Report: Sebastien Bourdais signs two-year deal with KV

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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.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.