SOURCE: autoweek.com by Mike Pryson
If Sebastien Bourdais is missing Indy cars, he certainly doesn't act like it.
Bourdais added another trophy to the trophy case on Saturday when he teamed with Renger van der Zande for the overall win at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear.
Bourdais, who won the pole on Friday evening, led every lap of his first stint on Saturday afternoon to set the pace, and van der Zande held off a charge by race runner-up Oliver Jarvis of the Meyer Shank Racing w/Curb Agajanian Acura DPi to seal the win.
Bourdais' pole was his fourth in five races this season for the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi, and the win was his second of 2022. Not bad for a guy many thought was too old, or at least didn't have enough left in the tank, for a ride in the NTT IndyCar Series.
All Bourdais did in his Indy car career—a career that started with CART way back in 2003—was win four championships and 37 races. His four titles are tied for third all-time in with Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti. His win total is seventh on the all-time list.
"For or me, a guy from Le Mans, my IndyCar years for me were winding down," the 43-year-old Bourdais told Autoweek. "The opportunities were wearing off. I had been fighting my way through IndyCar with smaller teams, and timing was everything.
"We were trying to do something with Chip Ganassi for a few years, but I was contracted to Dale Coyne and so they didn’t materialize. When the opportunity to race with Chip came about last year, I didn’t have anything else solid to say no. At that point, how could I even think about saying no? I gotta go.
"You miss the boat on those programs if you’re not in at the beginning, then it’s very difficult to get in. I think it was right for me. I’m 43 years old and I’m not getting any younger. You've got to recognize your chances, and for me it was clear that was the right thing to do."
Bourdais' racing plate is not only IMSA. On Saturday, just hours after the finish of the IMSA race on Belle Isle, both winning drivers were on a plane to France and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 11-12. There, Bourdais will team with Nico Mueller and Ryan Cullen for British-based Vector Sport in the LMP2 class. Van der Zande will race in GTE AM in a Ferrari 488 with JMW Motorsports American drivers Mark Kvamme and Jason Hart.
Next year, Bourdais plans to be in the middle of a sports car renaissance in IMSA and the World Endurance Champion and back at Le Mans, where the new Le Mans Hypercar class will include LMDh cars from the GTP class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
"Next year is gong to be 20 cars, at least, racing for the win at Le Mans," Bourdais said. "Then another five or six more cars in ’24. I don’t think the cars will be as exciting for the drivers because they're heavier, more power, but less downforce. But the formula is obviously bringing in all that interest from everywhere, between the OEMs, the press, the public, and that’s what we drive for. When you feel the buzz around the series, for us even if the cars are a little less fun to drive, it’s going to be the golden age of endurance racing."
"If those new programs have a three-, four-year lifespan, and if it goes as well as it seems like it’s going for the interest and the support from the manufacturers, it could go on until the end of my professional career. So, that’s really the way I’m looking at it."
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