racing in Indycar.

Nanbawan - Unregistered

February 03, 2011 12:41 AM

Er, the comment above must mean "once you failed in F1" because Bourdais has had a lot of success "racing in Europe"... I'm pleased to see he'll rejoin the Indycar this very year. I thought he abandoned such projects after the STR dismay. Let's face it, he joined STR as a last hope when Nicolas Todt found him a seat there but from day one he was hardly in the team's mould, and certainly less when STR adopted their current policy to just be a junior team. From that moment and even if he should have done better, it was just a matter of time. I think SeaBass could have been relatively successful in F1 but he needed a supportive team that listens to him unfortunately there's no privateer French team in F1 these days.



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