Sebastien Bourdais has been named today as the driver of the car being vacated by Tony Kanaan. The four time Champ Car World Series champion joins the team after a 2 year stint at Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing.
“I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and Sulli for this opportunity,” said Bourdais.” The fact that we have an agreement with KVSH Racing so early, and that I have a two-year contract, means we have the opportunity to develop as a team. I am looking forward to meeting the crew and getting started with testing as soon as possible. I also want to thank Jay and all the guys at Dragon Racing for their support over the last two seasons. I wish them the best of luck in the future.”
Since winning his last Champ Car championship, Bourdais tried a stint in Formula 1 driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso, where he struggled substantially and only scored 6 points. Also joined the factory Peugeot sports car team around that time where he finished 2nd at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 3 times and finished 2nd at the 12 Hours of Sebring twice.
His return to IndyCar has not had the wins and poles that his Champ Car stint has had, but he has had signs of greatness. During the second half of this season Bourdais has pulled off some great drives to score 5 top tens in the last 7 races, including 3 podiums at the Toronto doubleheader and Baltimore. The Baltimore drive showed that the Frenchman still has talent behind the wheel when he made a banzai move on Simon Pagenaud right as he took the lead from Marco Andretti.
At the first two races of the 2012 season, Bourdais made the underpowered Lotus what it wasn’t by running inside the top 10 at St. Petersburg until the motor quit and charging from 17th to 9th at Barber.
With Bourdais signed, this leaves Simona de Silvestro’s status with the team to be determined. De Silvestro and her management team only had a 1 year deal with KV Racing. Signing Kanaan’s replacement was the teams top priority, and a decision will likely be made soon on who will drive the second car at KV Racing.