Sebastien Bourdais Will Return to IndyCar This Weekend
Bourdais is back and ready to win.
IndyCar has announced that Sebastien Bourdais will return to racing this weekend. Just 14 weeks after his massive accident during Indy 500 qualifying, Bourdais will be back on the track. Throughout his recovery, Bourdais mentioned in several television interviews that he would not make his return on an oval track. It seems he just couldn't wait any longer; so, he'll be back in his car at Gateway Motorsports Park for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on Saturday.
Team owner Dale Coyne had been looking into running three cars for the rest of the season in an effort to keep Bourdais's replacement, Esteban Gutierrez, driving as well. Unfortunately, the money just wasn't there to make that happen. Besides Bourdais's crash, Dale Coyne Racing has had incredibly bad luck this year as far as accidents go. Through no fault of their own, the team lost several cars to crashes throughout the season. With their budget already stretched, running a third car for the last three races was an impossibility.
As Gutierrez hands the car back to Bourdais for the last three races of the season, he graciously thanked Dale Coyne for the opportunity. "It’s been a very interesting few months for me getting to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series on the street circuits, road courses and especially ovals,” said Gutierrez. “I want to thank the team and Dale Coyne for giving me this opportunity to gain this experience in view of a full-time program in the Verizon IndyCar Series next year. My goal was to learn as much as possible in order to be ready for 2018, where a new car will be introduced. This experience with the team will pay dividends next season.”
Dale Coyne had nothing but great things to say about Gutierrez as well. “It’s great to have Sebastien back,” team owner Dale Coyne said, “but I want to thank Esteban for the amazing job he did filling in for him these last few months. It wasn’t easy for him coming in and having never driven an Indy car, but he did a fantastic job, especially on the ovals. For someone that had never driven on an oval track before Iowa in July, he impressed a lot of people including myself. Hopefully we get to work with him again in the future.”
For Bourdais, getting back to racing is the only thing on his mind. “Following the crash, I had one goal in mind and that was to be back for Sonoma, and here I am getting back in the car with three races to go. It’s a bit unbelievable but I can’t wait to try out that new surface at Gateway this weekend!”
Bourdais started off the 2017 season with a dominating win at his home race in St. Petersburg, Florida. He followed that up with a second place at Long Beach. Don't expect Bourdais to be out there this weekend parading around at the back of the field; he'll be doing everything possible to get at least one more win this season. After having sat out for eight races, Bourdais will surely be looking to remind those drivers fighting for the championship that he should be in that fight with them.
The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park can be seen live Saturday, August 26 on NBC Sports Network at 9:00 pm ET. IndyCar hasn't raced at the egg-shaped oval of Gateway since 2003. The track is tight, fast, and recently resurfaced. With the unknowns of the track, a close fight for the championship, and Bourdais's return, all the pieces are in place for an epic IndyCar race.