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.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.