Sebastien Bourdais and his family returned to the United States six years ago with nothing but the clothes they could pack in their suitcases. Left behind in France were all the physical mementos – his trophies – from the dominant early days of his racing career.
“We didn’t bring anything,” Bourdais said. “We just came with all the luggage, I went to Ikea, and that was that. There was nothing in the house.”
Slowly but surely, Bourdais is building quite a little trophy shelf.
He just added another IndyCar trophy with a second consecutive victory in his hometown of St. Petersburg, and now heads south for IMSA’s Twelve Hours of Sebring, looking for another piece of hardware.
“The shelving is starting to be a little crowded in St. Pete,” said Bourdais, a four-time series champion from Champ Car who ranks sixth on American open wheel’s all-time win list. He has six victories in IndyCar since returning from France in 2012, but has also picked up sports car victories at Sebring, Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Bourdais was part of the overall winning team at Sebring in 2015, but the Ganassi group will be racing for a class victory in GT Le Mans. Bourdais was on the Ganassi team that finished second last year to Corvette Racing.
He also was part of the lineup that finished second in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January to its sister Ganassi team. The two Ganassi entries led all but nine of the 783 laps at Daytona, with Bourdais’ team of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller dominating for nearly 22 hours. They were beat by the Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon lineup on strategy and a faster final pit stop.
It’s a bit similar to the Sebring situation last year, when Corvette Racing handled Bourdais’ Ganassi team by 4.453 seconds.
“We really just put everything on the table,” said Hand. “If you finish second, the one thing you want to make sure of is that you did everything you could to win the race.”