Crash.Net IndyCar News
Wilson, Bourdais and Kanaan set for GRAND-AM runs
18 July 2013
Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais have both signed up for a busy second half to 2013, after deciding to add multiple races in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series to their schedules alongside their existing IZOD IndyCar Series races.
Wilson is heading back into the world of sports car racing with confirmation that he would be rejoining Michael Shank Racing for the last four races of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series - Road America and Kansas Speedway in August, and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park in September.
He was part of the team's breakthrough victory in the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2012 and followed it up with a podium position for the team again in this year's event. The Sheffield-born former F1 driver most recently competed the Sahlen's 6 Hours of the Glen alongside Gustavo Yacaman in the #6 Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype in round 7 of this year's championship at Watkins Glen.
"It was great to team with Gus at Watkins Glen and to get back into a Daytona Prototype," he said. "It has been a long time since I had the chance to race at Road America and Laguna Seca, so I'm really excited about those weekends.
"I've never been to Kansas or Lime Rock, so those will both be new challenges for me and Gus to take on," he added. "The Shank guys really do their homework, so hopefully we can be competitive right from the get-go every time out."
"To have this kind of talent available to race for the team is really incredible," said team owner Michael Shank. "I appreciate what Justin brings to this program and I am looking forward to the second half of the season for the #6 car."
He added, "Gus has continued to adapt to racing in GRAND-AM and we are excited to have him teaming with Justin. They both come from that open-wheel background so we hope this will be a very productive final four races."
Wilson isn't alone in signing up for a busy period of IndyCar/GRAND-AM double duty for the coming months, with Sebastien Bourdais confirmed for all five remaining GRAND-AM races in 2013 alongside Emilio DiGuida in the #4 8Star Motorsports Corvette Daytona Prototype.
"There's a lot of very good and talented people at 8Star and I'm happy to be involved," said Bourdais. "I'm pretty excited about the prospects to drive for a new team that's sorting itself out pretty quickly. Emilio is a good gentleman driver and, given the format of the series, it's always an opening for a good result for an amateur and a pro.
Bourdais will have the opportunity to settle in to the new car during 8Star's DP test at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida on Thursday and Friday this week. The Frenchman won last year's inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Alex Popow, and is seeking to start his latest alliance with similar success.
"I'm very much looking forward to racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, obviously, having won last year's inaugural GRAND-AM race there. Indy is a pretty cool event and a cool track," he continued. "I'm thankful to Jay Penske for allowing me to combine this with my IndyCar program with Dragon Racing. I'm a Chevrolet driver in the IndyCar Series so it's great to be driving a Corvette DP in the Grand-Am Series."
"Sebastien brings a lot of experience to the 8Star Motorsports that will make the #4 team a race contender hopefully a race winner," said Enzo Potolicchio, team owner and co-driver of the #3 car with Stephane Sarrazin. "We were teammates last year in the Six Hours of The Glen and we finished really well. He's adapted to the Daytona Prototype car really fast in just a few races. He's definitely showed his talent and speed in these cars."
Also testing the waters in GRAND-AM in upcoming weeks is 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, who has signed up to race the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates #02 Riley-BMW Daytona Prototype alongside Joey Hand next weekend in a one-off entry for the car at IMS.
"Any day that you're invited to drive at Indianapolis is a good day, especially with a top team like CGRFS," said Kanaan. "Not a lot of drivers have the chance to race twice at Indy on the same year, so I'm obviously excited about driving the #02 NTT Data car during the Brickyard weekend and putting on a good show for the fans."
Joey Hand said that he was also thrilled to be back in action with the team. "It's especially exciting to be at Indy; it's my first time racing anything there, and to be there with Tony, the Indy 500 winner, is just amazing.
"Tony and I actually go way back," he added. "We had dinner once when I was coming up in the sport, and since then, we've kept in touch, and now I get to go racing with him, with a team that wants to win, and that's everything I could dream of having. I'm a really happy guy."