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Cadillac hurt by mid-season IMSA tire switch, says Bourdais

Sebastien Bourdais feels Cadillac's IMSA SportsCar Championship form has suffered due to a mid-season switch in Michelin's tire compounds.

#01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh: Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Bourdais, co-driver of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R with Renger van der Zande, made the remark as he shared his thoughts on the team's progress ahead of the Battle on the Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on September 17.

The 44-year-old Frenchman said something that has caught his attention in particular is the change in tire compounds that began three races ago in the Six Hours of The Glen.

“We can see that some cars use the tires better than others depending on the conditions,” Bourdais said. “We’ve been using the harder tire from Michelin ever since Watkins Glen and it’s definitely flipped the order a little bit.

"The Cadillacs were a bit happier on softer compounds, taking better care of the tires. Now that it’s the harder tire through the summer and it’s going to hold true at Indy, it has been harder for us to extract the most out of it and others have been able to kind of pop up in terms of performance.

"It’s interesting to see the evolution track to track and circumstances after another. I think it’s all very close. The BoP [Balance of Performance] has worked well. It’s been good racing and we’ve seen a lot of different winners, so I think the crowd has a lot to look forward to.

“For us, the GTP has been quite different because it’s a heavier car with better tires but more weight with a lot less downforce, so it’s a different combination and you have to be more patient with the car but you still have to push rally hard. The racing has been ferocious, so you have to earn it.”

 

The 2023 season began solidly for Bourdais, recording a third-place finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona before capturing his lone with of the season thus far at Laguna Seca in early May.

However, since the Six Hours of the Glen, the #01 car has not been able to finish higher than fourth, leaving Bourdais and van der Zande sixth in the overall standings with two races to go.

“It’s a completely new car and we at Cadillac have not really been in a different position than anybody else,” Bourdais said. “We’re figuring things out along the way.

"It was good to go testing [at IMS]; it was really the first test to prepare for Indy since Sebring. So, we learned quite a bit of things about the car, and we went to Road America and it was definitely beneficial. We were on pace and happier right away.

"The race weekend didn’t necessarily turn out the way we wanted, but it definitely felt like we found a step in terms of pace. It’s a classification that changes a lot.”

Bourdais goes into the IMSA event at IMS as a former winner in 2012, taking glory with co-driver Alex Popow in a Daytona Prototype during the Grand-Am days on the previous 2.534-mile configuration (now 2.439-mile).

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