Driver Spotlight: Sebastien Bourdais
Driver, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP
How does it feel to finally win the Rolex 24 At Daytona?
“Well, I haven’t been chasing that one anywhere near as much as Le Mans but I’m a classic guy and I like these big, historic, legendary races. They mean so much more than anything else. You’ve got a list of drivers that won that thing that’s quite awesome, and it’s a great feeling to be a part of it. Today was our day, pretty much everything was about as perfect as it gets but it was a tough fight with the WTR guys but it worked out for us and it’s even sweeter.”
The diffuser will be back on for Sebring. What are the marked differences with and without a diffuser?
“It’s not only the diffuser, you put the downforce on the car, and it’s a significant amount. It’s more efficient as well than last year. So the car, for the same drag, has a whole lot more downforce, something like 1,000 pounds which is very significant. Then the car transforms itself from kind of a GT type of feel to a Prototype where it’s really loaded, and cornering speeds go up, and brake distances shorten. It’s a whole different animal. Actually, at Sebring, we couldn’t even run high downforce because we couldn’t even balance at the front, we didn’t have enough at the front to balance what we had on the rear wing so that’s still an ongoing process. I have no idea if they even allowed us to do something to run a significant rear wing in the car but if they do, it’s cool. The car gets in the 50’s which for a DP, is pretty darn fast. I hope we can.
What goes into preparing for an endurance race?
“Nothing in particular as far as we’re concerned, you know Indy Car drivers, we’ve got to be in shape pretty intensively for the Indy Car season so there’s nothing specifically you do for the 24 hours. It’s a year-round preparation over a number of years and after a while you just get to a level where you’re comfortable and you know it’s not going to be impacting your performance in the car and you sustain that. So mostly it’s just maintaining your level year-after-year.”
How do you adjust between Indy Car and IMSA cars?
“It’s like a different drawer. You go from one to the next and back again. It’s significantly different. That’s the good thing. When it’s significantly different like that, you don’t mix them up. The feeling is different for each so you just kind of switch modes so it’s always something I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been doing this for 14 or 15 years, I think. I started in ’99 when I did Le Mans in a GT so I’ve always liked to do different things. It’s made me a better driver in terms of adapting quicker and being good with feedback so it’s always been an advantage for me.”
What are some of your favorite American traditions?
“I like Thanksgiving. This is not something we celebrate in Europe, at least in France. And now that we have the kids, I think Halloween is number one because the kids just go crazy and there’s a couple of streets in the neighborhood that really play the game so we go out with my three and seven year olds and they dress in costumes and really enjoy it.”