Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has secured a full-time return to the IndyCar Series for 2021 with AJ Foyt Enterprises, and will race for the team for the rest of the 2020 season as well.
Bourdais, 41, was due to contest four IndyCar races with Foyt in 2020, after he lost his Dale Coyne Racing ride at the end of the previous season.
However, three of Bourdais’ planned four races – at Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach and Portland – were cancelled, and the fourth at St Petersburg was postponed from its curtain-raiser slot in February to a planned season finale in October.
Bourdais, who tested with Foyt during pre-season, has been prioritising his JDC-Miller seat in the IMSA Sportscar Championship in the interim.
“This is exciting news for all of us,” said Bourdais. “We waited with anticipation for most of 2020 to put together a deal for 2021.
“I’m really happy that I’m running the last three races of the year – it is great for us to get an early start on next year.
“2020 has been a very strange year so far and I can’t wait to finally get behind the wheel of the AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet No. 14.”
The Foyt team has only won once in IndyCar’s modern era, with Takuma Sato at Long Beach in 2013 (pictured below), and has not been a regular frontrunner since the early years of what was then the Indy Racing League in the late 1990s – when it took an Indianapolis 500 win and championship title with Kenny Brack.
Team president Larry Foyt said: “I’m happy to have this deal done and welcome Sebastien to AJ Foyt Racing.
“The short time we have been able to work together showed a great deal of promise, and it was a shame that his races with us were derailed by the pandemic.
“I’m glad we were able to add some of these races back on the schedule, as it will undoubtedly help us kickstart his full-time campaign for 2021.”
Since returning to American single-seater racing following his Toro Rosso Formula 1 sojourn, Bourdais has specialised in achieving strong results for smaller teams.
He scored six wins for the KV Racing Technology and Coyne teams across the 2014-18 seasons.
This year Foyt has run rookie Dalton Kellett and 2004 champion Tony Kanaan in a car share alongside full-season driver Charlie Kimball. Kellett was originally scheduled to drive the #14 car at the upcoming Indianapolis race, but he will switch to the #41 entry he raced at the Indy 500 earlier in the season.
It has three top 10s this year with Kansan’s ninth at the first Gateway race its best result.