IndyCar: Simona de Silvestro still pursuing sponsorship for 2014 season

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The sponsorship hunt continues for IndyCar Series fan favorite Simona de Silvestro, who completed her fourth season in the series last year for KV Racing Technology but currently doesn’t have a ride lined up for 2014.

In an interview with Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star, the driver fondly known as the “Swiss Missile” revealed that she’s been back home in Switzerland trying to drum up support; Cavin reports that she was not in attendance for last week’s IndyCar winter meetings in Indianapolis.

“There are companies here that are kind of interested [in IndyCar],” de Silvestro told Cavin. “At the end of the day, I want to be in IndyCar, so that took a little bit of priority [over meetings].”

De Silvestro overcame a rough mid-season stretch and finished 2013 strong, earning her first career IndyCar podium in Race 1 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader last October.

The breakthrough in Houston had her optimistic about her future path in the sport, but she wants to make sure that wherever she ends up on the IndyCar grid, she’ll continue to have a chance to flourish.

“The big challenge is what [can] field me the right way,” De Silvestro said to Cavin about teams that could acquire her services. “It has got to be the right environment.”

Considering that De Silvestro had to go through the 2012 season with the devastatingly poor Lotus engine – in hindsight, a season that no racer would wish upon even their most bitter rival – it’s understandable why she wants to make sure she has a competitive program.

But while there are more than two months to go before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 30, there’s only a handful of potential rides remaining to be filled.

Returning to KV opposite Sebastien Bourdais could be an option, but there are also second cars open at Dale Coyne Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Also unconfirmed at this time are drives at Barracuda Racing and Panther Racing (although they recently tested Colombian driver Carlos Huertas at Sebring).

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Sebastien Bourdais

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. A dream start occurred for Sebastien Bourdais and the Dale Coyne Racing team upon their reunion, followed by a nightmare in Indianapolis with a huge crash in qualifying, and ended with a rapid recovery to build confidence for 2018.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda

  • 2016: 14th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 3rd, 1 Podium, 3 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 24 Laps Led, 11.9 Avg. Start, 11.2 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 21st Place (8 Starts), 1 Win, Best Start 6th, 2 Podiums, 2 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 74 Laps Led, 12.4 Avg. Start, 11.0 Avg. Finish

The 2017 campaign for Sebastien Bourdais upon his return to Dale Coyne Racing will forever be known as both a year of “what could have been” and a year of “what a comeback it was.”

The abnormal season for Bourdais stretched eight races with a three-month break in the middle owing to his own mistake qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, which left him with multiple pelvic fractures and a fracture to his right hip. His car was a rocket ship; but after two laps at 231 mph, Bourdais appeared to over-correct and destroyed the wall at Turn 2 in Indy in a massive 127G impact. It was a horrific looking accident, but one that also saw Bourdais rather lucky to have not been injured worse.

It set forth in motion an incredible recovery that saw Bourdais back testing the Monday after Mid-Ohio, just over two months since the accident, then in race action just over three months later at the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park oval, and because Bourdais is a regulation badass, he finished in the top-10 straight out of the box. He worked as hard as he did to return earlier than anticipated to avoid an offseason of questions asking if he’d come back and if he’d be strong enough to do so.

The recovery was a welcome story to end the year after the agony at Indy that stopped a potential title run or certainly top-five in points finish in its tracks. A classic Coyne strategy special vaulted Bourdais from last to first and a popular win in his U.S. hometown of St. Petersburg to kick off the year. A second place at Long Beach backed it up and eighth at Barber kept him atop the standings.

But Indy was shaping up to be an important bounce back weekend after Bourdais got taken out in Phoenix, then incurred an engine failure in the IMS road course race. And then, of course, his loud and violent accident qualifying for the ‘500 changed the course of the season.

After three “almost there” but largely unfulfilling years at KV Racing Technology, Bourdais embraced the family atmosphere back at Coyne along with longtime engineers Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson, determined to continue punching above the team’s weight. He crafted a remarkable story all season and will be keen to fulfill it over the course of a proper full campaign in 2018.