Bourdais lands full-time Foyt seat for 2021
Sebastien Bourdais will return to the ranks of full-time NTT IndyCar Collection drivers in 2021 when he joins A.J. Foyt Racing within the No. 14 entry made well-known by its legendary staff proprietor.
The four-time Champ Automotive champion will get a head begin on subsequent season by becoming a member of the staff on the upcoming Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader set for October 2-3 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway highway course. Bourdais will end the yr within the No. 14 whereas Canadian rookie Dalton Kellett slides over to the No. 41 Chevy for Indy.
“That is actually thrilling for me, as a result of the identical factor that I noticed after I determined to present it a go along with A.J. and Larry Foyt on the finish of final yr, it’s nonetheless there, and truthfully, I can’t wait to get again in a automotive and get going with them,” Bourdais advised RACER.
“I believe what we’re attempting to do on the Indy GP, and getting ready for subsequent yr, it’s a really tall order. It’s demanding rather a lot from everybody, together with myself, nevertheless it’s simply precisely why we’re beginning this now. I consider what we’re doing as the beginning of 2021, and never a lot what sort of outcomes we’ll get in 2020. It’s gathering data after which setting ourselves the easiest way doable to regulate and be prepared for subsequent yr.”
The 40-year-old Frenchman’s availability comes after a shocking transfer by his former staff, Dale Coyne Racing, which lower the veteran on the finish of 2019 with one yr left on his contract, and few vacancies to be stuffed elsewhere on the grid. In flip, Bourdais signed a season-long deal to race in IMSA for 2020, and previous to quite a few calendar adjustments in response to COVID-19, he was scheduled to drive at 5 non-conflicting races as a part of the ride-share program with Tony Kanaan and Dalton Kellett within the No. 14.
To say Bourdais is motivated to maneuver A.J. Foyt Racing forward of Coyne’s operation is a substantial understatement.
“The conclusion of my IndyCar profession was by no means meant to be dictated by Dale’s choice, and definitely not underneath the timeframe that I used to be confronted with,” he mentioned. “And due to this fact, I didn’t need this to be the top after 2019; I actually wish to finish my IndyCar profession underneath my very own phrases and after I really feel like I’m both not going to be able to bringing one thing to a staff that I wish to be part of, or I cease desirous to do it, or I cease being aggressive. And I simply don’t really feel that I’m there.
“I wasn’t able to cease final yr, and I’m nonetheless not. So clearly, so we’re going full steam forward and attempt to get it performed one of the best we will, so A.J. can take pleasure in being on the observe once more and have some good outcomes.”
Bourdais can’t say who’ll be a part of him within the different entries fielded by the staff, however he does have a stable understanding of the accountability that comes with being Foyt’s new lead driver.
“I believe all of us that find yourself driving for A.J. Foyt’s staff really feel an obligation to carry out and ship for the nice man that he’s,” he mentioned. “The entire spirit of the staff is like we’re representing a reputation that’s synonymous with success and legacy. And also you need to have the ability to assist carry some successes to that legacy, and also you don’t wish to be the downer.
“And with what (staff president) Larry Foyt and (operations VP) Scott Harner have been doing to make strikes that enhance the staff, bringing in actually good engineers, and understanding what 2020 might have introduced, everybody’s will to show issues round and to assist them do this was the one large consider me desirous to be part of this. Larry has been doing no matter it takes to step issues up, and Scott comes from a really extraordinarily well-sorted staff in Ganassi, and he is aware of what it takes to have a staff that may contend for championships. If we will discover a couple extra high quality individuals so as to add to the fold, that may solely assist us get nearer to the targets that we’re going to set forth.”
Though Bourdais took the No. 14 Chevy to the sharp finish of the time sheets in pre-season testing, his expectations for the Harvest GP are understandably modest. If there’s an even bigger worth to his upcoming race debut for Foyt, it’s getting a soar on all that may are available 2021.
“I positively really feel proper now that stepping within the automotive for the GP doubleheader, it’s important to be respectful sufficient of the collection’ competitiveness,” he mentioned. “Don’t be foolish and let your self assume they are going to all be behind us, so everyone’s acquired go into this with sensible expectations, as a result of I believe you may be very simply upset. And placing further stress on your self received’t assist something.
“So, the best way I have a look at it, we’re getting a extremely early begin on getting ready for subsequent yr. And that’s essential, as a result of the extra time we’ve collectively, the extra we work out the kinks and develop chemistry, the higher possibilities we will likely be forward of our recreation.”