Tony Kanaan Will Replace Injured Sebastien Bourdais at Le Mans

Bourdais's IndyCar replacement has not yet been decided.

Tony Kanaan will fill-in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais at the 2017 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bourdais was slated to defend his class victory in the No. 68 Chip Ganassi Ford GT.

This will be the first Le Mans for Kanaan, though he has some experience with endurance racing. He competed in the last five 24 Hours of Daytona with Ganassi Racing. Three of those races were spent behind the wheel of a Riley Daytona Prototype, and the last two in the Ford GT. In the 2015 race, he claimed the overall victory with his teammates. Also, back in 1998, Kanaan took third place in the GT1 category driving for Tom Gloy Racing. Kanaan also contested a handful of races in the American Le Mans series in 2007 and 2008 in the LMP2 class with Andretti Green Racing. 

Given his experience, and the fact that he currently races for Ganassi’s IndyCar team, Kanaan is a solid pick for the seat. Filling in for Bourdais at Le Mans is more than just taking his place behind the wheel—though he calls St. Petersburg, FL home these days, Bourdais was born in Le Mans, so racing and winning here means quite a lot. Kanaan and his new Ford GT teammates of Joey Hand and Dirk Muller will be digging deep this year to win for Bourdais. 

Bourdais replacement for the rest of the IndyCar season at Dale Coyne Racing has not yet been determined. James Davison, who filled in for him at the Indy 500 and did a stellar job until he crashed, is a contender. (To be fair, it was a racing incident with no real blame placed on anyone.) Current Formula E and former Formula One driver Esteban Gutierrez has also been named as someone who his being looked at. 

Davison’s experience would be enough to get him the seat in most cases. He has contested several IndyCar races, as well as Indy Lights, on oval tracks, whereas Gutierrez has has no oval racing under his belt. Gutierrez does have plenty of open-wheel experience, but more importantly for this scenario, he has sponsorship money. Gutierrez is back by Telmex, which is owned by Carlos Slim, who has just a little bit of money to throw around. With the number of cars that Coyne went through at Indy, the team could really use a little extra cash these days. 

While no official announcement has been made, Davison just posted this to Twitter, which might be a clue to who is getting the seat.

His tweet was in response to this:

With IndyCar running a double-header in Detroit this weekend, an announcement about who will fill Bourdais’s seat should be coming soon.