Bourdais not happy with his car entering Indy 500

INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
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INDIANAPOLIS – A driver starting seventh in the 33-driver starting lineup for Sunday’s 103rdIndianapolis 500 should be optimistic entering the race.

Meet Sebastien Bourdais of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser and Sullivan.

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The four-time Champ Car Series champion was not happy with his race car after No. 18 Sealmaster Honda after Friday’s final practice session as part of “Carb Day” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Bourdais was sixth-fastest in the 90-minute final practice session with a lap at 225.288 miles per hour. But afterwards, Bourdais sounded like he was driving a Sherman Tank.

“The car felt about as bad as we could hope for,” Bourdais said. “I don’t know what happened. I don’t recognize the car. It’s super-low on grip. We’ll have to take a look at it and get ready for the race.”

NBC asked Bourdais if the track conditions will allow closer racing?

“Not, me,” Bourdais said. “Not me. We don’t have anything. I was 20 cars back. We are looking for grip and that is a tough thing to do.

“That’s the worst-case scenario when you show up on Carb Day and the car is a mess.”

Bourdais’s engineer is one of the best in INDYCAR, Craig Hampson. He was Bourdais’s engineer at Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing during the four-straight Champ Car Series championships.

Hampson is generally likeable and helpful when asked about the car, but on Friday, he was puzzled.

“We’re going to have to go back in the garage and pore over all of the data to see what the issue is,” Hampson told NBC

It should be noted that Bourdais generally has a depressed outlook about his fortunes heading into a race and is generally one of the best drivers in the field. But unless his car is perfect entering a race, the driver from France can have a less-than-optimistic outlook.

Bourdais has 37 career IndyCar Series wins including 31 in Champ Car. He starts his eighth Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. His best finish was seventh in 2014.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.