Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has sealed his return to American racing with Dale Coyne's IndyCar squad. As expected, after the Frenchman has signed to race for Coyne in all the road and street course events on the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar, but will not contest the oval rounds.
Coyne has ramped up its technical lineup ready for Bourdais' arrival, announcing earlier this week that ex-Forsythe man Phil LaPan would be its new team manager, Don Halliday would return to IndyCar with his team as the engineer on James Jakes' No. 18 car, and that Scott Raymond – who was an assistant engineer on Bourdais' crew at Newman/Haas – would engineer the No. 19 entry that Bourdais will drive.
"We're very excited to have someone of Sebastien's talent join our team for this effort in 2011," said Coyne, whose team took its first IndyCar win with Justin Wilson at Watkins Glen in 2009. "We have a lot of work ahead, but we have put a stellar group of engineers and mechanics together continuing the strongest possible effort for [sponsor] the Boy Scouts and our family of supporters."
Bourdais is not contesting the oval rounds due to clashes with Peugeot's Le Mans program, to which he is also committed. "My home town is Le Mans, and to win there is very important to me," said Bourdais. "But winning here in the States is equally as important, and I want to thank Dale for the impressive effort he is putting forth in what is a very competitive series."
The 32-year-old Frenchman raced in Champ Car from 2003 to 2007, taking 31 wins from 73 starts as he dominated the '04 to '07 seasons. After a subsequent unsuccessful Formula 1 stint with Toro Rosso, he switched to sports car racing with Peugeot, and also spent a while in Superleague Formula.