By Eric Mauk: One of the more versatile drivers on the planet will take on a new challenge as Sebastien Bourdais joins Starworks Motorsport for this weekend’s Grand-Am event at Watkins Glen
One of the more versatile drivers on the planet will take on another new challenge as four-time Indy Car champion Sebastien Bourdais joins Starworks Motorsport for this weekend’s Grand-Am Rolex Series six-hour event at Watkins Glen.
The Indy Car star has the weekend off from his part-time obligations with Dragon Racing and will partner with former open-wheel driver Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio in the team’s Ford/Riley Daytona Prototype.
“I think it just says about how determined we are to try to get a result here at the Glen,” said team owner Peter Baron. “We had Bourdais on our radar screen and thought, let's do this; let's go get Bourdais. We think the guy is incredibly fast and he knows these cars a bit, knows the track. And for us, it was the best person we could think to put in the car to work on bringing forth our 24 program as well as helping us try and win this race here.”
This weekend is vital to the championship aspirations of Starworks Motorsport as they find themselves trailing the series-leading Ganassi Racing machine of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas by five points.
We had Bourdais on our radar screen and thought, let's do this; let's go get Bourdais. We think the guy is incredibly fast
Along with his vast open-wheel experience, Bourdais has competed at the top level of a number of endurance sportscar formats and counts a pair of runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of his lengthy list of accomplishments. He has experience in the DP machines as well, having competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2005, 2006 and 2010.
“Yeah, for us, we wanted somebody that not only had DP experience but we wanted Watkins Glen experience,” Dalziel said. “I know him from back Champ Car days and looking forward to having him in the car. We are going to Watkins Glen not to make up numbers but we are going there to win, and we think that Bourdais is going to be a really excellent choice for us.”
Starworks had considered both Michael Valiante and Stephane Sarrazin to partner with Dalziel and Potolicchio at the Glen, but Sarrazin was injured in a biking accident and Valiante – who has spent some time in the Spirit of Daytona DP car this year – didn’t offer the team the degree of confidentiality that Starworks was looking for.
“We were actually very close to doing something with Michael, but it just didn't materialize in the end,” Dalziel admitted. “You know, he had some other opportunities. You know, as teams that are -- essentially our team right now, we are not really keen on sharing too much of our information with other teams. So that was a little bit of a stumbling block. But Bourdais is somebody obviously we've had on our radar for a long time.”