INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais is one of the most decorated open-wheel drivers of his era. He dominated Champ Car in the pre-reunification years, winning four straight championships. He has started on the pole at the Indianapolis 500.
Put on fenders and a roof, and he becomes a winner, teaming with Venezuelan Alex Popow to take the checkered flag in the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix three-hour race. It was the first sports car race to be held at Indianapolis, and the first auto race on the road course in five years.
Bourdais worked his way from fourth to first in the span of two laps, taking the lead for good with an outside pass going into Turn 1, and then pulling away to a four-second lead. He held off the field on multiple late restarts to give his Starworks Motorsport team the victory.
Bourdais and Popow completed 91 laps in three hours, joining Ray Harroun, Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher as the winners of inaugural auto racing events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“That was a pretty special day,” Bourdais said. “Coming out of the test, I knew the car was really good. We kicked a (1:)21.9 (lap), nobody had done that. This morning, it was fastest again. I thought, ‘we’ve really got a shot at this.’
“It’s really cool to come out here and kiss the bricks. I’ll take that any day.”