Bourdais returns to Coyne at Toronto Much has changed in Sebastien Bourdais' racing career in the four years since competing at Toronto, but he expects the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place circuit to have retained its challenges to drivers.
Bourdais, who competed in the IZOD IndyCar Series early-season round of road/street course races for Dale Coyne Racing, returns for the second set (five of the next six events) in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car, starting with this weekend's Honda Indy Toronto.
Bourdais has started from the pole three times - most recently 2007 - and won the race in 2004 on the way to the first of four Champ Car titles with Newman/Haas Racing.
"You've got some concrete and some asphalt and it's a pretty bumpy place," he said. "The surface does evolve and change pretty dramatically year after year. So I'm pretty sure it's going to be pretty different than what I experienced in '07. There were usually quite a few yellows and it always was an interesting race and I don't except anything to be any different."
Just driving the Honda-powered Dallara on the temporary street circuit will be different for Bourdais, who has been competing in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup for Peugeot Sport since May 7 (eighth at Spa-Francorchamps). On July 3, Bourdais, starting from the pole, co-drove with Anthony Davidson to a decisive victory in the Six Hours of Imola (Italy).
The first practice session July 8 will be a refresher of sorts. He has a best finish of 11th at Barber Motorsports Park on April 10 (advancing nine positions) and started a season-high 12th on the street circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in his most recent IZOD IndyCar Series race May 2. Alex Lloyd was behind the wheel of the No. 19 entry for the first set of the oval events.
"I think everything was kind of familiar because of the tracks I knew and the car wasn't so dramatically different from a Champ Car," he said about joining the series a few days before the season opener. "But, at the end of the day, it's all about getting it right for me and getting the right time.
"We're lacking experience, setups, the right database and the time to prep the car properly. Thankfully, we've got quite a few good mechanics around to help and quite a few other guys who are really needed in the system. I think we made a step forward in Brazil and we' re-establishing ourselves as more competitive."
Bourdais, a four-time Champ Car champion, will have the continuity of two months with the team with breaks built in between three of the events.
"For me it's important that we don't have back-to-back races," he said. "Being a smaller team, everything takes more time. The turnaround for us is a big deal. I knew it wasn't going to be easy for sure, I knew it was going to be a tough time for us, but I hope at the end of the day we will just have made progress and we put on a good show. Starting is one thing, but finishing is what is important."
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