INDYCAR’s Bourdais forced into double-duty with IMSA at Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, California – Sebastien Bourdais has no time to lose this weekend at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He has been called in to substitute for Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT driver Joey Hand in Saturday’s BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach IMSA race.

The 40-year-old Bourdais will also compete in all NTT IndyCar Series practice, qualifications and the race in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan.

“I’m definitely going to be very busy,” Bourdais told NBC Sports.com Thursday at Long Beach. “I’m not much of a nap guy anyway.”

Watch Sunday’s race at 4:30 pm ET on NBCSN or the NBC Sports app

Bourdais will co-drive the No. 66 Ford GT with Dirk Mueller on Saturday. Bourdais also drove with Hand and Mueller in the first two races of the IMSA season, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. In the latter, they earned a second-place finish in the GT Le Mans class.

“I like it; it’s something I enjoy doing,” Bourdais said. “I’ve never driven anything other than a Champ Car or Indy car here so it will be interesting to discover something new. I’m never too old to discover new things.

“I just needed to get Dale Coyne’s approval and he said, fine.”

According to Chip Ganassi Racing, Hand has “flu-like symptoms.” Bourdais drives for Ganassi’s IMSA team in the long endurance races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule and in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Although we’re disappointed for Joey, we’re also fortunate to have someone like Sebastien who can step right in this weekend,” said Ford motorsport boss Mark Rushbrook. “We’re grateful Dale Coyne Racing will allow him to do double-duty with the IndyCar race this weekend. Seb already has so many miles in the Ford GT, and knows the team and crew so well, that it’s the perfect solution.”

It will be a busy weekend as Bourdais will be the only driver competing in both major races at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Qualifying for the IMSA race is Friday afternoon after INDYCAR has two practice sessions. IMSA also has a 45-minute practice.

The 100-minute BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix begins at 2:06PM (Pacific Time) on Saturday, immediately after Bourdais competes in the knockout qualifying format INDYCAR uses on road and street courses.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Bourdais said. “I like to be busy. I don’t need rest. I’m looking forward to the challenge and helping those guys out. I’m really sad for Joey. It’s a race that counts for him and that’s loss of points. Hopefully, we can cheer him up a little bit.

“All I can do is drive the wheels off the thing here at Long Beach.”

Bourdais is a three-time winner at Long Beach during his first tenure as an IndyCar driver back in Champ Car. He won from 2005-2007 when he was with Newman-Haas Racing.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race