Sebastien Bourdais Knows He and Renger van der Zande Must Win out to Have Any Chance at the DPi Title
By John Oreovicz
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sebastien Bourdais and teammate Renger van der Zande know their chances of winning the final Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship are remote.
Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (No. 60 Meyer-Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian) hold a 56-point lead over fellow Acura drivers Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque (No. 10 Konica Minolta). Bourdais and van der Zande, meanwhile, have combined to win three races in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, yet rank third in the standings, 148 points off the pace.
Earning four Motul Pole Awards in addition to race wins at Long Beach, Detroit and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the No. 01 Cadillac has often been the fastest DPi car this year. But a troubled start to the season, with poor results in several early races, dug a points deficit they have struggled to overcome.
With just two DPi races remaining – starting with Sunday’s IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend at Road America – Bourdais realizes it’s a tall mountain to climb.
“We’ve had a really fast (No.) 01 Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing has given us some great cars, but unfortunately, we’ve fallen out of too many races to really be in the championship hunt,” Bourdais admitted. “We’re going to need some help from the (No.) 60 and the (No.) 10 to run into issues for us to stay in contention and hope for something in the last race (the Motul Petit Le Mans, Oct. 1 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta).
“Nevertheless, it’s been a fun season. We’ve been running at the front, winning races, feeling strong.”
The Frenchman said he and van der Zande are focused only on trying to win out the season.
“We don’t really have our destiny in our own hands, but we’re going to keep on pushing and going for wins, which we have all season,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re still in it going into Road Atlanta. Then it’s a 10-hour race as the championship decider, where we’ve seen crazy things happen.”
There’s also the matter of the DPi manufacturer championship. Acura and Cadillac are deadlocked heading to Road America. The two marques have won four races and four pole positions apiece.
That’s a clear demonstration of the WeatherTech Championship parity between the V-8 Cadillacs and the turbocharged V-6 Acuras.
After the frustration he and van der Zande experienced to start the 2022 campaign and knowing they are longshots for the driver and team titles, Bourdais is almost serene in his approach to the final two races.
“From the get-go we were really quick, we’ve had the pace all year long,” he said. “It’s just been a question of completing the races without tripping over something or having issues. It’s a shame that we’ve had so many. When you have three blank results out of a 10-race championship, it’s very unlikely you’re going to end up winning.”
A pair of WeatherTech Championship practices take place Friday at Road America, with qualifying to set the 37-car field starting at noon ET Saturday (livestream on IMSA.com/TVLive).
Sunday’s race starts at 11:40 a.m. Peacock and IMSA Radio have live coverage from the drop of the green flag, with USA Network joining at noon.