News & Multimedia

Bourdais Passion for Racing Fuels His Drive to Win

Sebastien Bourdais makes it clear he’s not consumed by statistics or living in the past.

Racing was his passion before it became his job, which this weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series takes his No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet to the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit for Saturday and Sunday events on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course.

But Bourdais does look back at his triumphant Champ Car World Series years — four titles in five seasons through 2007 — with one regret.

“All I know is I had the greatest time of my life racing with Newman/Haas and being so successful. In the meantime, I totally under appreciated what was happening at the time because you get caught up in the moment,” said the 37-year-old Frenchman. “You win a race and all you think about a couple hours after is the next one. Racers, we are that way. If you want to sustain a certain level and keep the intensity and everything, you have to just constantly project yourself to the next thing and never be satisfied. You celebrate and then as soon as the celebration is over, your mind is already back in the game.”

Bourdais has won 34 races in Champ Car and the Verizon IndyCar Series, which ranks second among active drivers to Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon at 39. Bourdais won twice last year, including one of the races at Belle Isle.

He made his name, though, when dominating Champ Car. He celebrated 31 wins in 73 starts over that five-year span. He celebrated a career-best eight victories in his final Champ Car season.

“Some people care about what trace they will leave in the books,” Bourdais said of records. “It’s unimportant to me. I’m trying to savor the moment, more than I used to.

“When I was in Champ Cars, there were a lot of times where I very much felt this was a stepping stone to going to greater things, meaning Forumla One. There were a lot of people reminding me of that. There was always something that disrupted the moment, like, I’d win a championship and there would be all these rumors about me moving to F1, potential opportunities and the maybes and then the potential disappointments when it wasn’t going to happen. There were a lot of disturbances that prevented me from really enjoying those years. I’m upset about that.

“I’d like to be able to savor as much as we should have because it was amazing. It was just an amazing group of guys and we had amazing success, I mean, winning 31 races out of 73, I think, in a span of five years. I was tough to beat.”

Bourdais finished ninth in Sunday’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. It was his second-best finish in six “500” starts, the best being seventh place in 2014.

He dismisses the notion the former champion has to prove something in the current series.

“I don’t care,” he said. “I just race because it’s my passion. It was long my passion before it became my job and it’s still my passion. There’s nothing else I would rather do. After that, what people think of me or what I should do or where I should be, everybody’s got opinions.

“You look at the number of races people win every year. We won just about as many as the guys who were challenging for the championship. We won two races last year. The years where we used to race 13 or 14 times and win six, seven or eight per year is long gone. It’s too tight now.”

Dixon claimed his fourth series title last year, when he won three races.

Bourdais, a proven road-course racer, finally broke through at Detroit with last year’s win. He had not finished in the top 10 in six previous Verizon starts at Belle Isle. 

“I am looking forward to getting back to street racing after spending the month of May at the (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway,” he said. “We had a good car in both Detroit races last year and came away with a win in the second race, so we should come off the transporter with a good baseline setup.

“I also had an opportunity to do some pace car rides on the Belle Isle circuit during a media day a little over a week ago, so it was nice to reacquaint myself with the track. The Chevrolet Dual in Detroit is obviously an important race for us since we are a Chevy team, so the whole Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing team is looking forward to having a good performance in both races.”

Show More Show Less
Items 763 - 767 of 1,131