Report: Sebastien Bourdais signs two-year deal with KV

Leave a comment

Four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais is on his way to KV Racing Technology according to a report from The Associated Press, replacing reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan.

“I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and [James] ‘Sulli’ [Sullivan] for this opportunity,” Bourdais said according to the AP. “The fact that I have an agreement with KVSH Racing so early, and that I have a two-year contract, shows the team’s commitment to their new era in the IndyCar Series.

“I am looking forward to meeting the crew and getting started with testing as soon as possible.”

Per the AP, Bourdais has inked a two-year deal with KV, which currently fields a two-car program for Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro. Kanaan, however, is heading for Chip Ganassi Racing to drive a fourth, NTT Data-backed entry starting next season alongside Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball.

Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe had been offered a contract to join the KV camp, but while the deal stipulated that he would not have to bring sponsorship, the Canadian driver was given a short deadline to accept it. He decided to pass and remains a free agent for 2014 – at least, for the time being.

Hinchcliffe’s decision caused KV to target Bourdais, who has collected three podium finishes this season for Dragon Racing – two of which came in the Toronto doubleheader back in July. His first podium of the Toronto weekend was his first such result since his win in the 2007 CCWS season finale at Mexico City.

Bourdais, who has claimed 31 wins in his American open-wheel career, is being counted on to provide a jolt to KVSH’s road and street course program and elevate the team to contender status in the IndyCar Series alongside the triumvirate of Andretti, Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I have raced against him and can say without a doubt that he is an exceptional driver and a true champion,” Vasser, the 1996 CART champion said to the AP. “We look forward to winning a lot of races with him.”

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne