Sebastien Bourdais fulfills family dream, wins Le Mans with Ford

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Sebastien Bourdais’ win as part of the lineup with Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in the No. 68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford GT in GTE-Pro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the best stories to come out of Ford’s win, 50 years later, after its 1-2-3 result in 1966.

He grew up in the city and it’s been the race he’s wanted to win since being born there in February 1979.

Bourdais had the opportunity to go back to Le Mans this year for the first time since 2012. He’s been back in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2011, with 2011 and 2012 years on a part-time basis before resuming full-time in 2013, and thus tied up when Le Mans has popped up.

Luckily the calendars didn’t clash this year and with the Le Mans date open, Bourdais was a natural fit for the Ford program. He’s experienced, available and still plenty quick.

Bourdais had raced at Le Mans 10 times before, and his father Patrick also had nine starts there. The only time the two of them raced in the same Le Mans was in 2004, Sebastian in a Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo C60 Judd and Patrick in a Panoz GTP.

For Sebastien though, having had three overall runner-up results in 2007, 2009 and 2011, winning seemed far off. The 2011 result in particular – when he, Simon Pagenaud and Pedro Lamy came up short by 13 seconds and change in a Peugeot 908 – stung.

But Sunday Bourdais got his overdue Le Mans win, even with it being a class triumph compared to overall.

“Words come short in explaining what this weekend’s result means to me and my family,” Bourdais wrote Monday in a tweet after the race, linked below, before Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull added his thoughts of thanks.

Bourdais will now resume his day job – trying to beat Chip Ganassi Racing while driving for the KVSH Racing team – in the Verizon IndyCar Series with this weekend’s KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”