By: Spencer Neff
September 15, 2020
After a surprise departure in the 2019-20 offseason, one of the NTT Indycar Series’ most decorated drivers will make his full-time return in 2021.
Today, A.J. Foyt Racing announced that Sebastien Bourdais will become the full-time driver of the No. 14 car for the 2021 season.
“I’m happy to have this deal done and welcome Sebastien to AJ Foyt Racing,” Team President Larry Foyt said.
“The short time we have been able to work together showed a great deal of promise, and it was a shame that his races with us were derailed by the pandemic. I’m glad we were able to add some of these races back on the schedule, as it will undoubtedly help us kickstart his full-time campaign for 2021. His resume speaks for itself, and there is no denying he is a great addition to our program.”
Despite not yet competing in a race together, Bourdais and Foyt have worked together all year.
In January, Bourdais was announced as one of three drivers to split time in the No. 14 car for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season. Along with Rookie Dalton Kellett and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, Bourdais would compete part-time. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, three of Bourdais’ scheduled starts (Barber, Long Beach and Portland) were canceled.
During the February 11-12 Open Test at Circuit of The Americas, Bourdais tested out the new aero screen.
“It’s a whole new learning process,” he said of the switch to Foyt.
“I think there were many differences from the last three or four seasons I had that I think you go into the relationship with a clean slate, no preconceived ideas, try to fit in and bring your experience to the table, but also trying to learn as much as you can from what’s there.”
Next month, Bourdais will compete in the October 2-3 Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On October 23-25, he returns to his adopted hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida to participate in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
In the inaugural event at St. Petersburg in 2003, he became the second driver ever to win the pole in his first start, joining fellow Newman-Haas driver Nigel Mansell. Since then, only Robert Wickens (2018), has equaled that achievement. Like Bourdais, he did so at St. Petersburg.
Since then, the Le Mans, France native has made 205 career starts, winning 37 times and earning four consecutive titles in Champ Car (2004-2007).
In 2017, Bourdais earned a victory at his home track, driving from last (21st) to win. A year later, he came back from 14th on the grid to win, his first since being injured in a devastating crash while qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 the previous May.
At his team debut, Bourdais will have Team owner A.J. Foyt watching, as he plans to attend the weekend.
“I think he’ll be an asset to the team by far,” A.J. noted of Bourdais in today’s press release.
“We tested with him earlier this year and he knew exactly what he wanted and today I think that’s very important in a racecar driver. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
In addition to Bourdais, Dalton Kellett will drive the No. 41 entry, as he did at the August 23 Indianapolis 500. Foyt’s lone full-season driver for 2020, Charlie Kimball, will also compete in his No. 4 entry.
`While Bourdais looks to repeat his victories at St. Petersburg next month, 2021 will have even more opportunities to add to his list of achievements.
Header Image By Chris Graythen (Getty Images)