Sebastien Bourdais has posted his latest update on his recovery process from pelvic fractures and hip injuries on Thursday morning, as the Frenchman continues to get back on track after his accident in qualifying May 20 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Bourdais, who was discharged from hospital, returned to IMS track on Indianapolis 500 race day and has since come back home to Florida, said he is progressing well in his recovery and said he is close to walking properly again.
This week is a bit of a tough one for Bourdais, as he isn’t on site in Le Mans with a chance to defend his crown at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as he won the GTE-Pro class in the No. 68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford GT with Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand last year.
However, Bourdais’ stead is being filled by Le Mans rookie Tony Kanaan, who is thoroughly soaking up the experience and admits he has the pressure to try to win to match Bourdais’ shoes!
Kanaan made his Ford GT race debut at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, a race the same trio of Mueller, Hand and Bourdais won here in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“Seb is French, he lives here, and he won the race, so no pressure!! Very, very easy!” Kanaan laughed to reporters at Le Mans this week.
Bourdais told Motorsport.com earlier this week the unexpected upside of his injuries was that he was happy not to be in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ most recent race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Three drivers have taken his place thus far in his No. 18 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing since, with James Davison (Indianapolis 500), Esteban Gutierrez (Detroit) and Tristan Vautier (Texas) on board.
The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.
The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.
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Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.
He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.
“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”
It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).