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BOURDAIS: A Busy Day at Le Mans

Sebastien Bourdais files his latest Le Mans column for Sportscar365…

Photo: Ford

We have had another busy day at Le Mans. A very long day, too.

On Tuesday, Claire and I had the crews from our IMSA teams over to our house. It’s good to spend time with everybody away from the track and we are happy to show them something of Le Mans.

Then we got ready for another busy day at the track.

Wednesday was all about media and finishing up things we needed to do in the morning. Then we practiced driver changes before our first free practice session of the weekend.

Photo: Ford

Practice windows are quite long here – four hours. That gives us plenty of time to collect data and get a feel for how the car is running here.

It’s important for me and Scott Dixon, who is the third driver of the No. 69 Ford GT, because we were racing in Belle Isle during the Le Mans test two weeks ago.

Our team has tested quite a bit with our Le Mans setup and we have a lot of data here since we’re in year three, so it’s up to us to get as comfortable as we can and be ready for race day.

We also had our first qualifying session in the evening.

Photo: Ford

There are three and the starting positions will be determined tomorrow night. Our qualifying sessions are quite a bit later than in IMSA. Today’s qualifying started at 10 p.m. and ended at midnight.

On Thursday, we’ll qualify from 7-9 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight. It’s very different than a typical IMSA day.

You might think it would be difficult to switch from IndyCar to sports car and back again, but that part really isn’t that difficult.

Our IndyCars and Ford GTs are completely different and we’ve had so much time with them now that we are comfortable with driving the car itself.

The difficult part is knowing which car you will have when you get to the track! The setups for the different tracks we go to are totally different, of course, so that is the adjustment we make.

Photo: Ford

This is when having a co-driver is important, because we are able to talk to them about how changes that have been made have affected how the cars feel and drive.

We had our struggles with the car today but by the first qualifying session we had it in a better place.

Our team will keep working on it to make sure we are in the best position for the two qualifying sessions.

It was good to have my parents with me at the track today. They came last year when I couldn’t be here and my dad took a special lap around the circuit before the race started.

It was good to see them here and actually be with them racing again!

Sebastien Bourdais (@BourdaisOnTrack) is four-time IndyCar champion, driving for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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