IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
3 days
23 Apr
Next event in
10 days
R
Texas
30 Apr
Next event in
17 days
R
Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 1
14 May
Next event in
31 days
28 May
Next event in
45 days
R
Detroit
11 Jun
Next event in
59 days
R
Road America
18 Jun
Next event in
66 days
R
Mid-Ohio
02 Jul
Next event in
80 days
R
Toronto
09 Jul
Next event in
87 days
06 Aug
Next event in
115 days
R
Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 2
13 Aug
Next event in
122 days
R
Gateway
20 Aug
Next event in
129 days
R
Portland
10 Sep
Next event in
150 days
R
Laguna Seca
17 Sep
Next event in
157 days
R
Long Beach
24 Sep
Next event in
164 days

Foyt hiring Bourdais was the clincher for ROKiT boss

Jonathan Kendrick, co-founder of ROKiT, says that the team landing a talented former champion such as Sebastien Bourdais is what convinced him to back the #14 A.J. Foyt Racing-Chevrolet.

Foyt hiring Bourdais was the clincher for ROKiT boss

Bourdais won the final four Champ Car titles, 2004-’07, before Indy car racing reunified in 2008, and several victories since then have brought him to a total of 37 – sixth in the all-time standings.

Last Saturday, the 42-year-old Frenchman also added to his roster of sportscar triumphs – which already included two at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, one at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and one at Petit Le Mans – by winning the Twelve Hours of Sebring for a second time, in a JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac.

Loic Duval, Sebastien Bourdais, Tristan Vautier celebrate their Sebring 12hrs victory in the JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac.

Loic Duval, Sebastien Bourdais, Tristan Vautier celebrate their Sebring 12hrs victory in the JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac.

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

On Tuesday, ROKiT, a business incubator with a portfolio of companies that includes mobile phones, WiFi deployment, beverages, 3D content production and distribution of movies and music, was confirmed as sponsoring the #14 entry that will this year be driven full-time by Bourdais, and which team founder and Indy car icon AJ Foyt made famous.

Kendrick, who co-founded ROKiT with John-Paul DeJoria, had been talking with AJ Foyt Racing president Larry Foyt for seven years, but the decision to hire Bourdais – and the apparent progress of the Waller, TX.-based squad – is what persuaded him to enter into a partnership.

“It’s about brand recognition. It does marvelous things for the brand… and it is very important that the ROKiT brand is out there… So that was the first reason.

“And having that driver line-up for us was very, very important. I know who [Sebastien] is, obviously, and I know his capabilities. So that clinched it for me. And Larry hasn’t been completely truthful with you: he’s done a lot more with the car this year than he’s letting on! So there’s that.

“And then there’s the [livery] design. I could have stolen his design and put it in another championship, I suppose, but I’m not that sort of guy. Or maybe I am!”

Regarding ROKiT’s activation around events, Kendrick said: “We want to bring a lot of people to the races. We have a lot of dealers in our drinks division, a lot of distributors. We actually did the opposite during COVID: instead of getting rid of people, we actually went out and employed 200 people, just in California, and we’re doing the same in Florida and New York, to sell our drinks.

“But it’s really ROKiT Cities (providing WiFi networks in cities) that is our big one, our goal. We already have 116 countries around the world that want to WiFi the city, so you can walk or drive around a city and have constant connectivity over WiFi, not cellular. So this is perfect for us. We’ve done one little test in Austin, TX., and this [partnership with AJ Foyt Racing] is a means for us to bring dignitaries, mayors, governors, and say, ‘Look at what we’re doing.’ And hopefully we can persuade enough of them to get a franchise for getting WiFi in the city.”

Larry Foyt backed up his new partner’s optimism.

“We feel like the whole engineering program is in a good spot,” he said, echoing his and team technical director Mike Colliver’s comments after seeing Bourdais top the test at Barber Motorsports Park last month, and Bourdais’ own comments earlier this month. “They’ve all come together, everyone’s pulling in the same direction.

 

Photo by: A.J. Foyt Racing

“With COVID and things slowing down, we were able to catch up. Once the season starts in IndyCar, you’re so busy and so with the longer winter we had, we were really able to get to the bottom of engineering programs and initiatives that we’d started a couple of years ago. We were gathering all this data but didn’t really have the manpower to decipher it all and fully understand it. But the group we have together now is doing a really good job of that.

“And then obviously having Sebastien come in… and from the technical side he can really help too: His feedback is amazing. He’s always thinking about winning races and that’s shown in the testing. We’re not out there trying to do qualifying runs: the car’s just been quick and Seb’s been quick, so everything feels really good right now…

“We really feel like we can have our best season in many, many years.”

Foyt, who admitted that so far the deal is just for one year, says he and Kendrick have not set specific targets regarding what should be achieved in order for the partnership to continue into 2022 and/or beyond.

“I don’t think we’ve promised anything, other than the fact that we’re headed up to the right end of the grid,” he said. “We feel there are certainly some tracks where we have a chance to be very good, especially after some of the winter testing. And we know Seb is very good particularly on street courses, and we had a great test on [a road course] at Barber. So I feel like there are some places where we can be extremely competitive as long as we do all the right things as a team.

“It’s tough in IndyCar as I say, but we’ve just been trying to show JK we’re headed in the right direction, we’re not cutting any corners. I don’t think we’ve said, ‘We have to win,’ – but we want to be able to win and put ourselves in a position to win. And I definitely feel like we’re going to have some podiums with Seb and hopefully get that win. So that’s the goal.”

Kendrick added: “Larry did promise me one thing. That if we get some good results, he’d shave off his beard and look normal!” To which Foyt responded: “Yeah, that is a promise. If we win, I’ll never wear a beard again, I promise you that.”

Larry Foyt, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet.

Larry Foyt, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet.

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

shares
comments

Related video

Schmidt, Arrow still inspiring with latest SAM Corvette

Previous article

Schmidt, Arrow still inspiring with latest SAM Corvette

Next article

IMSA rejoins IndyCar for Detroit GP weekend

IMSA rejoins IndyCar for Detroit GP weekend
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais
Teams A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Author David Malsher-Lopez
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car? Prime

Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car?

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indy car game-changer that won three Indy 500s in six years.

IndyCar
Dec 23, 2020
How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost Prime

How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost

Josef Newgarden was our pick as top IndyCar driver of 2020 but his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield the championship. David Malsher-Lopez explains why.

IndyCar
Dec 18, 2020
2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year Prime

2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year

David Malsher-Lopez explains how the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series was unlike any other, and why it featured familiar and unfamiliar faces competing for glory.

IndyCar
Nov 27, 2020
How Dixon won his sixth IndyCar title, in his own words Prime

How Dixon won his sixth IndyCar title, in his own words

Chip Ganassi Racing’s newly crowned six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon takes us round by round through his remarkable season. David Malsher-Lopez listens.

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2020