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Jourdain confirmed for Indy 500 bid

Rahal Letterman Lanigan have confirmed that they are giving Michel Jourdain Jr. a chance to make the starting grid in next month's Indianapolis 500.
Former Champ Car veteran racer Michel Jourdain Jr. is to return to US open wheel racing for the first time since 2004 with a one-off deal for this year's Indianapolis 500, Rahal Letterman Lanigan confirmed on Tuesday.

"I am pleased to have Michel back with the team," said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “When we were last together we had a lot of success and I don't see any reason why we can't continue that."

The Mexican driver had a nine-year CART/Champ Car World Series career with teams including Team Rahal, Payton/Coyne Racing and RuSport before he headed off to race more recently in WTCC, A1GP and WRC, as well in NASCAR in both the Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series.

“I am extremely happy about this new opportunity,” said Jourdain. "I know it is a huge challenge to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after so long and with this type of cars, but I hope that I will feel at home in a few days.”

In fact, despite his considerable prior experience in Champ Car which consists of 152 race starts, Jourdain has only ever competed once before in the Indianapolis 500 itself - way back in 1996. That's because of the rift that was raging at the time between CART and the Indy Racing League that held the rights to stage the Greatest Spectacle in Motorsport.

As a result, while Jourdain is not listed as a rookie for this year's Indy 500, he will be asked to participate in a "refresher" course on May 10 that will run alongside the official Rookie Orientation Program. He will drive the #30 car powered by Honda and sponsored by Office Depot Mexico, with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi.

“I am extremely happy about this new opportunity,” said the 35-year-old, who has been at the two street course races held so far in 2012 at St Petersburg and Long Beach and getting to know the scene again, as well as reuniting with some old and familiar faces up and down pit lane.

"I walked in the paddock and saw all my friends," he said. "I felt like I had been away just for a few months, but it is actually eight years, and that is a lot. I have been working out harder than ever, to make sure I am as fit as possible.

“I have only competed in the Indy 500 once in 1996, but you can always see that this race is the best," he continued. "I feel this is the best chance for me to come back strong. Everybody in the team knows that it will take some time for me to re-adapt to this type of cars and racing."




Related Pictures

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Team owner Bobby Rahal on the pit wall at Barber Motorsports Park [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
The start of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. [Picture credit: Larry Seidman for IndyCar Media]
Michael Jourdain Jr on pit road (Photo Credit: Padraic Major/NASCAR)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to an 11th-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Montoya retains the overall driver`s championship points lead with two races left in the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to an fourth-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 PPG Finishes Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a third-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 PPG Finishes Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his third-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Graham Rahal leads a group through the Turn 2 Keyhole turn during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal and his father, Bobby, celebrate in Victory Circle following their win in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Podium celebrations for Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson after the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Podium celebrations for Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson and Simon Pagenaud after the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal sprays the champagne in Victory Lane following his victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal wins the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal begins the celebration as he wins the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay waits in his pit stand prior to practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay rolls down pit lane for practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates having the fastest qualifying time Saturday, August 1, 2015, winning the pole for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Dixon set a track record of 1:04.5814/125.869 mph. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates having the fastest qualifying time Saturday, August 1, 2015, winning the pole for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Dixon set a track record of 1:04.5814/125.869 mph. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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