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St. Pete's Sebastien Bourdais looks to take home another Grand Prix title

Sebastien Bourdais
Posted at 5:05 AM, Apr 23, 2021

"Those two babies, the wins from St. Pete 17 and 18"

The trophies are prominently displayed in the condo of St. Pete's own Sebastien Bourdais. The 42-year-old is from Le Mans, France but says it's very special to win at his American home.

"It took us 14 years to close the deal in 17 and to repeat in 18 was really awesome so hopefully we can do it again," explains Bourdais.

In 2003, Bourdais had pole position here in St. Pete only to come up short. His back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018, and the chance to embrace his father in victory lane, a highlight in a stellar IndyCar career.

"It’s just that big emotional roller coaster, pretty tough to contain, but that’s why racing is so sweet it’s a human interaction emotional sport, it’s not just a guy sitting in a race car," he says.

But this “guy” sitting in a race car, was once a little kid, ready to wrangle with anything that went fast.

On Sunday, these drivers will exceed speeds of 220 miles per hour, but anybody can stomp the gas pedal. We asked the director of race tire engineering at Firestone what makes a great IndyCar driver.

"How smooth they are in steering, so we know someone who is smooth on the gas, smooth on steering is the most efficient," says Cara Adams with Firestone Racing.

When asked if that would apply to Bourdais, Adam said, "Yes, if you look at his data, you can see very smooth steering traces."

After this weekend, Bourdais would like nothing more than to clear a little more room on this trophy case - but what’s true in so many things, also holds true in IndyCar.

"You know pretty early on if you have the car to do it? Pretty quickly…at least you know when you don’t have it," he says.