TEAM CENTRIX DRIVER BOURDAIS PASSED ROOKIE ORIENTATION TODAY; PREPARES FOR PRACTICE TOMORROW OVERALL: The annual Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) allows rookies to get up to speed gradually. The rookies must complete 10 consecutive laps at ...
TEAM CENTRIX DRIVER BOURDAIS PASSED ROOKIE ORIENTATION TODAY; PREPARES FOR PRACTICE TOMORROW
OVERALL: The annual Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) allows rookies to get up to speed gradually. The rookies must complete 10 consecutive laps at different speed levels. Phase 1 is 195 to 200 mph; Phase 2 is 200 to 205 mph; Phase 3 is 205 to 210 mph while Phase 4 is 10 consecutive laps above 210 mph. Bourdais and the Team CENTRIX crew passed the third and fourth phase by 3:30 p.m. CT today and were allowed to continue to gain experience until the end of practice at 5:00 p.m. They ran a total of 77 laps with a best lap time of 219.421 mph. The fastest speed of the day was set by Danica Patrick (222.741 mph).
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 37 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: "This place is legendary. It's a racetrack you have to treat with a lot of respect. I'm really happy that CENTRIX made this possible for me; they were going to run one car for Bruno but expanded their involvement for a second car for me. I didn't know what to expect here, I've got absolutely no experience. It was really important for me to participation in ROP because I've never driven an IRL car before.
"The only time I drove an open-wheel car with low downforce was in September of 2003 at a test in Fontana. For me, on Superspeedways, we are really starting from scratch. Since 1999 in my first participation in Le Mans, I have always liked driving different cars under different circumstances with different teams. You are enlarging your possibilities in front of you for your career. You can use this experience bit by bit and I know it has helped me a lot. I have been able to get up to speed a lot quicker in the different situations I have been in because of it.
"The team has been working their behinds off. There was too much work to be ready in time but it took the pressure off of me. At the end of the day I felt good in the car and I'm ready to start testing."
FAST FACTS: Will be his Indy 500. Had not even sat in an IndyCar until April 18 when he had a seat fitting. Ran his first laps in an IndyCar during the two-day Rookie Orientation Program beginning Sunday, April 8....OVAL SUCCESS: Has won two oval races (Germany 2003 & Las Vegas 2004) and one pole on an oval (Germany 2003)...VIVA FRANCE!: Only four Frenchmen have won the Indy 500: Jules Goux (1913, Paris), Rene Thomas (1914, Paris), Gaston Chevrolet (1920, Beaune) and Gil de Ferran (2003, Paris although he lists Sao Paulo, Brazil as his hometown). ..LEADS 2005 CCWS STANDINGS: Ended a series active record for most top-three starts at 15 with his fourth place qualifying effort at the season-opener in Long Beach but led a total of 37 laps and drove to victory in an exciting race that had seven different leaders. Holds a 34-29 lead over Paul Tracy.