The increasing crossover between IndyCar and Grand-Am continued with Wednesday's announcement that Star Motorsports has signed Sebastien Bourdais to drive its No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette DP for the five races remaining on the Rolex Grand-Am Series Daytona Prototype season schedule. The news followed announcements earlier in the day that Justin Wilson would race in the final four Rolex Series events for Michael Shank Racing and Tony Kanaan would run at Indianapolis in a second car entered by Chip Ganassi Racing.
Bourdais drove to the overall victory with co-driver Alex Popow in last year's inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (ABOVE). He has made eight DP starts since 2005, including four Rolex 24 at Daytona races (2005-'06, 2010, 2013) and this past June 29 at Watkins Glen. He will continue to compete full time in the IZOD IndyCar Series, where he finished second and third, respectively, in last weekend's doubleheader at Toronto.
The Le Mans, France, native will participate in 8Star's DP test July 18-19 at Palm Beach, in preparation for the July 26 Brickyard Grand Prix. He will share driving duties in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette DP with Emilio DiGuida, who finished 11th for 8Star in his DP debut at Watkins Glen.
“There's a lot of very good and talented people at 8Star and I'm happy to be involved,” said Bourdais. “The No. 3 car has been pretty racy the last couple of races and the No. 4 is pretty much the same car, so I'm pretty excited about the prospects to drive for a new team that's sorting itself out pretty quickly.
"Emilio is a good gentleman driver and, given the format of the series, it's always an opening for a good result for an amateur and a pro. Stephane (Sarrazin, driver of 8Star Motorsports' No. 3 Corvette DP) and I were teammates at Le Mans in 2007 and 2009, and in different team cars after that, so I know him pretty well. He's a very quick driver so it will be good to reunite with him on the team.
“I'm very much looking forward to racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, obviously, having won last year's inaugural Grand-Am race there. Indy is a pretty cool event and a cool track. I'm thankful to [Dragon Racing owner] Jay Penske for allowing me to combine this with my IndyCar program. I'm a Chevrolet driver in the IndyCar Series so it's great to be driving a Corvette DP in the Grand-Am Series.”
“Sebastien brings a lot of experience to the 8Star Motorsports that will make the No. 4 team a race contender – hopefully a race winner,” said Enzo Potolicchio, owner/co-driver of 8Star Motorsports. “We were teammates last year in the Six Hours of The Glen and we finished really well. He's adapted to the Daytona Prototype car really fast in just a few races. He's definitely showed his talent and speed in these cars. Our engineers will benefit from having a driver in the No. 4 car with a lot of experience who will further develop our two-car program. The benefits will show before the end of the season and will help Emilio improve quickly. I also want to thank Jay Penske and Dragon Racing for giving Sebastien the opportunity to drive with 8Star in the Grand-Am series.”
The No. 3 8Star Corvette DP team, with drivers Sarrazin, Michael Valiante, and Potolicchio, is currently sixth in the 2013 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype team point standings. Runner-up finishes in the previous two races, at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen, moved the team within 12 points of fifth place and only 17 points out of the lead with five races remaining.