Dale Coyne Racing staged a major coup Tuesday by announcing that it had tested four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, with the aim of running him in the road course rounds of the IZOD IndyCar Series this year. He is expected to team with Martin Plowman, who aims to run the full season for the Plainfield, Ill.-based team.
"The first draft of our press release was worded maybe a bit too strongly – it sounded a bit too confirming, so we sent out another one and softened things up a bit," team owner Dale Coyne told SPEED.com. "But we want to do it and he wants to do it, so if the stars align, I hope to be able to do something with him."
Coyne confirmed that any deal with the Frenchman would be just for the road course races, which do not conflict with his prior commitments with Peugeot's sports prototype team in the International Le Mans Cup races.
“This is an opportunity that has great potential,” said Coyne. “We are very serious about moving our effort forward and this, coupled with the continuing Boy Scouts of America program from last season, is one of the most important steps in that direction we can possibly make.”
Bourdais returned to the cockpit of an Indy car for the first time in three years on Monday, when he tested Coyne's Dallara at Sebring. The Frenchman, who competed for two years in Formula 1 following his Champ Car stint with Newman/Haas Racing, in which he scored 31 race victories as well as four consecutive titles, has raced since with Peugeot at Le Mans, and will continue with the French marque in the ILMC races. However, he is enthusiastic about resuming his open-wheel career.
“The car was very good and it really felt good to be back in an IndyCar,” said Bourdais. “I was not sure what to expect, but I was impressed with the way the car handled, and look forward to putting together the pieces to get back into IndyCar racing. I really believe in what Dale is doing with his team and it can be a great workable opportunity for both of us this year.”
Joining Bourdais on track Monday was Indy Lights standout Martin Plowman, who looks to make his IndyCar debut this season with the team.
“I am very pleased that everything went exceptionally well today,” said the Englishman. “The car was very stable and quick right out of the box, allowing me to improve our times all day long.”
Plowman has competed the past two years in Indy Lights, scoring a win at Mid-Ohio on his way to sixth in the championship last season. “We have tested a lot of new drivers over the years, and you generally know what you have on the first day,” said Coyne. “Martin is one of the best that we have seen and we look forward to a positive growth curve with this aspiring young talent.”