TORONTO – Sebastien Bourdais scored his first victory since the Nov. 11, 2007 Champ Car Series race at Mexico City as the four-time Champ Car champion won Sunday morning’s Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O. – the first of two Verizon IndyCar Series races on the same day.
Bourdais started on the pole and was able to keep his Chevrolet in front for most of the contest, leading twice for 58 laps in the 65-lap contest. The only time he was not in front was when Helio Castroneves led for a lap after Bourdais pitted on lap 34 and fellow Frenchman Simon Pagenaud pitted early on lap 10 to get out of sequence to the field. Pagenaud led one time for six laps but his two-stop strategy allowed him to have fresher tires and finish in fourth place.
Bourdais’ Chevrolet drove to a commanding 3.3408-second margin of victory over IndyCar Series points leader Castroneves. Tony Kanaan was third as Chevrolet drivers swept the top three positions. Simon Pagenaud was the highest finishing Honda in fourth place and three-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon rounded out the top five in a Chevrolet.
It was the 32nd IndyCar victory of Bourdais’ career with 31 of those victories in the old Champ Car Series, where Bourdais won an impressive four-straight Champ Car titles from 2004-2007.
During that streak Bourdais won so often he made it look easy. In the seven years since his last IndyCar victory he realizes how hard it was to return to victory lane.
“I got a big smile across my face and I can’t seem to get rid of it,” said Bourdais, who also won at Toronto in Champ Car in 2004. “It’s just really cool. The whole race I was stressed out, it felt too easy, it felt like it was way too much under control and it felt like it was way going to go wrong at some point.
“I appreciate this a whole lot more, obviously. All of us at Newman/Haas (his Champ Car team), we probably realized how special this time was when it was behind us, and it’s always like that. Now when you reflect on everything that happened, it was very, very, very extraordinary, and now, you know, to be able to do it with the density of the field in the way we have done it today is very special and shows that I still got it, and I’m here for ‑ I’m here to stay and, you know, hopefully we can get on a roll and there is not going to be any domination like we had from ’04 to ’07 just because there are too many good drivers, too many strong cars, the way the racing is these days.
“You look at it, you’re either P1 or P10, so you can’t have the consistency but we can still be contenders and to win a championship in a series, you have to finish five almost every weekend, which on paper can look easy but it’s not.
“We are going to keep digging and see what happens and hopefully enjoy more moments like this.”
With the victory Bourdais broke a tie with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for eighth place on the all-time Indy car victory list.
It was even sweeter that it came on a race track that was once a mainstay of the old CART/Champ Car Series schedule.