Champ Car Titlewinner Sebastien Bourdais Chosen as Driver of the Year by Readers

INDIANAPOLIS (January 3, 2005) -- Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored just one of his seven Champ Car World Series victories in Canada this season but the Newman/Haas Racing pilot made a big impression with Canadian racing fans on his way to winning the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford championship.

Bourdais was selected as the Champion of Champions in voting conducted on the TSN website, official website of the Canadian sports cable network. The Frenchman received 51 percent of the votes to outdistance Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, who scored 32 percent of the vote.

Bourdais won from pole at last year's Molson Indy Toronto, leading 75 of 84 laps en route to the victory. He led laps at each of the Canadian events in 2004 including a race-high 26 in Montreal in a race where he won the pole. He started third and scored a top-five finish in Vancouver as well and has led laps in four of the six Champ Car races he has run on Canadian soil.

The honor marks the second consecutive season that voters have named the Champ Car World Series champion as their choice, as Ontario native Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) took the honor in 2003 after claiming his first Champ Car title.

World Rally Championship titlist Sebastien Loeb finished third in the voting followed by NASCAR champ Kurt Busch, Indy Racing League winner Tony Kanaan, World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser and NHRA Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher.

The honor adds to the growing list of accolades for the Champ Car titlewinner as Bourdais was named North American open-wheel driver of the year by and was also selected as a first-team All-American by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.