CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing April 4, 2006 Champ Car World Series The Champ Car World Series drivers take to the streets of Long Beach this weekend for the 2006 season opener -- Grand Prix of Long Beach.. Two-time defending champion Sebastien...

This Week in Ford Racing
April 4, 2006

Champ Car World Series

The Champ Car World Series drivers take to the streets of Long Beach this weekend for the 2006 season opener -- Grand Prix of Long Beach.. Two-time defending champion Sebastien Bourdais discusses racing with his dad during the offseason, a Sebring victory, his May wedding and preparations for the upcoming season.

Racing has season has begun for NASCAR, IRL and other race divisions, are you excited about the season? Are you looking forward to getting start racing again? "Well, for me the season started a few months ago. I was in Daytona racing with my dad (for the 24 Hours of Daytona), not that I went further in the race, but I did do one stint -- it was good. Then we went to Sebring for the 12 Hours and won with the Ford engine in the Panoz Esperante. We are on the right track and seems like it's going to be a good season so far. Hopefully, everything will prove to be right and we will definitely have a good one."

Did racing at Sebring help you prepare you the Champ Car season? "Well, it is seat time. You can't compare a GT2 to a Champ Car, but still it is always good to have some seat time and enjoy yourself and I really did. I had two great teammates, David Brabham and Scott Maxwell. It's always cool to get back to it and win a race."

Do you think you keep in touch with Scott Maxwell and other drivers throughout the season? "I only met Scott in Daytona because he was there to help us out with the Mustang program. He's a really cool guy. Yeah, we will probably stay in touch and maybe I'll do give another run at it for Petite LeMans and the other 12-hour race. They might want me to help out again."

Next time you race with Scott, I hope you do as well as you did in the last race. Yeah, me too (laughs)!

With two straight Champ Car World Series Championship titles under your belt, is there pressure to win a third? "Well, the pressure is always there. Is there any added pressure? I don't know -- I'm not too much of a pressure guy, I kind of take it one at a time and give my best. When you give 100% there's not much more you can do. That really helps me manage the mystic thing around racing that everybody says 'pressure here or pressure there.' There's only so much I can give and I usually give my best every time out, so I think it is really all a matter of putting the everything together at the right chemistry for the past two seasons and hopefully will still have the winning package. It has not been a flawless winter for us. We lost two engineers on Bruno's side to RuSport, so we moved some people around and we know we lost some knowledge. It's not going to be easy for sure, but in the meantime, I think we had a very productive winter and the engineers worked really hard in found some interesting racing pursuits and hopefully, we will have an advantage that the others won't have. I guess we won't have to wait very long to check it out."

With Long Beach just around the corner, how will a wider turn one affect the race? "No one can say what it really going to do to the start of the race in Long Beach, not one of these guys, so I think it can go either way. It can become extremely wide and then temptation is extremely high and people get all crazy about the stop or just helping to make turn one flawless. You can't know before it really happens, I think it can go either way, really."

SO YOU RECOMMEND WATCHING TURN ONE THROUGHOUT LONG BEACH? "I think turn one might be extremely interesting (laughs)! I don't think turn one is never not interesting, but there is usually quite a bit of action happening, but I think this year it might be more interesting."

HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THE 2006 SEASON? "Physically, I changed my preparation; I needed to find something a little different. I've been kayaking for the last six months because we moved to a house by the water in Florida and I'm enjoying that. It's very good -- it's the only sport you can work out the upper body on long runs. I think it is paying the dividends; hopefully, I'm right. I definitely felt good during the testing in Sebring."

OUR WEDDING DATE IS FAST APPROACHING. HOW ARE THE WEDDING PLANS?

"There have been quite a few changes in our life; we moved into our house in August last year. Tara and I are getting married on May 6, and that's pretty exciting, and it is the week before Houston. The only downside of it, it is not the best date, but we are only available on three dates between Long Beach and Houston, 22, 29 and May 6, and May 6 was the last date that we wanted to pick. But if we didn't do it that way, we would have to wait another year and we felt it was the time to do it. Planning has been difficult to put it all together in such a short amount of time, but it worked out and it's going to be great. I'm pretty excited about it."

WILL WE SEE YOU IN HOUSTON? "(Laughs) Yeah! We are going to delay the honeymoon until September or something. We have about a month off in the middle of summer so that would be an appropriate time to take a break and breathe a little bit."

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS YEAR? ANY THOUGHTS ON THE NEW COURSES? "Obviously, once you've won the series, the only thing you can hope for is to try and repeat. It should be an exceptional season for the McDonald's team and we know it can very quickly turn around, so we are going to work very hard and try to keep the momentum going -- but that's the toughest part. To get to the top is one thing, to stay there is another one. We are very much aware of that, so we believe we can maintain that level performance and our edge on everybody else. They are going to try and chase us down and it's not going to be easy so we are going to work really hard and count the points at the end of the season. The biggest problem was that one of our engineers went to RuSport. That's a bummer, because he's leaving with some important knowledge, and ability is always very important to a race team. That's a pretty major step back but in the meantime we need to keep moving forward, and that's what we did -- regroup and said, Okay, it is going to be a tough challenge.' We are not going to have it upset us, we know it is going to be a little harder, but I believe we have found new things that will give us a little edge over the others. But you will only be able to check it out on the track."

-ford racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers David Brabham , Scott Maxwell , Sébastien Bourdais