Sebastien Bourdais says nobody is going to be running wide-open around Gateway later this month, but thinks traffic could be the catalyst of a good race.
The four-time IndyCar champion led the way during Wednesday’s testing at the oval in Madison, Ill.
“Well it’s not wide-open, not even close,” said the 39-year-old Frenchman told RACER. “Turns three and four were flat a year ago, not in traffic, but by yourself, and no way this year with less downforce. One and two doesn’t feel much different from last year, it’s still a massive lift.
“I don’t know what the race is going to be like, but I think we could use more downforce.”
But the Phoenix pole-sitter does think there are some possibilities on the 1.25-mile oval.
“I think one-on-one it’s going to be difficult to make something happen, because I think the guy in clean air is going to have a big advantage,” said Bourdais, whose charge from last to sixth last weekend at Mid-Ohio was one of the best drives of 2018.
“I think we’ll need traffic to generate passing but in a pack of cars it could be pretty dynamic. I spent four laps running with Spencer [Pigot] and I never got close enough to see if I could get by, but then we switched spots and I checked out so clean air is a big deal.”
Bourdais previously raved about the great racing on the street and road courses this season, and credited one thing.
“The wake of the car is so much less so you can get close to someone and make a move,” he said. “Our short oval package still makes a lot of dirty air and Gateway is a tough place, but hopefully traffic can make things interesting.”