News & Multimedia

Open-Wheel Stars Eager For Sports Car Chance At Brickyard

Thanks to a brief respite during the busy 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar, a few past and present stars of open-wheel racing will spend Friday, July 26 turning left and right at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the Brickyard Grand Prix.

The second annual GRAND-AM Rolex Series event, held on the IMS Grand Prix road course, has become a prized stop on the calendar for sports car entrants and drivers. And with the built-in history of the Indy 500 to draw from, it’s only natural for teams to secure the services of some of the biggest names in IndyCar.

Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, a double podium finisher at the recent Honda Indy Toronto 2 In T.O. event, returns to the Brickyard Grand Prix as the defending winner.

The Frenchman, with four Champ Car titles to his credit and an extensive background in sports car racing, won the inaugural Rolex Series event at IMS in 2012 with co-driver Alex Popow while driving for the Starworks Motorsports team. But he has moved to Enzo Potolicchio’s 8Star Daytona Prototype program in 2013.

“It’s a different deal this year,” Bourdais said. “Last year, with Alex at Starworks, he’s the best amateur driver I’ve worked with. My new teammate Emilio (DiGuida) has been driving quite a bit and getting to grips with the DP. That should be pretty good for us when we get going in practice.”

With a resume that also includes time spent in Formula One and the factory Peugeot Le Mans program, Bourdais has raced a wide array of impressive machinery. Despite the cost-capped nature of the Daytona Prototypes, the 34-year-old says he’s a big fan of the category.

“I really like these cars,” he said. “I don’t know what it is about them; there’s nothing outrageous about them, but they are fun to drive. The power down is good, the downforce is good, and it’s a lot of joy to be in.”

Reigning Brickyard Grand Prix winner Bourdais will get to race with Tony Kanaan, the reigning Indy 500 winner, who scored one of the most popular victories in recent memory at the Speedway last May.

He’ll join an expanded roster from the Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates stable, partnering with former open-wheel standout and current factory BMW driver Joey Hand.

“It’s going to be my first time back at the track after winning the ‘500,’” Kanaan said. “I also have to learn the track, too, and with the Ganassi team and NTT Data behind me, I think our chances are good.”

Kanaan said Panther Racing IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe was originally tabbed to drive for the team. But after Briscoe suffered a broken wrist at Toronto, TK got the call to finally drive for Ganassi.
“(Driving for Chip Ganassi) almost happened three different times in my career, and finally this time it worked!” Kanaan said with a laugh. “I don’t want people to read too much into this; it’s too bad Ryan got hurt, and if he hadn’t, he’d be in the car.”

2004 IndyCar Series champion Kanaan also looks forward to competing against some of his friends from the IndyCar Series and, in particular, 2012 IndyCar driver Rubens Barrichello, who will be making his DP debut with Doran Racing.

“It’s gonna be awesome,” Kanaan said. “We have more Brazilians in GRAND-AM now than we have in IndyCar! Christian Fittipaldi, Oswaldo Negri, Rubens, who is like my brother, and now me. Plus the IndyCar guys like Bourdais … it all speaks to the credibility of IndyCar. We keep getting invited to cool events like this, and I hope it continues to happen.”

Barrichello made eight Formula One starts at Indy, including a win at the 2002 event, and claimed 11th place and the Chase Rookie of the Year Award in his first and only run at the Indy 500 in 2012. Now, with a chance to race on the IMS road in something other than an F1 car, 19-year Grand Prix veteran Barrichello said he’s looking forward to the opportunity.

“I’ve been talking to (GRAND-AM’s) Gary Cummings for a long time to try and race a Daytona Prototype, and I’m so pleased I will get to drive at Indy again,” Barrichello said. “Another thing I’m excited about is this will be the first time I have ever seen a NASCAR race. I’ve never seen the cars before, so that will be a treat.”

AJ Allmendinger, who has participated in a part-time IndyCar schedule this season for Team Penske, will be reunited at Michael Shank Racing, sharing a car with recent Firestone Indy Lights graduate Gustavo Yacaman. Allmendinger and the MSR team won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012.

After the Brickyard Grand Prix, Allmendinger will hand the car to Dale Coyne Racing’s Justin Wilson, who will complete the final four Rolex Series races on the calendar as a teammate and mentor to Yacaman.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Open-Wheel Stars Eager For Sports Car Chance At Brickyard
 
Open-Wheel Stars Eager For Sports Car Chance At Brickyard
Thanks to a brief respite during the busy 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar, a few past and present stars of open-wheel racing will spend Friday, July 26 turning left and right at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the Brickyard Grand Prix.
Read More
Related Media
Will Power
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Power Takes First Step Towards May Sweep at IMS
After earning the Verizon P1 Award with a track-record qualifying lap for the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Will Power was asked about the prospects of a Month of May sweep at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Read More
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
 
Monday racing roundup: Earnhardt Jr. Scores Emotional Win at Talladega
Earnhardt, his team and Junior Nation could celebrate his 0.159-second victory over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 Sunday afternoon, his sixth Sprint Cup win here. It all but assures Earnhardt a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship for a fifth consecutive year.
Read More
Jeff Gordon
 
NASCAR Teams Slated to Test at IMS on Wednesday, April 29
As a prelude to the 22nd annual Crown Royal presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26, 2015, 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, April 29.
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Dixon Lands 36th Career IndyCar Win at Long Beach
Dixon's first victory at Long Beach was his 36th overall, breaking a tie with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car list. Al Unser is fourth with 39 victories. It was the 98th Indy car victory for team owner Chip Ganassi.
Read More
James Hinchcliffe
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Hinchcliffe Prevails in Wet, Wild Indy GP of Louisiana
James Hinchcliffe had a premonition midway through the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana when his crew ordered him not to make a pit stop like the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series field leaders at NOLA Motorsports Park. The hunch came true when the Canadian took the checkered flag to win a wild and unpredictable series debut on the 2.74-mile road course outside New Orleans.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 605
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Fifteen Years Later, Montoya's The Man Again at Indianapolis by @pwilson24 - Read more here: http://t.co/djMsPwDfee #Indy500
about 12 hours ago