Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak says they will determine their revised lineup for next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans “in the days ahead” following Sebastien Bourdais’ serious accident at Indianapolis, which has ruled out the Frenchman for the race and likely the remainder of the season.
Bourdais sustained multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip following a heavy impact with the SAFER Barrier in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, and has already undergone surgery Saturday night.
While the 38-year-old open-wheel and sports car ace is expected to make a full recovery, Bourdais will not be able to defend his GTE-Pro class win in this year’s race.
“Sebastien has been such an important part of our Ford GT program, helping us win at both Le Mans and Daytona,” Pericak said.
“But, like any family member, our first concern is his health and we are relieved that he looks like he will be okay long-term after what was a terrible crash at Indianapolis. We wish him all the best in the days ahead as he starts his recovery.
“We will regroup with our Ganassi team to determine our lineup for Le Mans in the days ahead.”
No exact timeline has been established in confirming Bourdais’ replacement in the No. 68 Ford GT alongside Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand, although it will likely have to be made within the next week, given the timing to the June 4 Test Day.
Both Tony Kanaan and Marino Franchitti are only two drivers with previous Ford GT race experience who are not currently part of the team’s four-car lineup for Le Mans.
Franchitti, who was dropped mid-season last year due to poor performance, told Sportscar365 earlier this year that he’s no longer employed by Ford, while Kanaan, who took part in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in the No. 69 Ford, has no prior Le Mans experience.
While the Platinum-rated Brazilian would be exempt from taking part in the Le Mans Test Day, which falls on the same weekend as the IndyCar race at Belle Isle, it’s unclear if Ganassi would be willing to promote Kanaan to a race seat with limited track time.
Scott Maxwell, who along with Billy Johnson completed the majority of the Multimatic-built car’s development, could also be another option, with Maxwell being a former class winner at Le Mans.