Above: Sebastien Bourdais and team owner Dale Coyne (right), with Honda Performance Development President Art St. Cyr (center).
Seven years since their collaboration began at this event, the bond between defending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winners Dale Coyne and Sebastien Bourdais is only getting stronger.
Although the Frenchman hasn’t been with Dale Coyne Racing the entire time – there was that strange stint with Jay Penske’s Lotus-Dragon and Dragon-Chevy outfit for two years, and the three years that followed with KVSH Racing, it feels like they’ve been racing together for longer than they actually have.
“We talked to him hard the year before he actually started for us while he was doing his Peugeot sports car stuff – after the F1 stuff had ended, and finally got him in 2011,” Coyne told RACER. “He’s become part of the family, which is why everything is working.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re working our way towards the peak. Penske’s the peak.”
Odder still, with the partial season in 2011 where he contested only the road and street courses while Alex Lloyd handled the ovals, and his injury-shortened 2017 season, Bourdais has completed just 17 races for DCR.
“There was a big gap in between, but I’m really happy he went for it with me in 2011, and really, more than anything, I’m just thankful that Dale is so heavily committed to what we’re doing,” Bourdais said. “And now he’s brought Jimmy [Vasser] and Sulli (James Sullivan) into the team, and we have new sponsors, so it’s making a pretty significant difference in Dale’s financial involvement. There’s really not many people in the sport that spends his own money like he does. We started something seven years ago, continued it last year and started building something special until it went south at Indy, but we’re here again to give it another go.”