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Bourdais thankful to NHLR

Sebastien Bourdais has expressed his gratitude to the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team following the news that he is switching to Formula One in 2008.

Bourdais will be released from his contract with NHLR, with whom the Frenchman had signed a deal until the end of 2008, to race for Scuderia Toro Rosso next season.

"I have had the best years of my racing career with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing," said Bourdais. "We have accomplished many things including three championships, and many victories and poles along the way and I hope to accomplish more yet this season.

"Now I feel it is time for me to go after another challenge. I have had a very good experience with Toro Rosso while testing the car, and I hope to continue that. I would like to thank Carl, Paul, Mike and the whole team for supporting my decision.

"Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has always been like a family to me. I also want to give a special thanks to the whole McDonald's crew for everything they have done for me. We have grown up and elevated ourselves together and I'll never forget that."

Bourdais joined Newman/Haas in 2003 and went on to become the Champ Car champion in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He is currently in the lead in this year's standings.

The team's co-owners said the Frenchman will be missed.

"He's made his point," said Paul Newman. "We're going to miss him fiercely but moving on is the right thing for him right now."

Carl Haas added: "For 2007, the team is committed to helping Sebastien become the first Champ Car driver ever to win four championships in a row. Working with Sebastien has been great for the team and I wish him similar success in the future."

Michael Lanigan concluded: "I wish Sebastien all of the best as he realizes his life long goal of running in Formula One.

"Three consecutive championships aside, Sebastien's daily performance, both on and off of the track, along with his contribution to the entire team stands as a testament to his dedication to the sport. We will miss him."

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