Sebastien Bourdais has signed a multi-year IndyCar deal with Dragon Racing, the team confirmed Friday.
The Frenchman endured a trying 2012 season. It began with the Jay Penske-owned team struggling with Lotus engines, and finished with it switching to Chevrolet power but paring down to a single entry. Bourdais raced on road and street courses, while Katherine Legge took over for the ovals.
Despite the setbacks, Bourdais was the most convincing of the Lotus clan early in the season, and became a regular frontrunner with Chevy power later in the year, even if he was unable to convert the speed into results. A potentially strong weekend at Sonoma, where he started from the second row, was squandered when he crashed heavily with Josef Newgarden; an impact he later described as the "biggest hit of my life".
However, Penske is optimistic that securing Bourdais' services for the immediate future will allow the team to continue its progress up the grid.
"It's a privilege to have Seb once again piloting the No. 7 Dragon Racing entry," said Penske. "[The] 2012 [season] was a challenge for us on so many levels, but toward the end of last season we demonstrated that with the right equipment and strategy, Dragon is a force to be reckoned with. The best is yet to come."
Penske's optimism was shared by four-time Champ Car champion and ex-Formula 1 driver Bourdais himself.
"With the stability of the staff, the sponsors and the experience that we amassed this year, I am very confident that we can achieve great results next season," he said.
The team's confirmation of Bourdais' deal also indicated that additional personnel and sponsorship announcements are expected before the 2013 season opener in St. Petersburg in March. Whether those plans will again include Legge remains unknown.