Bourdais makes IROC debut

Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais impressed the IROC regulars as he made his stock car debut in testing at Daytona

Bourdais makes IROC debut

Bourdais, Craftsman Truck champion Bobby Hamilton and World of Outlaws racer Danny Lasoski were given an extra practice session in the IROC cars alongside the series' test drivers in advance of the season opener on February 18.

"I'm having a blast right now and trying to learn as much as I can and doing that slowly and smoothly, and as safe as I can because the IROC cars are pretty fast and I don't want to make mistakes," said Bourdais. "I'm just going to have to concentrate and learn the right lines and work with all the drivers."

IROC series president Jay Signore reckons Bourdais will have no difficulty adapting to the stock cars despite his background in single-seaters and sports-prototypes.

"Sebastien did great, and he is a pleasure to work with," said Signore. "He was able to give us excellent feedback on the performance of the IROC cars, which are completely different animals than what he is used to driving.

"All of the drivers were very complimentary of Sebastien's abilities. His goal is to come back next week and start logging laps in the IROC cars, because he understands experience is the best teacher here at Daytona. From what I've seen today, he'll be an A-Student."

The IROC series has been criticised for being too NASCAR-focussed in its driver selections in recent years, but this is not the case in 2005. Although there is still no shortage of Nextel Cup talent in the field, Bourdais' rivals will also include Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, IRL IndyCar star Helio Castroneves, and Grand-Am sportscar champions Max Papis and Scott Pruett.

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