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Monday, February 26, 2024

Autosport High 50 of 2023: #41 Sebastien Bourdais

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On the face of it, Sebastien Bourdais didn’t have the type of 12 months to justify such a excessive rating. There was just one win within the IMSA SportsCar Championship with the Ganassi Cadillac squad.

However what is perhaps described as a season of misfortune — the automobile he shared with Renger van der Zande caught fireplace thrice — included some stellar performances. He was at all times among the many quickest, if not the quickest of the drivers aboard the Caddy V-Sequence.R.

Daytona and Petit had been stand-out races for him Stateside, however he saved his greatest for an away day with Ganassi at Le Mans. Not solely was he the quickest Cadillac driver, however better of the LMDh pack, too. 

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Bourdais protecting the Le Mans dream alive

A son of Le Mans born a stone’s throw from the Circuit de la Sarthe on the Clinique du Tertre Rouge might need gained his house race with Peugeot twice over. The 2009 and 2011 editions had been undoubtedly ones that received away.

Friday favorite: The all-conquering Lola that made Bourdais an Indycar star

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If anybody thought that the dream of including an general victory to his 2016 GTE Professional class win with Ford was over, they needed to assume once more after this 12 months. Bourdais’s efficiency on the wheel of the #1 Ganassi Cadillac proved that the will and the velocity remains to be there. 

Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The Le Mans 24 was the spotlight of Bourdais’ spectacular marketing campaign

“For some time, earlier than I got here into the Caddy programme, I used to be type of accepting that I wouldn’t get that chance to go for the win within the high class,” says Bourdais, whose earlier Le Mans begin within the premier division got here in 2012. “I’d type of come to phrases that it may not occur for me.”

Nevertheless it did occur. He joined Cadillac and Ganassi within the Daytona Prototype worldwide ranks in 2022 after the top of his IndyCar profession. The beginning of the LMDh period then gave him the prospect to chase the Le Mans dream.

It isn’t fully fanciful on the idea of Bourdais’s tempo to recommend that he and team-mates van der Zande and Scott Dixon might have been within the combine with Ferrari and Toyota however for a messy race that finally left them two laps in arrears in fourth. 

“The tempo of the automobile within the dry was sufficient that we might have been within the combat if we’d had a flawless race,” reckons Bourdais.

“I’m unsure we might have crushed Ferrari and Toyota on velocity on the finish, however we all know that they each had their issues. If you’re on the lead lap, you by no means know.

“Subsequent 12 months goes to be even harder with much more vehicles. Somebody will undergo the 24 hours and have an ideal race. When you’re not in that automobile, will probably be robust to win. 

“I’ve received the category win at Le Mans and it was cool to be a part of that as a result of it meant a lot to Ford. However for me, I’m not a Le Mans winner as a result of I haven’t gained it general. I’m at peace with that.”

Bourdais returns to the top 50 for the first time since 2011. Can he continue his form into 2024?

Picture by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Bourdais returns to the highest 50 for the primary time since 2011. Can he proceed his kind into 2024?

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