Four-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais has signed with KV
Racing to replace Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, The
Associated Press has learned.
Three people familiar with the signing said Wednesday that
Bourdais signed a two-year contract with the team, KVSH Racing.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because principals Kevin
Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan had not
announced the signing.
Kanaan won the Indianapolis 500 in May with KVSH, but decided to
leave for Chip Ganassi Racing next year. KVSH acted fast in
offering the same deal it offered Kanaan to three-race winner James
Hinchcliffe, but the team gave Hinchcliffe a short deadline to
accept the contract that rendered a salary and did not require the
driver to bring any sponsorship.
When Hinchcliffe decided KVSH’s timeline was too fast, the team
moved on to Bourdais, winner of four consecutive Champ Car titles
from 2004 through 2007.
The Frenchman has 31 victories, tied with Dario Franchitti and
Paul Tracy for eighth on the all-time wins list.
Bourdais left American open-wheel racing for Formula One
following his fourth Champ Car title, joining Scuderia Toro Rosso
for the 2008 season. He was replaced nine races into the 2009
Bourdais joined Team Peugeot after his release and finished
second in the LMP1 class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009,
dabbling in a variety of different series before returning to
IndyCar in 2011 for nine races with Dale Coyne Racing.
Bourdais landed a full-time ride in 2012 with Dragon Racing,
where he was hampered for the first part of the season with a Lotus
engine. After a switch to Chevrolet before the Indianapolis 500,
Bourdais had to share his car with teammate Katherine Legge for the
remainder of the season. He finished 25th in the final standings
with a season-best finish of fourth at Mid-Ohio.
This year has been a far better showing from Bourdais as Dragon
has put forth a more stable effort. Bourdais has three podium
finishes, including a runner-up finish to Scott Dixon in
Now he joins a team that clearly can compete on ovals — all
three of Kanaan’s podiums this season are on ovals — but isn’t
sure what it can do on road and street courses because that’s not
Kanaan’s strength. But because Simona de Silvestro finished second
at Houston two weeks ago in KVSH’s second car, the team believes
Bourdais will give them a well-rounded driver capable of
challenging on every circuit.