Bourdais has been busy since being relieved of his seat at Toro Rosso in mid 2009. He joined superleague formula and has also been a regular figure at Le Mans driving one of the factory Peugeot 908 machines. He has now opted to go after a drive in IndyCar, the series which merged with Champ car, which he won 4 times. He left at the end of the season before the merge took place in order to go to F1.
Due to the fact that he is signed on to drive for Peugeot at all of the races in the 2011 International Le Mans Cup, which of course includes the Le Mans 24 hours itself, he cannot partake in a full season in IndyCar.
Conveniently, his Peugeot commitments dovetail nicely with the IndyCar road circuit weekends. Since he is not especially known for his oval racing skills, this seems like a good solution for him. I’m sure he’d love to prove that he can win regularly on ovals but I’m sure he’ll be happy to skip them in order to have a very busy racing schedule for the year.
We see a lot of drivers from other disciplines switching around these days, and it’s really interesting to see. We’ve seen Sebastien Loeb drive at Le Mans and do very well, Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica rally, albeit at different levels and in Kubica’s case, as a hobby and many more drivers besides.
I hope he can make a big impact this year in IndyCar with a fairly small team. I also hope that the new Peugeot 908 which was just launched on Thursday will prove to not suffer with the same reliability issues that ruined the company’s Le Mans hopes in 2010. I think if the car works well then Bourdais and his team-mates will have a strong chance at the win, although the other two Peugeot Total cars which include the likes of recognisable names Anthony Davidson and Alex Wurz are going to be tough to beat. Audi are always strong, and their new closed cockpit car, the R18 looks like it could be very strong. It’s going to be great but I’ll have more thoughts on Le Mans this year as we get closer to the race.
However, I don’t want to deviate too far from the subject of this post. In any case, I think that Sebastien Bourdais is a talented driver who either wasn’t given a real chance in F1, or just somehow couldn’t translate his magic from his Champ Car dominating days into an F1 car. I’m glad to see him putting himself in a position to impress on the world stage and it goes to prove that despite F1 declaring itself the pinnacle of motorsport, the high level motor racing disciplines that are almost equal to and below it are numerous.