Sebastien Bourdais qualified a season-high third for tomorrow’s IndyCar Grand Prix at the Glen. Bourdais, who was ninth on the combined practice report following two practice sessions Friday, gave an indication of things to come in the morning practice when he finished the session third on the speed charts. Bourdais went out in Group 2 in Round 1 of qualifying with the No. 11 Team HYDROXYCUT – KVSH Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone machine shod with the red alternative Firestone tires. He struggled early in the session, but recovered to record the third fastest lap of the 11 drivers in his group thus advancing to Round 2. In Round 2, the team made the decision to switch to the primary black tires and Bourdais showed his true speed finishing first among the 12 drivers in Round 2 and advanced to the final round, the Firestone Fast Six for the third time this season. In the final round, several other drivers followed suit switching to the black tires which resulted in an exciting battle for the pole with Bourdais barely being nipped in the final two laps by both Scott Dixon and Will Power. There will be a warmup tomorrow prior to the race from 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. with the command to start engines for the 60-lap contest scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Bourdais is making his IndyCar debut this weekend at Watkins Glen International. He previously contested three Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car races at the Glen, two in 2012 and one in 2013, finishing on the podium, third and second respectively, in both of the 2012 events.

Practice Session No. 3:                Third – 82.9492 seconds/146.258 mph

Combined Practice Report:         Third – 82.9492 seconds/146.258 mph

Round 1 (Group 2):                  Third – 83.8871 seconds/144.623 mph
Round 2:                                   First – 62.9747 seconds/146.213 mph
Round 3 (Firestone Fast Six):  Third – 82.7844 seconds/146.549 mph
Qualified:                                  Third
Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Quote:
“It was a pretty exciting session for the Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Team. It started off about as bad as it could. It was the bad red surprise, which is becoming annoyingly familiar for us unfortunately. It is always the same process. You set your car up with what you’re given, which is the black (primary) Firestone tires and they’re great. We can always make them work. Then for qualifying you get the “candy surprise” (the red alternate tires). We can’t extract any performance out of them. We just get movement, understeer, it disconnects the car…it’s a mess. So, I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow in the race, to be honest, but for sure the Hydroxycut/Chevy machine is quick on black tires. It’s too bad we didn’t put the car on pole, but my bad. I made a mistake and then ran out of gas because we did an extra lap which was not accounted for. So it is what it is. Nevertheless, when you are close to Scott (Dixon) and Will (Power) at these kind of tracks you know you’ve done a good job. It’s our best qualifying position of the season, so we’ll take it.”

Fast Facts:

  • The 2016 IndyCar Grand Prix at the Glen will be Bourdais’ 162nd career Verizon IndyCar Series start, 49th with KVSH Racing and first in an Indy car at Watkins Glen.
  • Bourdais has finished in the top-10 in nine of the 14 races during the 2016 season with two top-five showings (Detroit Race 1 and Pocono) and one win (Detroit Race 1).
  • He is 14th in the championship standings with 334 points, 27 out of 10th and 72 out of fifth.
  • Bourdais has qualified in the top-10 in five of the first 15 races this season (all on road or street circuits).
  • This is his highest qualifying position of the 2016 season surpassing fifth place starting spots at Toronto and Barber Motorsports Park (eighth at St. Petersburg and the Indy GP).
  • Bourdais has advanced past the first round of road/street course qualifying in six of nine events this year. He did not advance at Long beach, Detroit Race 1 and Mid-Ohio (Detroit Race 2 was a single round of qualifying so is not included). He has made the Firestone Fast Six three times (Watkins Glen, Toronto and Barber).
  • This is Bourdais’ 11th Verizon IndyCar Series season and third with KVSH Racing
  • In 161 career IndyCar starts, Bourdais has won 35 races (tied with Bobby Unser for sixth all-time) and taken 33 pole positions (tied for seventh).
  • Bourdais is the only driver to win four consecutive IndyCar championships, taking the title in 2004 – 2007 (Champ Car World Series).
  • Bourdais won from the pole at the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours this year in the GTE Pro category. He has another pole and three runner-up finishes (2007, 2009 and 2011) in 10 previous starts in his hometown. Bourdais has also won the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2015 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2014 (was runner-up in 2015),
  • Bourdais, 37, is a native of Le Mans, France but resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Race Broadcast:
Round 15 of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season will be the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway in Watkins Glen, NY. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 2:00 p.m. ET. It is also available on radio: XM 209 and IMS IndyCar Radio as well as online: IndyCar.com and Verizon IndyCar 15 app.