CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais selected to 2005 IROC

2004 Champ Car World Series titlewinner Sebastien Bourdais to participate in 2005 International Race of Champions series. INDIANAPOLIS (January 19, 2005) -- Winning the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford ...

2004 Champ Car World Series titlewinner Sebastien Bourdais to participate in 2005 International Race of Champions series.

INDIANAPOLIS (January 19, 2005) -- Winning the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford championship has opened doors for Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), but the Frenchman is finding that doors and fenders are now open to him as he will get a chance to compete in this year's Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series.

Bourdais will be the first Champ Car driver since 2001 to compete in the all-star competition, which brings drivers from a number of different series together for four races to be conducted in identically-prepared sports cars. Bourdais earned the invitation after a dominant 2004 campaign that saw him win seven races and eight poles en route to his first Champ Car title.

"I am very honored that I was chosen to compete in the IROC series," Bourdais said. "It will be a great opportunity to discover something new; new tracks, different cars and a different form of racing. I am looking forward to the experience and I will try to represent the Champ Car World Series as best I can."

Champ Car luminaries such as Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby and Al Unser, Gordon Johncock, Bobby Rahal, A.J. Foyt, Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Jr. have all captured race wins in the all-star series. Unser Jr. is the last open-wheel driver to win an IROC championship, taking the title in 1988, and is tied with the late Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin as the all-time leaders in IROC race wins with 11. Kenny Brack is the last Champ Car driver to represent the series in IROC competition, finishing third in the 2001 championship.

"We are very pleased that the organizers of the IROC series have invited our champion to compete this year," said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. "Champ Car has a long and successful history in IROC and we expect Sebastien will do everything he can to carry on the legacy."

The IROC series has been a proving ground for Champ Car stars ever since its inception in 1973 when Champ Car and road-racing star Mark Donohue won the first IROC race. The series will begin its season February 18 at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Raceway, followed by events April 15 at Texas, September 8 at Richmond and October 29 in Atlanta. Champ Car broadcast partner SPEED Channel will air the IROC events on a tape-delayed basis.

He will be matched against 11 other drivers from U.S.-based series including series champions from NASCAR Nextel Cup (Kurt Busch), NASCAR Busch Series (Martin Truex Jr.), NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (Bobby Hamilton), Rolex Grand American Series (Max Papis and Scott Pruett) and the World of Outlaws (Steve Kinser). NASCAR drivers Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, Indy Racing League drivers Buddy Rice and Helio Castroneves and World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski will round out the star-studded field.

Bourdais competed in a similar event in December, participating in the Michelin Race Of Champions in Paris. The 16-man event saw Bourdais matched against the world's top drivers including stars from Formula 1, the World Rally Championship and NASCAR.

-ccws-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kurt Busch , Al Unser Jr. , Helio Castroneves , Max Papis , Bobby Rahal , Kenny Brack , Scott Pruett , Mario Andretti , Al Unser Sr. , Danny Sullivan , Danny Lasoski , Sébastien Bourdais , Steve Kinser , Buddy Rice , Martin Truex Jr. , Emerson Fittipaldi , Gordon Johncock , A.J. Foyt , Mark Donohue , Mark Martin