Sebastien Bourdais says he feels “a lot of anticipation” for his first full-time sports car drive in nine years with IMSA Cadillac DPi squad JDC-Miller Motorsports.
The longtime IndyCar driver joined JDC late last year following his departure from Dale Coyne Racing’s open-wheel program.
Bourdais will share the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R on a full-time basis with two-time IMSA prototype champion Joao Barbosa, while the pair will be joined by Loic Duval for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.
Bourdais, whose last full-time sports car drive came with the Peugeot LMP1 squad in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, told Sportscar365 that he is looking forward to a new challenge with a team he hasn’t worked with before.
“They’re pretty new to the scene on the high level having pro drivers but I think they’ve done a great job and they’re a dedicated group of people,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to working for the whole season with them. The size of the team is smaller compared to IndyCar organizations, so it functions a little bit differently.
“But there are always very experienced people behind the wheel and good people leading the team with good engineers and mechanics.
“Sometimes, smaller structures are easier to work with.
“There are always positives and negatives: there are limitations and there’s less inertia. But a bit more of a family atmosphere because you work with a limited group of people.
“The Mazda situation and the Acura situations are bit different, but there’s no works team in the Cadillac stable, so it’s smaller entities working closely with Cadillac and it’s obviously working pretty well.”
“It’s going to be my first [full-season] time in IMSA or any of the former series.
“It’s fun, with great tracks that are similar to those in IndyCar. It’s a cool program and I’m looking forward to it. There is quite a lot of anticipation and I’m excited.”
Bourdais’ deal with JDC-Miller will reunite him with his former Action Express co-driver Barbosa.
As part of AXR’s extended endurance lineup, Bourdais partnered Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi to victory in the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 2015 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
“He’s just a really good guy, a very reliable teammate,” said Bourdais when asked about his previous work with Barbosa.
“He’s got a lot of experience so it’s always great to work with him. We’ve always worked well together so we’re looking forward to it.
“I think we’ve got all the things we need to do good things. It’s just a matter of getting it done now.”
No Time to Test Cadillac DPi Before Roar
Bourdais admitted that the late confirmation of his place in the lineup meant that his first laps aboard the Cadillac DPi couldn’t come until the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
When a potential return to Dale Coyne for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series fell through in late November, Bourdais locked in his IMSA drive, however this came too late to start testing.
The four-time Champ Car champion said that he hasn’t conducted any simulator training with the Cadillac DPi package either.
However, he tallied up a total of 64 laps in the Roar pre-season test, which was the most of JDC’s three-man No. 5 car driver lineup.
“The whole IndyCar collapse came super late, so this all came together very late because of it,” explained Bourdais.
“Also, with the No. 5 program switching from Action Express to JDC Motorsports… we did the seat fit on Dec. 19 before I left for France to do Christmas and New Year there.
“I got back on Jan. 2, so it really didn’t leave much time to do anything.
“It’s been a very different off-season. But when you’re a race car driver you can never be sure how things are going to work out.
“It’s all working pretty well, but [the Roar] was a discovery day, like the first day of school.
“I’ve been trying to understand the car and getting familiarized myself with the team, and reuniting with Joao. It’s all been good so far.”