Bourdais dominates IndyCar Toronto race one (VIDEO)

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TORONTO – Welcome back, Sebastien Bourdais.

The “bespectacled badass” turned in a drive Sunday in the first of the Honda Indy 2 in Toronto that was reminiscent of his glory years in Champ Car, when he won 31 races and four consecutive championships for Newman/Haas Racing from 2004 to 2007.

Driving the No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet, Bourdais won his first race since Mexico City, 2007 after leading a majority of Sunday’s first 65-lap race from pole position. The win occurs in Bourdais’ sponsor’s near home city, as Hydroxycut is based in the Toronto suburb of Oakville, Ontario.

“This is really sweet, man. That one didn’t come easy,” Bourdais told IMS Radio Network’s Nick Yeoman in victory lane. “We had to come and wait for a long time. The stars aligned. I was not expecting it, I know how things can go. Things played out in the end.

Last year we were second and third, so we had to win this one.”

The win is KV Racing’s first since the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with Tony Kanaan and additionally the team’s first podium finish as well. Bourdais is the ninth different winner and 18th different podium finisher this season; KV’s first podium of the year means only A.J. Foyt Enterprises, of full-time teams, has yet to record a top-three finish in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Brazilians Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan finished second and third for Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing, respectively. Castroneves will extend his points lead while Kanaan’s race featured contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay toward the end of the race, exiting Turn 3.

Simon Pagenaud rebounded from early contact with Luca Filippi to finish fourth; Pagenaud will gain points on Will Power in the championship race as well, as the Australian finished ninth. Toronto double winner in 2013, Scott Dixon, finished fifth.

This afternoon’s second race from Toronto sees coverage begin at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, while the green flag time is set for 4:15 p.m. ET.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.