Sebastien Bourdais set for IndyCar return this weekend at Gateway
Just three months after he was involved in a horrific crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during his Indianapolis 500 qualification attempt, four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais will return to action in Saturday night’s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park.
The announcement was made at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday night.
Bourdais, who led the Verizon IndyCar Series points through the first three races this season after winning the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 10, will compete in the final three races of the season for Dale Coyne Racing. Bourdais suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and right hip in the May 20 crash in Turn 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He made an incredible recovery from his injuries and is returning sooner than anticipated to take part in the final three races of the season.
“You have no idea how excited I am to be getting back in the car this weekend and for the remainder of the season,” Bourdais said. “It’s been a long 14 weeks and I’ve worked very hard to get to this point. 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 will be on track starting Friday, August 25 for the first practice session in IndyCar’s return to the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park since 2003.
“It’s great to have Sebastien back, but I want to thank Esteban Gutierrez for the amazing job he did filling in for him these last few months,” team owner Dale Coyne said. “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.”
Bourdais returns to the No. 18 Honda with Esteban Gutierrez stepping out of that ride. The former Formula 1 driver from Mexico has struggled adapting to IndyCar this season showing signs of improvement at times but unable to produce top results.
His best finish in seven Verizon IndyCar Series starts was a 13th-place in the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on July 9.
“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,” Gutierrez said. “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 to be ready for 2018 where a new car will be introduced. This experience with the team will pay dividends next season.”