Chip Ganassi Racing adds Sebastien Bourdais in IMSA; expands to second Cadillac

Ganassi Sebastien Bourdais IMSA
IMSA
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Four-time IndyCar champion Sebastien Bourdais will join Chip Ganassi Racing full time in IMSA next season as the DPi team expands to a second Cadillac.

Renger van der Zande will return to Ganassi, which returned to IMSA in 2021 with the No. 01 Cadillac entry after exiting the GT class in 2019. Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn also will join the CGR IMSA team as full-time drivers as Kevin Magnussen exits the organization after a season as van der Zande’s teammate.

Ganassi will announce its driver pairings and endurance drivers before the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Bourdais, who drove part and full time in the NTT IndyCar Series the past two seasons for A.J. Foyt Racing, made three IMSA starts in 2021 with JDC-Miller Motorsports. The Frenchman had the closing drive with the No. 5 Cadillac for a victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

He drove a Ford GT for Ganassi from 2017-19, helping secure a class win in the 2017 Rolex 24.

“I’m super excited to reunite with Chip Ganassi Racing,” Bourdais said in a release. “We have had our fair share of successes in the past, and I can’t wait to start working with the drivers like Renger, Earl and Alex. This is obviously a bit of a turning point in my career that will see me transitioning most of my attention to sports car racing, but I remain in the GM family. I can’t thank everyone involved enough for their trust and continued support. I am convinced Cadillac, Chip, Mike (Hull), Steve (Eriksen, team manager) and the entire team will give us all the tools we need to drive our cars to victory lane.”

In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, Bourdais indicated A.J. Foyt Racing still was working on possibly having him drive IndyCar part time in 2022.

Lynn is a veteran of Formula E and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Bamber will be making his debut with Cadillac after excelling as a Porsche driver in IMSA (winning the 2019 GTLM championship. He also won the overall 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 and ’17.

“I am incredibly excited and honored to join Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing for 2022,” Bamber said in a release. “When you talk about legendary sports car racing teams you think of CGR. They’ve already won their class at Le Mans. It’s a world class team and it is amazing to see what they’ve done in their first year with the Cadillac DPi-V.R. I am also excited to race in the top class of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship.

“I don’t know who my direct teammate will be, but the lineup that the team has put together is awesome and world class. Renger is a Daytona and championship winner already. Sebastien is someone I’ve looked up to as a kid when he was in Champ Car and IndyCar. Alex with his Formula E and sports car experience is fast as well. We have a nice mix of talent from different racing series. My personal hope is to win at Daytona. It has eluded me for many years as I have finished on the podium multiple times. I would also love to win some of the other highlight races and the team and driver’s championship.”

Said van der Zande, a two-time Rolex 24 winner: “It is great news to have Sebastien, Alex, and Earl as new teammates. They are all high-class, proven race car drivers. I think they will be a good fit with the team. Sebastien has done everything in the world, he has a lot of raw speed. I know Earl very well from our junior series and he’s an LMP1 overall winner. Alex comes to us from Formula E and has a lot of sports car experience. I feel great about coming back with the Chip Ganassi Racing team. I feel more at home than ever with them. They put a lot of responsibility on everyone. Chip and Mike Hull run a great operation, that is why they have been successful. Although I can’t wait until next year, we still have Petit Le Mans coming up, so we need to finish 2021 strong.”

Magnussen and van der Zande will close out their partnership in the No. 01 during the Motul Petit Le Mans season finale Nov. 13 at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III