Bourdais signs 2-year deal with KVSH

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

season.

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

Toronto.

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.