January 26, 2014 | By Dave Lewandowski
IndyCar Streak Continues With Victory in Rolex 24
Sebastien Bourdais has won endurance races (i.e. the 2002 Spa 24 Hours, class victory in 2006 Sebring 12 Hours), sports car races (i.e. 2012 inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix), V8 Supercar races (the 2012 and '13 Gold Coast event), and 31 Indy car races. Adding the Rolex 24 At Daytona overall victory to his hall of fame resume Jan. 26 was personally satisfying.
Foremost next for the four-time Champ Car champion are the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and IndyCar Series championship.
Bourdais continued the streak of IndyCar Series drivers to win the twice-around-the-clock race to four consecutive years. Bourdais, who turns 35 on Feb. 28, teamed with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi as the Action Express Racing Corvette Prototype held off a restart challenge by the Wayne Taylor Racing car following a full-course caution with eight minutes left to win by 1.461 seconds.
Barbosa took over the seat with an hour left from Bourdais, who had reclaimed the lead and exited the car with a 12.27-second advantage over the second-place Wayne Taylor Racing entry.
"It’s one of those historic races that you just want to put on your resume," said Bourdais, who has been the runner-up three times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in his home town. "It’s done today, and it was done fighting hard for it and it really feels good for the entire Team Chevy and everybody because we went and grabbed this one. I've been chasing Le Mans many times to get a Rolex, so I came here."
The companion Action Express car placed third. Corvette DPs swept the top four spots.
Bourdais, who resumes IndyCar Series testing Feb. 10 at Auto Club Speedway and Feb. 12 at Sonoma Raceway in Chevrolet manufacturer sessions, commences the IndyCar Series season March 30 in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the Chevrolet-powered No. 11 KVSH Racing car.
"I'm elated that he's going to come into the season after this victory and boost his confidence, which has been building with his finish last year of top-10 finishes in four of the final five races," said KV Racing Technology co-owner and 1996 Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser. "You don't win 31 races and four championships in a row if you don't know how to win. He led that team and had the fastest lap and he was just phenomenal. I'm really happy for him and look forward to what lies in store for the IndyCar Series season."
More than a dozen IndyCar Series drivers competed in the 52nd annual race. Charlie Kimball (2013), Justin Wilson (2012) and Graham Rahal (2011) were the previous IndyCar Series drivers in the streak to earn the signature watch. Last year, Ryan Hunter-Reay (second) and Wilson presented a sweep for IndyCar Series drivers.
Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar Series champion who was co-driving a SRT Motorsports entry, earned third place in the GT Le Mans class. Rahal, co-driving a BMW Team RLL car, was one position behind. Mikail Aleshin, who will drive Jan. 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his IndyCar Series oval rookie test, co-drove an SPM/ESM Racing car to third place in the GT Daytona class. The entry moved up one spot thanks to a penalty imposed on another car on the final lap.
Results of other IndyCar Series- and Mazda Road to Indy-related drivers:
- Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan: Placed fourth in Prototype class. Had held the overall lead near the halfway point but a flat tire put the entry a lap down and a severe vibration issue forced the car behind the wall. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car finished eighth in the Prototype class and 15th overall.
- Simon Pagenaud, who placed third in the 2013 IndyCar Series championship: Co-drove Extreme Speed Motorsprots car to seventh in Prototype and 11th overall.
- Wilson, who will drive for Dale Coyne Racing this season for the third consecutive year: Co-drove Michael Shank Racing car with Curb/Agajanian to 12th in Prototype and 47th overall.
- Sage Karam, the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights champion: Co-drove Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car to 11th in Prototype and 43rd overall.
- James Hinchcliffe, three-time IndyCar Series race winner in 2013 for Andretti Autosport: Co-drove SpeedSource car to 14th in Prototype and 57th overall. Car retired in the early morning because on overheating.
- Ryan Briscoe, who will drive the No. 8 NTT DATA car for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams this season: Co-drove Corvette Racing car to 10th in GT class.
- Tristan Vautier, the 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in IndyCar Series and 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion: Co-drove SpeedSource car to 13th in Prototype and 56th overall.
- Alex Tagliani and Conor Daly, who made his IndyCar Series debut in the 2013 Indianapolis 500: Co-drove RSR Racing car to eighth in Prototype Challenge class and 58th overall.
- James Davison, who competed in two IndyCar Series race in 2013: Co-drove TGR-AMR car to 22nd in GT Daytona class and 48th overall.
- Sebastian Saavedra and E.J. Viso: Co-drove Starworks Motorsport car to 17th in Prototype class and 62nd overall.
- Gabby Chaves, the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights championship runner-up: Co-drove DeltaWing Racing Cars entry to 16th in Prototype Class and 61st overall.